By  on September 16, 2008

PARIS — Texworld expects bargain-hungry buyers burdened by tighter budgets to help shelter the fabric show from challenging economic times.

Texworld, which will convene at the Le Bourget exhibit space north of Paris for four days starting Sept. 22, features less-expensive fabrics than its upscale rival, Première Vision. Organizers for Texworld, managed by Messe Frankfurt France, expect about 900 exhibitors from more than 80 countries.

Though considered a lower-cost alternative to PV, regarded the showcase for Europe’s high-end mills, Texworld has been giving PV more direct competition thanks to the strong euro and the turbulent economy. Texworld also has been moving incrementally upscale as mills in countries from China to India funnel more creativity into their products.

Texworld wants to further nurture the creative caliber of its exhibitors. This year, for example, the fair has invited 10 young designers to exhibit in the hope they will create synergies with large-scale mills. Texworld also has enlisted the graduating class of the Esmod fashion school in Beijing to present its work to create another creative showcase.

“We wanted to underscore creativity because our exhibitors are creative, too,” said Michael Scherpe, president of Messe Frankfurt France. “There are standard wares at Texworld, but there is also quality and creativity.”

Texworld has consolidated its expertise in recent seasons. The exhibition recently introduced a small area that features finished garments destined for big chains. It also started to use information software that links buyers with the fabrics they need, as well as a quality-check system.

For this edition, the fair will concentrate on highlighting environmentally friendly fabrics with a guide to all the mills that produce such products, underscoring growing demand for ecologically produced fabrics even at less-expensive prices.

As for economic conditions, Scherpe said the fair had experienced some cancellations from a handful of companies and that others had downsized their stands. That said, Scherpe said the fair would operate with about the same amount of space and number of exhibitors as last year.

“Some firms have not had the reserves to ride out the storm,” said Scherpe. “But others are doing fine. Today, the type of [fabrics on display] at Texworld can be seen as a response to the economic crisis. It’s like tourists that don’t go out for dinner or vacation, but go to the supermarket and buy a sandwich.”

Though the market conditions may better serve Texworld exhibitors that come from countries like China, Thailand and Vietnam, they add up for difficulties for European mills that have been hamstrung by not only the tough economy, but also the high value of the euro. Many of Texworld’s exhibitors have reaped benefits from the high euro, especially since they do business in dollars. Scherpe said it remains to be seen whether the increasing value of the dollar over the last month would bear any repercussions for exhibitors at Texworld that do business in the U.S. currency.

“I think the [textile industry and the economy] will not see a real uptick until the year after next,” said Scherpe. “That said, our fair is well-positioned because it’s logical that people want to save money.”

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