Shanghai: global textile value chain pulled together at last week’s Intertextile Apparel

Published: April 12, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Spring’s much-anticipated global apparel flagship ended on a high note on 30 March 2023. Over the course of the three-day fair, the first major textile event since China became more accessible, nearly 3,000 exhibitors from 22 countries and regions welcomed nearly 100,000 trade buyers from 101 countries and regions. With a worldwide reputation for its product diversity and internationality, the Spring Edition of Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics reaffirmed its position as the ideal platform for the whole textile value chain to assemble. International exhibitors hoping to reconnect with domestic buyers confirmed their goals had been accomplished, while participants were impressed with the fringe programme, and benefitted from the extensive sourcing opportunities available at the concurrent Yarn Expo Spring and Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles Spring.

Speaking at the fair’s conclusion, Ms Wilmet Shea, General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, remarked: “We are glad to have witnessed so many industry players reunited at the fairground, with largely positive feedback. China is reasserting itself on the global stage, and upon the evidence at the fairground this week, its textile market is following suit. Exhibitors were particularly pleased with the overwhelming visitor flow which has confirmed that a ‘back-to-business’ mentality is prevalent again. The fair has been growing in importance for nearly three decades, and is now consistently a crucial platform for the textile industry to keep up with market trends and embrace the latest apparel technology. After the success of this Spring Edition, we are optimistic about bringing further opportunities to the industry when we gather here again for our Autumn Edition in August.”

25% rise in international exhibitors, with domestic numbers also up
The fair’s nearly 3,000 exhibitors represented a healthy increase from the previous spring edition in 2021. 46% of overseas suppliers returned to showcase their products in 2023, while new exhibitor countries and regions were Belgium, Cambodia, Macau China, Pakistan, and Portugal. Hailing from Italy and the UK, the Premium Wool Zone’s 32 exhibitors represented the highest number since the zone’s introduction, a sure sign of increasing Chinese demand for luxury wool products. Many buyers were prompted into business interactions across the fair’s six halls, spanning over 160,000 square metres, and high traffic areas included the Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan Pavilions.  

Exhibitors’ feedback
“Our booth has been very popular and we are thrilled to have met with many high-quality potential customers from China, South Asia, Japan, and more. Designers and online brands have shown great interest in our fabrics. Looking to the future, we expect fabrics to combine sports and outdoor applications, such as anti-UV, and trend towards outdoor-friendly, functional fabrics that are soft and comfortable.”
Ms Qian Xu, General Manager, Shanghai Ueyama Co Ltd

“It is our first time exhibiting at Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics, and our objective was to use the fair to understand the current Chinese market demand. Many big-name domestic manufacturers have enquired with strong purchasing intent. I was able to discuss their product and development needs face-to-face, and I learnt a lot. The fair’s comprehensive coverage of the entire industry chain provided us with the market information we need to make informed decisions.”
Mr Usman Saeed, Country Head (China), Masood Textile Mills Ltd

“We have exhibited at Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics for more than ten years, and the results and good feedback we receive at each edition ensures that we keep coming back. The presence of high-quality buyers across the array of major market segments is in line with the broad appeal of our products. Manufacturers of fashion, outdoor, sports, underwear and special work clothes all came to visit our booth.”
Ms Abbey Yu, Manager of Sales & Marketing Department, Framis Italia

“Our booth has been very busy since the first day of Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics, with many buyers sourcing fabrics. We have developed numerous new environmentally friendly fabrics for the domestic market, by integrating reusability, distribution, and recycling. Exhibiting at this edition has been productive and efficient, as we have connected with many new and old associates, and had multiple in-depth conversations on market trends.”
Ms Zeng Yuan, Marketing Director, Idole Trading Co Ltd

“We are promoting our floral designs to the domestic market, because the potential here is massive, and doing business with Chinese buyers is very important. Our target for exhibiting here is to increase our popularity and sell our designs. Participating in physical exhibitions allows us to increase our exposure and speak to customers face to face. The amount of visitors at this edition is overwhelming.”
Ms Cindy Xu, China Office Leader, Pehuen Consulting Srl

“The current trends of the textile industry are recycling, sustainability and traceability of products. Many of our customers are exhibiting at the fair, so this is an excellent opportunity for us to meet with them as well as a variety of other companies along the entire value chain. I see good potential for the Chinese market because it is so large, and it has an enormous manufacturing base. The world is very much depending on China.”
Mr Rainer Roten, CEO, Testex (Shanghai) Textile Testing Co Ltd

The apparel industry is a buyer-driven value chain, and visitors to Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics had a productive three days of sourcing from strategically grouped zones. With China’s younger generations adopting more active lifestyles and showing a strong desire for green products, the fair’s Functional Lab and All About Sustainability were must-visit zones for many buyers. Additionally, industry associations and buyer delegations from multiple countries were impressed with the fair’s coverage, and pleased to be able to visit in person.

Buyers’ impressions
“It is my first time sourcing at this fair. My favourite part is the abundance of new and interesting suppliers to meet. I have achieved my business goals, as I managed to find new fabric suppliers, and to learn about new trends and products that we can offer to our customers in Mexico. I will definitely return, as I always need to look for innovation and Intertextile Apparel suits all of my needs.”
Mr Edmundo Velazco Ruiz, Supply Chain Manager Sr., Telas Lúa

 “This is my first time joining the fair’s VIP buyer programme. Everything has been very well-planned by the organisers, such as travel, identifying the right suppliers, and pre-scheduling exhibitor meetings. More and more exhibitors are offering sustainable products, which is exactly what we are looking for. I expect the industry to maintain its steady growth while increasing its focus on smart manufacturing and innovative fabrics.”
Ms Rhodes Fan, Manager, PVH Far East Limited

“The quality of the exhibitors is very high; visiting designers’ eyes have been glued to the fabrics. After a day of sourcing, I made many business connections, found sought-after fabrics, buttons and lace, and also gained a lot of inspiration. Many exhibitors don’t do online business, and if you don’t come to Intertextile Apparel, you cannot interact with them. This fair has really been worth my time.”

Ms Ling Han, U&MI, tailor-made children’s wear

“Intertextile Apparel allows us to efficiently match with new exhibitors, and to catch up with old suppliers. Today I saw many innovative products and fashion trends, including recycled fabrics, which I can recommend to my colleagues when I return to the US. The amount of exhibitors has grown, and the fairground is consistently being refreshed at every edition.”
Ms Nancy Wang, Global Fabric Team, Perry Ellis International

The fair’s fringe programme offered industry insight, and provided front row seats to some of the global textile market’s latest innovations. Participants could choose from a list of over 35 seminars, forums and panel discussions covering a variety of topics, including the latest fashion trends, sustainable solutions, and digital advancements. Highlights included the Intertextile Directions Trends Forum, the How to Deliver Trustworthy Sustainability Communications to Consumers Forum, and the Smart Textile Industry Forum.

Fringe programme audience’s comment
“I am deeply impressed with the fringe programme. Speakers made in depth discussions on the most cutting-edge technology including new yarns, functional fabrics, and more. The content of the seminars also gave me an insight into current fashion trends, which inspires us when choosing materials for our future designs.”
Ms Jamie Jiang, Designer, Sanlang Textile Technology Company

Speaker’s insight
“Topics are especially focused on sustainable development which is well-aligned with the future of the textile industry. Wonderful insights from many industry experts provided listeners with new, widely applicable perspectives and opportunities for green development. In addition, I am glad to meet with foreign exhibitors again and gain an in-depth understanding of their innovative marketing models. I’m confident that the Chinese market will continue to flourish.”
Mr Edwin Keh, Chief Executive Officer, The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textile and Apparel

Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Spring Edition 2023, co-organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd; the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT; and the China Textile Information Centre took place alongside Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles – Spring Edition, Yarn Expo Spring, CHIC and PH Value from 28 – 30 March at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai). The Autumn Edition will be held at the same venue from 28 – 30 August 2023.

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