PARIS — Exhibitor participation in the forthcoming editions of Texworld Evolution Paris and the concurrent Apparel Sourcing Paris is “almost back to normal,” according to Julien Schmoll, marketing director at show organizers Messe Frankfurt France.
The lifting of China’s travel ban has seen a return of the country’s exhibitors, with around 430 companies traveling from China to both Texworld and Apparel Sourcing, the finished product fair. “They’re the largest part of our exhibitors, more than half,” said Schmoll, noting that “around 60 percent of the fashion industry’s production is made in China so it’s representative of the sourcing market.”
Texworld Paris, which groups knits, embroidery, jacquard, cotton and more will welcome around 450 exhibitors from 14 countries. Absent due to the COVID-19 crisis, the return of more than 50 embroiderers and weavers from India — with a particularly qualitative offer — matches pre-pandemic levels, organizers said. Among this season’s standouts, Schmoll named embroiderers such as Maasana, Nastex and Nonica Textile for their handmade, inventive designs.
Though participation is almost back to normal, the energy crisis, soaring transit prices and the economic outlook are expected to impact 2023 sourcing. “Surges in energy prices will mean that a lot of companies producing accessible fashion will have to depend more and more on China and on regional countries also,” Schmoll said.
The season will welcome a strong contingent of 122 Turkish exhibitors, who had benefited from the smaller presence of exhibitors traveling from China for previous shows. Citing Institut Français de la Mode figures, Texworld said countries such as Bangladesh, India and Turkey enjoyed significant volume increases in EU clothing imports between 2021 and 2022.
At Apparel Sourcing Paris, the platform for sourcing finished apparel and fashion accessories in Europe, the return of almost 200 exhibitors from China will make up the majority of the 270 exhibitors, alongside other major sourcing countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Turkey, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and Mongolia.
New this season will be a pavilion of five companies from Ghana. “Africa is trying to exist as an alternative on the production market between low-salary countries in Asia and higher-end producing closer to Europe countries; they’re an in-between,” Scholl said. The show’s agora conference space will also give Ghana the floor to present itself as an apparel producing destination, supported by the International Trade Center (ITC) and the German co-operation association GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit).
Ahead of Texworld’s location switch, which will see the show move to the Porte de Versailles exhibition halls for its July edition, this round, still at Paris-le-Bourget exhibition center, will implement a new guiding system, aiming to smooth the transition.
To help navigate the shows, a red pathway is designed to give buyers and designers an easy pace-through the alleys with a quick overview of what’s new, the main points of attraction, the trend forums, the national pavilions, and the conference agora, which will host talks on everything from secondhand being tomorrow’s fashion raw material to how to take environmental action without impacting competitiveness.
A single logo will now make it easier to identify those companies that Texworld has rated as taking steps toward environmental and social responsibility across a range of measures on fabrics, process or conditions for workers. The number of exhibitors participating in Texworld’s sustainable itinerary, which groups suppliers with at least one valid certificate on the dates of the shows from recognized certifiers, like GOTS and Okeo-tex, has increased this season, especially in Apparel Sourcing. That number has risen to 110 companies this edition, compared to 75 at the pre-pandemic February 2020 show, of which 35 will be in Apparel Sourcing, up from seven at the last show.
“They see that more and more European companies and buyers are really focused on sustainability now, so of course they produce what the market asks. It’s complicated between the greenwashing, the green-bashing,” added Schmoll, noting companies are making efforts to meet European standards.
With environmental labeling standards set to get much more stringent, under French and then European law, Schmoll said this season will see how producers are adapting to comply to deliver the information to the public. “Exhibitors adapt when it’s time, they rarely do it in advance. They get the feeling they have to evolve in those matters, they get on the train once it’s left the station. Once it will be enacted, they will follow.
“China is way ahead in terms of investment than European countries,” he said in terms of environmental proactivity. “Increasingly companies in China, more factories have invested in technology in their production units addressing environmental issues.” He pointed to the country’s pioneering of cargo ships with sail systems to help reduce fuel consumption for long-distance travel as one example.
To rise to the environmental challenges amid economic instability, Schmoll noted that businesses need to adapt. “Like always it’s survival of the fittest and those who adapt to rules and regulations to meet consumer needs will prevail over the ones who are stuck in the past.”
In a notable strategy change this season, Avantex Paris and Leatherworld Paris have reduced to a once-yearly schedule, next returning in July.
Texworld runs at Paris-Le-Bourget exhibition center from Feb. 6 to 8.