APPAREL | Brands | Fashion Updates

At Intertextile Apparel foreign visitors outnumber exhibitors highlighting the strength of the home market.

Published: March 22, 2024
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Shanghai, 21 March 2024. After three days of facilitating cross-border business across the show floor, fringe events, and various Spring / Summer 2025 fashion forums, the global apparel flagship fair closed doors on 8 March. Following the government’s easing of visa requirements, the over 3,000-supplier showcase saw a 22.9% increase in international exhibitors compared to the previous Spring Edition. Welcoming nearly 90,000 visitors from 116 countries and regions, international visitor numbers rose by 99% at this year’s show, with a higher-than-usual 87% returning on Days 2 and 3 signifying considerable sourcing intent. Across 190,000 sqm and seven halls of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), domestic buyer demand for various Chinese and globally produced textiles was also high, particularly in categories with luxury, sustainable, and functional elements. 

Just before the fair’s close, Ms Wilmet Shea, General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, commented: “From raw materials to finished garments, apparel textiles is one of the world’s most interconnected industries, and this Spring Edition’s strong showing of exhibitors and buyers has reiterated the importance of Intertextile Apparel to the global market. With multiple opportunities for insight and innovation exchange, domestic and international visitors were able to stay on-trend for Spring / Summer 2025. The exceptional return rate of overseas buyers across the three days bodes well for the global market and speaks to the multitude of sourcing options at our comprehensive platform. After the high attendance and positive feedback for this show, we have already set our sights on Intertextile Apparel’s 30th-anniversary edition this autumn, which is sure to be unmissable.”

Joining the Spring Edition’s strong flow of domestic buyers, the top five visiting countries and regions were Korea, Hong Kong, India, Russia, and Japan. In addition, the fair welcomed over 100 buyers from delegations representing industry associations of Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, and Vietnam. Pavilions and zones from France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Türkiye were well received, as were group pavilions from Korea Textile Center, Lenzing, and OEKO-TEX®.

Meanwhile, suppliers from new exhibiting countries showcased varying products, including Ethiopia’s Arbaminch Textile Share Company, with sustainable natural and synthetic fabrics; Peru’s Topy Top SA and its 100% cotton knitted garments; and Spain’s Monday&Co, displaying pattern designs for fashion and interiors. From across the textile spectrum, many of the show’s exhibitors lauded the renewed ease of doing business and the prevailing strength of the domestic market.

Exhibitors’ feedback

“We are an Italian company which specializes in producing cashmere and cashmere blends. We have brought our winter collection, and our S/S 25 collection for both men and women. On the first day of the fair, we had many important customers placing orders. It seems we are back to the fairs of 2016 – 2018, where it was profitable. It’s a good sign for the Chinese luxury market – in the last year, domestic menswear brands have improved, and for womenswear, we are doing very well with online brands, many of which came to our booth to see our products.”
Mr Andrea Rossi, Sales Manager, Lanificio Luigi Colombo S.p.A (Italy Pavilion)

“Our main products are cotton and linen, and we’ve added some functional fabrics such as nylon and polyester. We also do sustainable fabrics, including organic, and recycled nylon, which are more in demand from domestic buyers at this edition. The Japan Pavilion is helpful, we can harness its reputation, and let more people see what Shibaya does. We’re using a new WeChat sample ordering system, and we’ve received even more customer details; it’s been a very good exhibition.”
Mr Chen Yu Jyun, Sales Section, Shibaya (Japan Pavilion)

“Intertextile Apparel is the platform for the domestic launch of our innovative textile coating HeiQ Skincare, a 100% bio-textile technology. Infused clothing can slowly release beneficial microorganisms to help skin glow and repair itself. With no market alternatives, HeiQ’s technology is highly recognized by industry players. However, we still need large, comprehensive platforms such as this to help us reach our diverse target sectors, including garments, fabrics, accessories, home textiles, industrial textiles, and more.”
Ms Jeanie Hu, Marketing Director Greater China, HeiQ (China) Material Tech Co Ltd, Switzerland (Functional Lab)

“We chose the most influential industry platform, Intertextile Apparel, to debut officially in China. Beyond my expectations, our patterns are welcomed by Chinese buyers, especially those with nature and ocean styles. This year, our patterns are featured in the Trend Forum, which might attract more target buyers. Amazingly, this platform can effectively bring the most ideal customers to us and give us an overview of the whole market in just three days. This is the ideal show to help us step into the Chinese market.”
Ms Debora Chodik, Co-founder, Monday&Co, Spain (Verve for Design)

“Fine wool remains the centerpiece of natural materials, but in terms of styling, these days most people mix and match wool clothing with casual items, or go for a more casual style. For fabrics, the emerging demand is for functionality like natural stretch or wool blended with other casual fibers such as linen. Our main goal of joining this fair is to find our key customers, and we achieve this at every edition. I believe the majority of high-end manufacturing will remain in China, as it requires very skilled workers to cope with very complex manufacturing processes. In addition, it’s hard to find another place that can produce such large volumes efficiently and stably over a long period.”
Mr Kai Wang, Deputy General Manager, Beijing Vitality Textiles, China (Premium Wool Zone)

“We need sustainability along the whole supply chain, and that’s what MADE IN GREEN stands for. It’s our cornerstone for end consumers, growing 73% last year. Consumers are making decisions, pushing regulations, and pushing brands and retailers to initiate change. China’s visa-free initiative is really important for international trade, and I feel like we are back to the Intertextile Apparel of pre-covid times. The engagement is interesting and innovative, and we see a bright future for China and sustainability.” 
Ms Linda Wegelin, Chief Commercial Officer, Testex AG, Switzerland (OEKO-TEX Pavilion)

Since November’s offering of visa-free travel to France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia, the Chinese government has since added Ireland, Switzerland, Singapore, and Thailand to the list. With strong exhibitor representation across multiple categories, from functional and sustainable to suiting and shirting, domestic and international visitors were pleased with the options available.

Buyers’ comments

“I visit the fair every year to learn about new products and industry trends. As a large brand company, JNBY’s demand for fabrics is huge in terms of categories and quantity. We came here to purchase all kinds of fabrics for men, women, and children, especially linen, denim, and fabrics for outdoor sports and sun protection. Exhibitors ORTA and Nantong Tianzhu matched our needs very well. There are many highlights at this edition, and various innovative, sustainable fabrics can provide ideas for our R&D and fabric selection.”
Mr Cao Yunfeng, Senior Fabric Purchasing Manager, JNBY Finery Co Ltd, China

“The global market is growing, so we chose Intertextile Apparel, the world’s most well-known industry event, as our sourcing platform this year. The scale is huge, and with Yarn Expo and Intertextile Home Textiles, it covers most of the industry’s upstream and downstream categories. We came to purchase anti-fouling and eco-friendly chemical fiber fabrics. I found several interesting suppliers in the Trend Forum and visited them in the Taiwan and Japan Pavilions, and should place orders after the meeting.”
Mr Hong Sajun, Purchasing Manager of YoungHW Textile Trading Co Ltd, Korea

“Sourcing in China makes sense logistically, it’s best to maximize our margins, with many opportunities that we have yet to explore. At this fair, I’ve seen many useful fabrics for the brand, that will inspire the design team, with realistic commercial applications. Global and domestic industries need to be together because that’s the nature of design, it’s very collaborative, and being isolated in your own bubble doesn’t help anybody. It’s great to see a different culture’s take on a motif, new technology, or new innovation.”
Ms Rebecca Sales, Senior Fabric Design & Development Manager, Jonathan Simkai Inc, USA

“Every year we come here to select new fabrics and patterns for our customers, mainly concentrated in Europe and America, and make orders according to their demands. The fringe events and trend zones can help us better summarise the current trends, and select corresponding exhibitors, making purchasing more efficient. This show is not only about the display of goods, but also reflecting the whole industry’s present and future, and applying conceptual ideas to production, which is very exciting and rewarding.”
Mr Dai Zhichun, CEO, Anhui Sinsell Textile Co., Ltd, China

Encompassing the themes of Design & Trend, Market Information & Business Strategies, Sustainability Issues, and Technology & Solutions, this edition’s fringe program covered 35 seminars, themed forums, and product presentations, supplementing the business conducted on the show floor.

Fringe participants’ insights

“My presentation was about our Open Lab. HKRITA is a research institute, and we believe that R&D cannot just be kept in the laboratory. We want to have multiple parties talk about how to solve the environmental problem. I think it was wonderful, we got parties from the government, brands, and also fabric makers with different angles to talk about sustainability, which is ultimately a topic for everybody. There is real interest in sustainable topics, and we’ve had a good turnout.”
Ms Clara Tse, Senior Manager, Research Product Design, HKRITA, Hong Kong

“The design of the Trend Forum very much speaks for itself to show the important colors for each theme, and I think people can get it. And the generosity of the manufacturers to give us all the fabrics and print patterns, put together made the stories as clear as I like to see. At this show, you have more realistic fabrics, fabrics with budget limitations, for real people and real production. After over 25 years, this has come to be the best of the best textile shows.”
Mr Kai Chow, Creative Director, DONEGER | TOBE, USA

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