Just like the luminous summer 2019 fashions presented at the Fabrics show, the business climate is growing clearer, confirming milder days ahead. In the aisles, a gentle energy flows. International buyers are calm, positive and determined. « They’re focused and efficient in their selections, » is the feedback at the Japanese stand Maruwa. Exhibitors appreciate visitors’ fashion acuity. « This is a top-category audience that identifies in the blink of an eye the most refined pieces, like these delicate pleats, » said Franck Abolo, marketing director at Hang Gang Lace. At Colombo, makers of high-end Italian suitings, there was no doubt about it: « In Europe, the horizon has been clearing up for the past 18 months. Markets are regaining strength, optimism is returning, stylistic directions are underway and a clear upmarket shift has begun, » noted Andrea Rossi, while presenting a new ultra-light « cashmere 4.0 » here in Paris. This new luxury product should contribute to the company’s growing turnover (up 30% over the winter), which is expected to hit €95 million in 2018.
Along with the numbers, morale is rising. This winter, Italy’s Group Emmetex described a more « relaxed » atmosphere at the show, with « customers who buy better and are making a distinct return to quality, » The foreign exchange market, dominated by a strong dollar, seems to be favouring business. For Eser Özgül, sales director at Turkey’s Guldogan, « Exports are increasing with strong demand from the U.S., the U.K. and Germany. » On the technical-fashion chessboard, Germany is dexterously advancing its pawns. « German garment manufacturers rely on our most innovative products: ultra-light pfc-free recycled nylon for example, or water-resistant nylon plain weaves treated with salt-shrinking, » explains Kouiju Takata, director of the weaving section of the Japanese group Itochu.
Driven by technology, niche markets are inspiring visitors. At Balas Textile, the Willskin innovation – a mosquito repellent fabric that respects both health and the environment – has attracted broad interest. « The insecticide is integrated into the fibres. It’s exactly the kind of smart technology development that is currently attracting brands, » said company president Olivier Balas. Brands that have also caught the green wave: « Polyesters are liked when recycled and demand is on the rise for reused polyamides. Fashion is looking for meaning. » This opinion is shared by print-specialist Ratti, whose eco-responsible collection, launched in 2017, is attracting the attention of major luxury houses. « The Houses are following the broadening of the eco-friendly range, rounded out this season by linen and hemp, along with cottons, lyocell and silks. » This last, however, creates a challenge for the silky sector, as the price of silk has moved sharply higher in recent months. « A year ago a kilo cost €50, last September it cost €70 and this month it’s worth €85, » noted Bruno Denis, president of Denis & Fils, with concern. Brand upscaling might in fact have its limits.
PREMIERE VISION FABRICS