France, United Kingdom, Turkey, Spain and Italy contributed maximum visitors to the Apparel Sourcing Paris and Shawls & Scarves – the accessories showcase – the shows held during February 11-14, 2018 in Paris. There were 81 per cent visitors from abroad. Overall, the Paris shows, organised by Messe Frankfurt France, recorded 13,606 visitors.
There were new visitors from North America (over seven per cent) and the African continent (over 26 per cent), led by the countries who are major suppliers for Europe such as Morocco (over 25 per cent) and Tunisia (over 15 per cent), which came for sourcing. In addition there were the emerging markets such as South Africa and Ethiopia, which was the guest of honour this season.
However, the shows recorded a six per cent drop in attendance from Asian countries, apparently due to the Chinese New Year.
Number of visitors from Eastern European countries grew compared with February 2017, with Russia showing over 38 per cent increase, Poland, more than 15 per cent and Hungary, over eight per cent increase.
“This February 2018 show was a new experience for us with our initiative for a Sunday opening, the aim of which was to reach out to a different audience and to take the dates of Chinese New Year into account. This was therefore a trial run for us. The gamble of a Sunday opening for the trade fair yielded an interesting result with attendance by 18 per cent of our total visitors. Monday has again proven to be our busiest day and, as already announced, we will return to our usual timetable in September 2018. So we will begin on a Monday,” explains Michael Scherpe, president of Messe Frankfurt France. “As regards Apparel Sourcing, I am delighted to see that the countries representing new alternatives for sourcing that we discovered have proved to be an attraction.”
This was a session where casual wear was under the spotlight, accounting for 80 per cent of the show, with a marked tendency towards relaxed urban looks and a substantial range of children’s wear. There was a slight breakthrough in exhibitors’ skills when it came to underwear.
The wider choice of countries for sourcing clothing, something that is organisers’ constant aim, continues to convince prime contractors. Apart from the pavilions of Bangladesh and Pakistan, which always attract a lot of visitors, the trade fair was host to four other countries in particular.
Ethiopia, the guest country eagerly anticipated by European visitors, presented eight companies with different skills but with some special features (100 per cent organic cotton, dyes based on coffee or wine) that certainly attracted the attention of prime contractors.
Camillo Calami, director of Village Industry, whose collection of bags was very popular with visitors, summed up the general feeling shared by the pavilion: “Visitors to the trade fair were targeted exceedingly well. We met those we were hoping to see, tending towards European brands. We spoke with a great number of French and Spanish visitors but with British, German and Dutch ones too. Contacts have proved to be very interesting and above all very varied: fashion labels, consultants for sourcing and even retail chains!”
The Ethiopian pavilion was organised in conjunction with the German agency for international cooperation GIZ (Gesellschaft fûr Internationale Zusammenarbeit). The Ethiopia on Stage fashion show, epitomising Ethiopian design, met with resounding success.
Two other countries also attracted substantial interest. The eight firms from Myanmar were extremely well received with a very steady stream of visitors during the entire show, who were mostly European but included Americans as well.
Jordanian companies at show were associated with a World Bank integration programme for Syrian refugees. They achieved their goals in meeting not only fashion labels but also independent designers, who were mainly from Europe. Adel Tawileh, board member at the Jordanian Chamber of Commerce, explains “Our firms were especially surprised by the success of the uniform and workwear segment, men’s suits and women’s clothing with Middle Eastern embroidered outfits.”
For regular attendees at Apparel Sourcing Paris, like China and Hong Kong, India, Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the first choice of prime contractors was clothing manufacturers who are already very familiar with the customs and practices of Western fashion labels.
Shawls&Scarves – the accessories showcase recorded a busy session, in particular for the Indian manufacturers. Cotton fabrics and linen products were among the most sought-after. The Hong Kong knitwear firm Forever Century charmed visitors with their very on-trend and fresh collection. As regards actual accessories themselves, embroidered bags made of plant fibres from the Indian firms Enkay Exports and FF drew special attention.