By  on February 4, 2013

PARIS — Despite a challenging economic environment, organizers of the Première Vision textile trade show expect more mills to take part in this month’s edition, as they continue to bank on versatility and high quality to attract buyers.

Showcasing fabric trends for spring 2014, Première Vision is scheduled to run Feb. 12 to 14 at the Parc d’Expositions in Paris Nord, Villepinte. More than 1,700 exhibitors are expected to take part in the different trade shows under the Première Vision Pluriel banner — Expofil, Première Vision, Indigo, Modamont, Le Cuir à Paris and Zoom by Fatex. This represents a 12 percent increase versus the same period a year ago.

“Certainly, Première Vision is not immune to the economic environment, and it is difficult to predict now whether Europe’s ongoing economic difficulties will affect our attendance levels in the coming months, but we seem to have made the right choices in the past and I am tempted to say: So far, so good,” said Philippe Pasquet, chief executive officer of Première Vision SA.

The Première Vision trade show is expecting 734 exhibitors, up 8 percent from February 2012, including 23 new weavers.

Italy’s Eurojersey will be back with collections mainly targeted towards swimwear, while Japanese firms Morishita and Kanemasa will enrich the offer of high-quality jersey fabrics. Cotton shirting specialist Wagdy Moamen will become the first Egyptian mill to exhibit at the event.

Pascaline Wilhelm, Première Vision’s fashion director, said the season would be rich in rugged or spongy fabrics evoking mineral textures, or futuristic textiles with technical qualities and shiny or rubbery finishes.

“There is a shift in the place of nature in the creative process, from raw authenticity toward a greater link with technical know-how and innovation,” she said. “It’s all about man’s interpretation of nature, plants, ethnic and tribal motifs. Rather than mimicking reality, everything is being channeled.”

For the second season, there will be an area dedicated to creative flatbed knitwear. Knitwear Solutions, launched in September, is expecting 24 exhibitors, including eight newcomers, a turnover rate partly explained by the seasonal absence of some cashmere specialists. Among the new arrivals are Chinese knitter Alphatex Knitting Co., which specializes in ultrafine gauges for high-end clients in Europe and the U.S.; Spanish company Parrillu’s, which manufactures creative knitwear for major French and Italian fashion brands; Portuguese firm A. Ferreira & Filhos, a producer of large and fine gauges, primarily for major European brands, and Malhas Carjor SA, a specialist in knit articles for babies and children.

Première Vision is also bringing back the Maison d’Exceptions event, first held in September 2011, that will group 16 manufacturers that focus on products made using ancestral, folk or contemporary techniques.

Pasquet said companies can grow despite the ambient economic gloom, provided they entice consumers with clever, innovative products, in the same way that makers of smart phones and tablets have done in the consumer electronics market.

“There is little individual companies can do to change the overall level of consumer spending,” he said. “What is important for our sector is to give the consumer a good reason to arbiter slightly more in favor of fashion items than other types of consumer items.”

The executive said mills remain under pressure from buyers seeking to shorten delivery times.

“The current situation is not favorable toward increasing delivery times and risk-taking, but I would say that is the structure of the most sophisticated markets — to deal in very small quantities for a maximum of buyers,” he said.

Pasquet added that price, while important, will not always be the decisive factor for buyers, who also require flexibility, creativity and good service.

“Price is a consideration, but it is no longer the only one,” he said.

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