Texworld: Final Report

Favourable winds were blowing at Texworld: visitors came in large numbers and the general atmosphere at the show was encouraging for business. In the opinion of numerous buyers, the range at the show with its excellent price/quality relationship corresponds perfectly to the requirements of the western market.

What is more, this session of Texworld was particularly appreciated for its very clear signage, the available transport adapted to the needs of exhibitors and visitors alike, an information service boosted by the i-TEX search engine and its commitments that are in the right direction, such as the forum and the eco circuit as well as the exhibition on fair trade.

With 14 871 visitors, namely 11.63% more than last February (13 332), the show has kept its promises and has proven to be an essential destination for not just European but global buyers too. Is the end of the economic and financial crisis, which loomed over the first six months of the year, approaching? It is yet too soon to confirm this but exhibitors from Asia and China, from Taiwan and Korea in particular, attended in great numbers, encouraged by the economic upswing in Asia.

85% of visitors to Texworld are from abroad, but during the show a return to Texworld by the French was manifest, (+15% in relation to February 2009), attributable in part to efforts undertaken by the exhibition team in communications targeted at French buyers. All other European countries show an upward trend, (+8% in total, France: +13.8%, UK: +4.1%, Italy: +3.9%), apart from Germany where the number of visitors has dropped by 2.8%.

Visitors coming from the American continent have also returned in greater numbers (+24.6% overall, USA: +26.6%, Canada: +19.6%) as have those from Asian countries (+ 35% in total, China: +123%, South Korea: +50%, India: +29.6%, Japan: +21%).

Even more so than the figures and the upturn, it is above all the general atmosphere at the show, the rush on the stands and the satisfaction expressed by many exhibitors, which best demonstrate the measure of an exhibition's success.

Nonetheless, with the bitter economic reality for each exhibitor and the need to have the right product at the right time, this season what were especially sought after were prints, knitwear, cottons, in particular yarn-dyed/shirt fabrics, wool, functional textiles, anything that responded both to a quest for the best value for money and the fashion trends for autumn/winter 2010/2011, but also for next summer, with retail chains increasingly postponing their purchasing as a precautionary measure.

On the pulse of fashion
"We have really enjoyed a good show", says Kevin, General Manager at the Chinese company Shaoxing County East Union Textile Dress Co Ltd, with satisfaction. "It must be admitted that we are right on the pulse of the current fashion for prints."

The same sentiment is echoed by Mineo Osada from the Japanese company Sojitz Fashion: "We are content with this season's show, which represents our second participation at Texworld. Our Japanese prints, which are the height of fashion, have met with resounding success." "Our recycled products are particularly sought after but so are our memory shape fabrics", explains Peggy Lee, from the sales division of Chia Heir Textile Business Group from Taiwan.

The price of fabrics: a crucial aspect
An equally positive indicator: a significant increase (+7%) in major buyers, i.e. clothing manufacturers and buying groups which achieve more than 100 million euros in purchases for their group. "We come to the show with an exact itinerary and it is here where we do our buying because we find the best value for money on the European market. As far as we are concerned, the price is a crucial element since. for clothing made in Asia. the price of fabric is fundamental since it represents 70% of the cost price of the garment, whereas, for clothing made in Europe, it is obviously the proportion of labour that is by far the most important factor in the cost price of clothing" states Patrick Nectoux, Product development Manager LF Seven, Li & Fung (Trading ) Ltd.

The eco circuit and fair trade
While more distinct and more stylish forums have been conspicuous, it is still the particularly elaborate and well-defined eco forum that has attracted everyone's interest. More than 88 exhibitors from 15 countries have presented eco fabrics, made of organic cotton, recyclable materials or biodegradable fibres; the largest group combined 40 exhibitors of clothing fabrics with the GOTS and Organic Exchange certification, mostly for cotton and for organic linen. There were 15 Turkish companies, 9 Indian and Pakistani companies and Mauritian firms (3 exhibitors), others came from Bangladesh and Thailand (2 exhibitors).

Fabrics made of recycled materials come mostly from Taiwan (14 exhibitors) - 2 of them have been certified with the bluesign which means they have chosen to use natural fibres, like hemp and ramie, and biodegradable fibres like Tencel, Modal or cupro. This involves companies who use natural dyes that are certified according to the European Eco-Flower standard or the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 that applies in all countries.

But the stance taken by Texworld in promoting fair trade has also been appreciated, whether with regard to the exhibition or the debate organised by the Max Havelaar Fairtrade organisation. While this may still represent less than 1% of world commerce, fair trade products have a future, even if the price is about 30% more expensive as opposed to other products. For this philosophy, which is added to the wave of popularity for green products, corresponds to the spirit of the times and younger generations (future consumers) have been brought up in this spirit, in the West.

Like the Turkish Arsan Tekstil Group (especially content with this session like most of the Turkish exhibitors, in particular those offering yarn-dyed fabrics), the Indian Alok Industries or the Mauritian Palmar Knits, they view fair trade as representative of a market that is as yet still limited in scope but one that can only continue to develop. These manufacturers with the Flo-cert certification obtain most of their supplies from small African, Pakistani or Indian cotton

Organics and fair trade therefore have a promising future, but natural fibres do too, as Henrik Kuffner, Director General of the IWTO, International Wool Textile Organisation, reminds us. On the occasion of a conference, he concluded the International Year of Natural Fibres by demonstrating how promising this sector remains today and how it satisfies the demands of consumers eager for all that is natural and authentic.

Satisfaction on the part of exhibitors in the clothing sector
Clothing manufacturers, above all in sourcing, constituted a significant group at Texworld, in particular with exhibitors from CTAF, the China Textile and Apparel Trade Fair, organised by CCPIT-TEX and HKTDC Hong Kong Trade Development Council . Jessica Lee, manager of the latter organisation, which grouped 14 exhibitors as opposed to 4 last February, explains that it was a question of showing Western visitors to the show the quality and creativity of the businesses from Hong Kong. "They appreciated the products from our exhibitors, among whom there are a few who are particularly satisfied with this show, in particular:
- Heltex lTD, which produce some 30 000 articles of knitwear for the women's market (pullovers and T-shirts) in cashmere or in a blend and which is targeted towards the mid-high-end of the market
- Hongtex Honh Kong Ltd, which produces both articles for men in cotton, silk and other natural fibres as well as for women.
- Janzen Garment Cy, specialising in sophisticated outerwear for adults and children.

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