MILAN — Italian textile fair Milano Unica may open its doors to Japanese manufacturers next year.

This story first appeared in the December 16, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A Milano Unica spokesman told WWD that organizers met with a delegation from Japan in September regarding future participation but that nothing had been decided. However, he would not rule out the prospect of Japanese exhibitors from as early as next September, confirming reports on a Japanese newswire.

The inclusion of Japanese textile producers would mark the first time the event welcomed exhibitors from outside the European Union.

The spokesman said the fair’s organizers were impressed by Japanese textile makers’ advanced technology and ability to produce technical fabrics, but that Milano Unica still needed to evaluate the relevance of the Japanese product based on what the expo already offers. He added that in the current financial crisis, all efforts were concentrated on promoting Made In Italy textiles.

Rival fair Premiere Vision in Paris has already opened its doors to non-EU manufacturers.