PARIS — The outlook for two major textile fairs set to take place next week — Première Vision and Texworld — can be summed up by the Beatles lyric, “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, it’s a little better all the time…can’t get no worse.”
This is particularly true in Europe, where the prolonged debt crisis and economic malaise have cut into profits and growth plans, and forced companies to look at exports to the U.S. and Asia to balance difficult home markets. For example, for the first seven months of the year, the apparel market in France was down 1.4 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the French Fashion Institute, or IFM.
“In June and July, clothing sales in France were up 2 percent over June and July 2012, according to our preliminary results,” said Gildas Minvielle, head of IFM. “This came after a very bad winter and spring. The improvement is mostly due to in-store events during the sales season and much better weather.”
Organizers and exhibitors at Texworld and PV aim to take signs of an upswing and ride them into increased interest for the fall 2014 collections they’ll be presenting and production they’ll be planning.
Première Vision is aiming for greater synergies and a more focused offer with its September edition, which will feature a record 776 exhibitors.
Scheduled to take place from Sept. 17 to 19 at the Parc d’Expositions in Paris Nord Villepinte, PV will usher in a new organization of its fashion forums aimed at bringing together textile mills and buyers more efficiently, and fostering greater synergy between fashion information and business. An updated version of its general forum will bring together fabric selections and PV’s trend film for fall 2014, to be shown on an 80-foot screen.
In addition, organizers of the show have created two new areas grouped by major product end-use. The Tops & Shirts Forum will cater to fabrics for shirts, blouses, tops, small knit or woven items, tunics and dresses. The Outer & Over Forum will be for fabrics for jackets, suits, trousers, jeans, coats, parkas, blousons and other tailored pieces.
Philippe Pasquet, chief executive officer of Première Vision SA, said the changes were designed to better reflect visitors’ needs.
“We realized we had to adapt a certain number of things to remain in sync with companies’ evolution and the way they work,” he said. “We have to mirror as best we can the way companies are structured in terms of product development, and consequently, what these players — whether they are designers, product managers — are looking for at trade fairs.”
Première Vision is also seeking to meet the needs of specialized markets with three targeted areas. Evening Focus is geared toward the luxury and cocktail markets in emerging economies, offering solutions for evening and dressy items with silky, lace, embroidery and ribbon products. Tech Focus will service the sport, outdoor, activewear, swimwear and workwear markets with knits and technical wovens. Knitwear Focus, part of the Knitwear Solutions area, will present exclusive novelties in creative flatbed knits. The Knitwear Solutions section will almost double in size for its third edition, with 24 new participants.
A new Style Focus area will offer suggestions of finished silhouettes featuring strong fabric and color choices, while the Relax Cotton area will gain a new Wash & Dye pod bringing denim makers and cotton weavers closer together, in order to service the fast-growing jeans and casualwear market.
Organizers are expecting a 4 percent bump in exhibitors from the 745 registered in September 2012. More than 1,900 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 4.5 percent increase versus the same period a year ago.
“We have been seeing a rise in exhibitors and visitors for several seasons now, despite a very depressed economic outlook, in Europe at least. Our positioning protects us and allows us to continue growing,” said Pasquet, noting the fair is well anchored in the luxury segment and has a portfolio of international events. “Fashion companies — unfortunately not all of them, but most — have understood that with the crisis, searching for a solution at the bottom end is often deadly, because then it just turns into a battle over price.”
Returning exhibitors include Italian cotton weaver Cerrus Tessile, French lace manufacturer Jabouley Dentelle and wool specialist Alexanders of Scotland. Among the newcomers are several South Korean firms specializing in technical fabrics for outerwear, such as Taipyung Textile Co., AB Industries and Ludia Co. Ltd.
Beginning this season, access to Modamont, which specializes in fashion accessories and components, will no longer be free of charge. Instead, the fair will be accessible through the Première Vision Pluriel badge, which grants entrance to Première Vision, Expofil and Indigo.
Pasquet said organizers will mull new directions for its new division of fashion fairs specialized in clothing manufacturing, acquired from Eurovet in July. In addition to Zoom by Fatex, positioned toward the mid- and high-range segments, they include Fatex, Made in France by Fatex, Tissu Premier and Collections.
Buyers are slated to convene Sept. 16 to 19 for the 33rd edition of Texworld in Le Bourget exhibition center, where organizers expect about 14,000 visitors, nearly the same as a year ago.
The number of American visitors to the event is expected to increase to 550, from 492 in September 2012, with Calvin Klein, Gap and Urban Outfitters confirmed.
“Texworld USA [held in July] is there to serve the American market, but many buyers use the Paris show in September as a follow-up,” said Michael Scherpe, the fair’s president.
Visitors from France, the U.K., Turkey, Spain and Germany still represent the lion’s share of attendees at Texworld, but Scherpe noted an uptick in buyers from Russia, Bulgaria and Slovenia.
Some 835 exhibitors are confirmed, up 3 percent compared with July 2012, with newcomers coming predominantly from South Korea, China, India, Japan, Hong Kong and Turkey. Exhibitors include, for instance, Kaskas, a silk and wool specialist from Lebanon, and Chinese wool manufacturer Jiangsu Danmao.
The Apparel Sourcing show, dedicated to finished product manufacturing, runs concurrently with Texworld, with a 22 percent increase in exhibitors bringing the total to around 200.
“The two fairs are complementary,” Scherpe said. “Many Texworld visitors already have production partners, but some want to change.”
The show’s three sections have been restructured and renamed. “Functional Fabrics” will become “Functional and Sportswear,” due to an increased focus on sportswear, Scherpe noted; “Cotton Attractive Spirit” evolves into “Cotton and Blends,” where cotton and cotton blends for women’s wear will be grouped together, and “Cotton Casual View” transforms into “Cotton and Blends C.V.,” dedicated to cotton and blends for unisex casualwear.
Among the key seminars are a flurry of conferences dedicated to sustainability on Sept. 17, including “The Business Case for Sustainability,” featuring Claudia Kersten, marketing director at Global Organic Textile Standard, kicking off the “Sustainability Day” at 10.30 a.m. It will be followed by “Organic Linen and Hemp,” where the regional French know-how in textiles will be discussed. The program continues with “Is It Really Recycled?” where Charline Ducas, textile sustainability specialist at Textile Exchange, will speak about a new version of the label for recycled products called Global Recycled Standard, slated to come out early 2014, and the launch this month of a new Recycled Claim Standard that tracks recycled raw materials through the supply chain.