PARIS — Building on his strategy to push Texworld and Apparel Sourcing in a more fashion-forward direction, Michael Scherpe, president of Messe Frankfurt France, is turning to a familiar tool this fall season to keep the energy going: fashion shows.
“It’s nothing revolutionary, business is not done via revolution but stability, and I don’t know whether we will do this every season, but the fashion shows are meant to inspire — both buyers and exhibitors,” Scherpe told WWD.
The Paris textile fair, slated to run Sept. 15 to 18 at Le Bourget exhibition center, is to showcase five different runway collections: French designer Eymeric François; third-year students of Paris fashion school Esmod, who are said to present their knitwear creations; Maël Larcher and Marie-Morgane Dumont, both winners of the 2014 International Festival of Young Designers in Dinard, which Texworld sponsors, and 2010 Dinard laureate Manix Wong.
There will also be a show featuring the designs of manufacturers presenting at Shawls & Scarves, a new target area to be to located between Texworld and Apparel Sourcing.
“It’s a category for which we have registered a strong demand. Every woman likes to have a Pashmina. It’s one of the strongest brands in the world, much like Woolmark or Coca-Cola, yet there is no single place for buyers to go,” said Scherpe, noting that products in the category are usually scattered across several fairs.
Messe Frankfurt France has assembled 25 companies, mostly Indian, spanning from the lower to the higher end of the market, with artisans and industrial manufacturers on board.
In total, some 885 exhibitors from 28 countries are expected to take part in the Texworld fair, 2 percent more than a year ago, with Sri Lanka making its debut via Brandix, a local textile giant. China, South Korea and Turkey remain the fair’s top participating countries.
Scherpe said he was fairly upbeat about the upcoming session, but he described the ongoing political and economic uncertainty in the world as a “psychological factor” likely to have an impact on individual companies.
“A shift of 1 percent can hurt a small manufacturer, but it will not have any major impact on the market as a whole,” he said. “People still need to get dressed. However, I am glad our show takes place later on in September. This gives people time to calm down following a turbulent summer.”
Apparel Sourcing in particular is expected to flourish, this season registering a 46 percent jump in exhibitor numbers compared with last year. Dedicated to finished products and fashion accessories, Apparel Sourcing is now the largest show of its kind in Europe, according to Scherpe.
Apparel Sourcing in Paris competed with sourcing trade shows that took place in Germany, but Scherpe feels it has become a top event, boasting the largest number of exhibitors for an exhibition of its type in Europe.
“Paris is the place to be, with more than 300 exhibitors from 15 different countries,” he said. “And there is still room for growth. It’s really an emerging event.”
He added that being in Paris is crucial for companies if they want to stay competitive.
“We had exhibitors who thought it would be enough for them if they showed at Texworld U.S. only, but they came back,” Scherpe said. “They realized Europe is the most complicated and demanding market. If you want to play in the A-league, you need to be here.”
He said both fairs would strive to put more focus on quality, adding, “This is nothing surprising. Everybody wants good quality at a good price, but we are also talking quality of logistics, which includes reliable delivery.”
To help newcomers, of which there will be 100 at Apparel Sourcing alone, Messe Frankfurt is offering consulting services.
Sustainability continues to be high on the fairs’ agenda, too. This season’s conferences will focus on eco-certificates, opportunities and challenges of doing business in East Africa and an up-and-coming textile market, but also tackle a sensitive subject — the costs of eco-friendly production.
“It’s a matter of sharing responsibility,” Scherpe said. “If the retailer does not tell the consumer that he has to pay his share as well, there will never be a balance. When you look at what companies such as Lenzing have invested in their plants and what innovation they provide, you wonder why our clothes are still this cheap.”
Louis Gerin, Texworld’s art director, said there would be “a lot of innovation in the treatment of fibers, with a vivid color palette” this season, which prompted the organizers to compile a 60-page “fabrics report,” comprising 140 highlights from the fair, to be distributed to visitors.
Among the standouts, Gerin cited Taiwanese Hyperbola Textile, which offers a large range of technical fabrics destined for high-end casualwear, a rising trend, as well as Baeksan from South Korea. Other trends likely to catch the eye are micro prints, 3-D effects and volume.
Exhibitors and visitors will be able to exchange their latest finds and news in the new Social Media Lounge.