SHANGHAI — Exhibitors at the Intertextile Shanghai Apparel and Fabrics fair felt the sting of the weakening global economy and are losing confidence that conditions will improve next year.
Intertextile Shanghai, which ended its four-day run Oct. 23 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, reported that its exhibitor list expanded 28 percent to 2,559, with domestic participants up 36 percent to 1,866 and international producers increasing 20 percent to 733. However, the number of exhibitors at sister fair Yarn Expo dropped to 55 from 91 in 2007, and visitors to Intertextile in the first two days were down to 32,000 from 34,000 a year earlier.
Show organizer Messe Frankfurt cited the poor economic conditions as the primary factor for the decline in attendance.
“Export figures have decreased, but the domestic consumption is growing,” said a show spokeswoman.
Tight restrictions on business visas to China — particularly for applicants from other developing countries — that have been in place since spring are believed to have crimped textile exports, as well as trade fair attendance.
“The economy will have a lot of influence on every company and some will wait until they have the budget before attending shows again,” said the spokeswoman.
Intertextile occupied 1.24 million square feet of floor space and for the first time organized domestic producers according to end product, with sections such as women’s, men’s, innerwear and activewear. Participants from Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Portugal, Thailand and Taiwan were again grouped into national pavilions, with Taiwanese producers the largest contingent, followed by Italy and South Korea. Source It, representing Southeast Asian nations, returned for a second year. Fiber pavilions by Invista, Dow and Lenzing also expanded.
Larger and more export-focused producers expressed the most concern about economic conditions, while some smaller manufacturers were optimistic that still-strong domestic consumption will buoy their business. All agreed that production costs that have been rising since last year because of tightened labor and environmental enforcement, higher wages and material costs, and the declining dollar, are hurting their margins more than the U.S. credit crisis. Still, fallout from recent economic developments is only beginning to be felt in China.
Business at the fair “is bad because of the market; the U.S. economy is hitting us hard,” said Guo Qingli, marketing director of Z by Zhonghe Cotton. “We had a lot of U.S. customers, but they are delaying their orders. We do the higher quality levels of cotton, so feel it the worst. We will have to adjust, reducing or closing some offices.”
The fair got mixed reviews from participants who expressed frustration with its size and organization. Z by Zhonghe’s Guo said generating business was difficult and while old customers had returned, new customers tended to be smaller players.
At Tung Ga Linen, sales manager Bonnie Chen reported strong results, but attributed it mostly to a larger, better-placed and more ornate stand. Tung Ga Linen exports the bulk of its product to the U.S. and European Union. In addition to dealing with economic headwinds, Chen said Chinese manufacturers are grappling with currency fluctuations.
“The currency adjustment has gone too far,” Chen said. “We take an order, then after three months when it is done, the price has changed and we lose money.”
With currency instability and China’s domestic production prices rising, the fair has increasingly transitioned into a global networking hub for budget apparel sourcing. Producers from Southeast Asian nations and Pakistan viewed China’s declining competitive advantage as their opportunity.
“Garment production is a chicken in other countries but is an elephant in Cambodia,” said Kaing Monika, a representative of the Garment Manufacturers’ Association in Cambodia. “It is 80 percent of our exports and 30 percent of our [gross domestic product], employing 350,000 people. Cambodia has 310 apparel factories, of which the most are Taiwanese owned, about 60 to 70. Then Hong Kong, [Mainland] China and [South] Korea each have about 40, and Australia, the U.K., the U.S. and Malaysia all have a few.”
However, smaller producing countries are feeling the global economic pinch harder and faster than larger economies like China.
The fallout will “coincide with the end of safeguards on China and monitoring of Vietnam, so it will be harder for us to compete,” Monika said. “Already there has been a 1 percent drop in our exports to the U.S., and 70 percent of our exports are to the U.S. We are very worried about the rest of the year and for 2009.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty