APPAREL | Business & Policy | EVENT UPDATE | Sustainability

Intertextile Apparel concludes: digital, sustainable and functional trends shine amidst boost in internationality    

Published: September 7, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

With strong business results and a 17% increase in international visitors from spring, the much-anticipated Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Autumn Edition successfully wrapped up last week. Nearly 4,000 exhibitors from 27 countries and regions welcomed 95,000 buyers from 117 countries and regions, underscoring the fair’s continued international reach. Digitalisation, sustainability and functional fashion, pillars that are currently redefining the industry, emerged as dominant themes across the fairground: whether it be biodegradable raw materials, or the first-to-market artificial intelligence system. This gave buyers a comprehensive sourcing experience, supplemented by over 40 seminars and forums and the concurrent Yarn Expo Autumn. 

Ms Wilmet Shea, General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, reflected positively on the fair’s outcome, stating: “This edition has served as fertile ground for business, with participants universally expressing a renewed sense of optimism about the prospects in the China market. The fair continues to be not just an event, but a cornerstone to the global textile market, a meeting point where business and innovation intersect. We’ve seen an influx of discerning, quality-orientated buyers from around the world, confirming that our exhibitors are not just meeting market demand, but shaping it.”

As the leading event of its kind in the region, Intertextile Shanghai is a crucial platform for industry to keep abreast of the market trends and technology and for business exchange. One case in point was the use of the AI-based Interactive Design Assistant for Fashion (AiDA) to augment this year’s Intertextile Directions Trend Forum. AiDLab’s innovation took CONTRADICTION a few steps towards the future, and created a wide range of virtual outfits based on the on-trend fabrics submitted.

Showcasing unique highlights at every edition, Intertextile Apparel repetitively attracts international and domestic exhibitors and buyers, with crowded booths in evidence throughout the three days this autumn. The broad spectrum of exhibitors, hailing from countries such as Belgium, France, Hong Kong China, Italy, India, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan China, and the UK, among others, was a significant draw for buyers. Group pavilions were led by industry powerhouses such as ECOCERT, Hyosung, Korean Textile Center, Lenzing, LYCRA, OEKO-TEX and Sorona, further enriching the event’s international diversity. “Buyer feedback, especially relating to increased product variety and sustainable options, has been excellent. This level of global diversity, particularly at a fair focused on apparel fabrics, is difficult to find elsewhere. It underscores the fair’s crucial role in continuing to propel the industry forward,” added Ms Shea. 

A number of companies used the fair as a platform to launch new products, such as Lenzing expanding its REFIBRA™ technology to its ECOVERO™ branded viscose, a move that will increase its products’ post-consumer fibre content. Other notable debuts included LYCRA showcasing three new branded fibres; Unifi highlighting its Textile Takeback™ initiative; Guangdong DC Button’s plant-based degradable button series; and Yantai Jihe Import & Export’s Türkiye flocked denim fabrics, new to the Chinese market.
 
With the recently-launched ‘Econogy’, the combination of economy and ecology, sustainability is set to make a lasting impact on Messe Frankfurt’s Texpertise Network. Intertextile Apparel showed its merits – from the All About Sustainability zone to the fair’s multiple eco-focused fringe events. Across categories, exhibitors, visitors, and speakers left the fairground satisfied with a productive interval of in-person business.

Exhibitors appreciated the quality and diversity of buyers
“Intertextile Apparel is Asia’s largest trade fair, with high internationality and a strong influence in the industry. The organisers did a very good job in gathering professional, good quality buyers. There is simply no other trade fair that can replace Intertextile Apparel. We were one of the early birds regarding sustainability testing for textiles. We are very happy that more consumers are requesting transparency, resulting in more companies increasing their sustainability efforts.”
Ms Rinoa Zong, Marketing Manager, Testex (Shanghai) Textile Testing Co Ltd (All About Sustainability)

“We have been participating at Intertextile Apparel for 10 years. Milano Unica is a part of Italian mills, and it can show to the rest of Intertextile Apparel that we are a concrete and united community, and this is something that gives value to buyers. We are targeting the domestic market, focusing on luxury customers, where demand has increased. Many good and interesting customers have visited our booth, especially on the first day.”
Mr Matteo Casarin, Area Manager, Estethia G.B. Conte (Milano Unica pavilion)

“China’s market is huge. We’ve been selling in China for probably 20 years, but we are still just scratching the surface of its potential. Intertextile Apparel brings everybody together, which allows me to reach out to buyers efficiently from around China, as well as the rest of Asia. The Trend Forum’s fabric designs and textures are a very useful market update for me.”
Mr Josh Lane, Regional Director, Far East, Holland & Sherry Asia, UK (Premium Wool Zone)

“Given its wide industry recognition, Intertextile Apparel has always been our first choice to promote in Asia. This year, we are using this platform to present our recycled brand REPREVE, the REPREVE+ functional yarn, and Textile Takeback™ – our new textile recycling concept for customers. The fair is also the right place to learn more about the market and trends, and explore new customer sources. We have gained many business opportunities here.”
Ms Luka Yuan, Brand Sales & Marketing Director, Unifi Textiles (Suzhou) Co Ltd (Functional Lab) 

“We join every edition of Intertextile Apparel because of its broad customer base and exceptional organisation. Our main goal this time was to reach our domestic buyers, especially workwear manufacturers. We also met customers from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, and we have already received orders on the first day. After China opened its borders, we saw an increase in customer enquiries, and this is good for our brand recognition.”
Mr Guang Hao Zheng, General Manager, R&D Textile Co Ltd (Korea Pavilion) 

“I’m glad to be back at Intertextile Apparel after the pandemic, and the market response has been constructive. 80% of our products are exported to customers in 45 countries. Many of our buyers come to China, and this is a good chance to meet them. At this edition we’ve met customers from Pakistan, many from India, the Middle East, Lebanon, and Africa – this is a promising market for us.”
Mr Teguh Hidayat, President Director, PT Gistex Indonesia

Buyers impressed with increasingly sustainable and innovative textiles 
“I really appreciate attending this fair after a gap of almost four years. We’ve been very excited to meet all our vendor partners, as well as some new suppliers. We were mainly looking for sustainable products, that’s our key focused area. Based on the first two days here, I am confident that we will find some new and interesting sustainable products, such as those derived from ocean plastic and recycled textile waste.”
Mr Gulshan Kumar, General Manager, Taiwan LLO, lululemon

“Either me or my colleagues attend Intertextile Apparel every year. I’ve probably got six people on the ground here now, including a colleague who’s flown out from the US. Customers are looking for more functionality and more sustainability. The quality and quantity of exhibitors here is fantastic, and it’s very important to renew those face-to-face connections. We’re meeting with as many of our existing suppliers as we can, and to see if any new exhibitors interest us.” 
Mr John Tennent, Director of Fabric Development, Active Apparel Group, Australia  

“Intertextile Apparel is unmissable, and is one of our most important channels to capture the latest fabric trends and pattern designs. There is a definite significant increase in overseas exhibitors, and I am very interested in the innovative designs and sustainable new products such as the recycled waste products from the Italy, Korea and Japan pavilions, and the All About Sustainability zone. I could see this fair is the go-to place for innovative and sustainable fabrics. I also listened to presentations from overseas trend and fashion experts, which provided us as designers with a lot of unique inspiration of relevant topics.”
Ms Yi Chen, Designer of Justin Allen Ltd, China

“As a design service, we hope to empower China’s fashion industry through AI, so we were very interested to learn about this trend forum and the latest fabric trends. Even with the support of AI technology, our industry still needs to be driven by people. This forum explained the mastery of fabrics and colour matching, such as light-sensitive primary colours, luxurious jewel tones, and more, which benefitted me a lot. Presenting from the perspective of major first-tier brands, we were also able to learn from the speakers.”
Mr Cai Jiawei, Senior Consultant, POP Fashion, China

Fringe participants inspired attendees with forward-thinking industry trends
“We hope to promote our innovations through trade fairs such as Intertextile Apparel, which is one of the industry’s biggest, and well-attended by many global fabric and garment manufacturers, testing labs, and brands – our target customers. This is a good platform to increase our industry recognition. The foot traffic was really good, and we received positive feedback onsite, with many customers looking for AI applications to assist fashion design and fabric inspection. Visitors saw our Trend Forum display and came to our booth to discuss further.” 
Mr Barry Tai, Senior Manager of Business Development team, AiDLab

“Whatever the trends or colours, we are delivering a new sustainable way of approaching design and fashion. We are imagining a new technological approach to the design process, and also how we can interpret nature in a way that’s updated, renewable, and eye-catching to the customer. Intertextile Apparel is very important as it keeps us in touch with final consumers, design workers, and suppliers, in a blend of creativity and insights that we can regenerate in our trend forecasts and design works.”
Ms Elena Pecchi, Style Designer and Trend Forecaster of Peclers Paris (Design and Trend Forum)

Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Autumn Edition 2023 is co-organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd; the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT; and the China Textile Information Centre. It took place alongside Yarn Expo Autumn, CHIC and PH Value from 28 – 30 August at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai). For more details on this fair, please visit: www.intertextileapparel.com

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