The buyers who attended Interfilière Paris offered an unprecedented level of professionalism. “I’m impressed by the very high calibre of visitors. Major lingerie and swimwear brands are here. They know exactly what they want, and that starts with eco-responsible fabrics. The same goes for younger, creative brands which are out in force” enthuses Flavio Dias, Export Director for Lemar, a second-time exhibitor at the show. “There aren’t as many buyers as in previous years but the key buyers are here” concludes Raffaele Bianci from Taiana. In a complicated and increasingly strained intimates and swimwear market, it was mainly loyal customers who came to track down new products from exhibitors. Basics, on the other hand, did not get a look in! “Our clients are incredibly open to new developments like our Supreme Green Cotton. They know that the market will be difficult and that a stand-out range, focusing on sustainable development for example, can turn things around,” underlines Tanjia Schultes, Marketing Director for Feinjersey.
Exhibitors were delighted to see this interest for innovative and differentiating products and were able to meet customers for increasingly long, lively and interesting appointments. “Lots of questions are being raised. Our clients can see that things are changing, they’re questioning their strategies, looking to position themselves in different ways and wondering which direction is right for the long term. In the meantime, the interest in sustainable development remains high,” confirms Magali Anne, Sales Manager France for Boselli. Longer meetings were a key takeaway from the show, with fluctuating visitor numbers affecting individual stands differently: as soon as the doors opened Saturday morning was very busy, followed by a hard-working afternoon, then a calmer Sunday morning and more fluctuating numbers in the afternoon. “We were worried about the first day but Saturday was fine actually with visits from all our regular clients. The lingerie sector is really suffering. Profound changes are underway. Products are changing. Lingerie is becoming a fashion accessory, sportswear has joined the market … lingerie manufacturers are suffering and seem unsure which way to go at the moment,” admits Philippe Peyraverney from Jabouley.
By the evening of day two, the verdict was already rather varied throughout the different sectors: lace, fabrics, embroidery, accessories, manufacturing and textile designers. Enthusiasm was palpable from very satisfied exhibitors, such as Inter-Spitzen: “We’re not worried at all, even though it looks like there are less people. It gives us more time to work with customers who made appointments. The first two days were excellent for us, the show is going very well. Our customers are very interested in sustainable development and are looking for embroidery using 100% recycled yarns on all different base fabrics, tulle and satin,” explains Stéfanie Graf, Head of International Sales. This was also observed at Liberty Tex: “We haven’t heard customers complaining very much although we’re perfectly aware that their market is difficult at the moment. They’re looking for new and differentiating articles, like our eco-responsible products using recycled yarn or embroidery offering a variety of special textures and effects”, underlines Bobby Chen, company CEO. The popularity of sustainable development was particularly impressive at the packed Iluna stand. “5 years ago, we surprised everyone with our Green Label collection made from organic yarns by Fulgar and Roica Eco-Smart™ yarns. Now everyone wants these GRS-certified jacquardtronic laces, which are very graphic and ultra-soft, in trims or all-over versions. They’ve been an unprecedented success,” admits Federica Tersch Annovazzi. Well-deserved recipient of the Designer of the Year title, D2P Billon won over a good number of new customers with its “sustainable development” collection. “We have two distinct types of customer: major brands who need to satisfy consumer expectations and have decided to include a certain share of “organic” products in their range, and young brands who are looking for exclusively bio-sourced materials for 100% responsible collections,” explains Xavier Minsac.
The atmosphere in the accessories sector was very positive. Here again, customers were seeking to create added value and make their range stand out by selecting personalized and responsible accessories. Rings, closures and buckles made from recycled plastic from the Green Accessories collection by Fildan Accessories for example, were very successful. At Santoul, customers opted for accessories with customizable options, whether colours (e.g. new “gun barrel” shades), shapes (e.g. oval adjusters) or, better still, signed with the company name, thanks to special injection-moulds. “I’m pleasantly surprised to see our customers bringing us so many new ideas for development. 3 or 4 years ago, they were feeling so discouraged that all they wanted were the most basic, reassuring accessories,” observes Franck Martin, Sales Director for Santoul.
The Designer space was very visible at the heart of the show thanks to the presence of a number of talented new textile designers, many of them French. The majority of designers in this lively and busy space were able to show off their sample boards to new customers. Here again, a number of stands attracted a crowd throughout. These included Atelier Natanski, La Trame, the French Federation of Textile and Surface Design, Maison Le Callennec, Musticstyle, Gibson Design Studio and Bernini Studio, as well as Robert Vernet.
Just next door, manufacturing and outsourcing specialists were delighted with the interest shown by visitors. For its first show participation, Turkey’s Rota Tekstil was happy with the number of new leads met (US, Australia and Lebanon). “We’re very satisfied. The new contacts are equally interested in outsourcing the manufacture of their designs to us and in purchasing finished products from our Aytug Socks collection in organic cotton, bamboo, Lyocell and Modal,” enthuses Saim Alikaya. This satisfaction was echoed by the Portuguese company, Gulbena Texteis. A first-time exhibitor at Interfilière Paris, who met a number of customers wishing to launch new brands. “That’s not counting all those who currently manufacture in Asia and are looking to bring production back to Europe to take advantage of high-quality manufacturing from a responsive and flexible subcontractor,” underlines Helena Garcia, Sales Director for Gulbena Texteis.