Chances are, the fabric from the shirt you are wearing was shown in a fabric show in some part of the world. It may be that the yarns to make that shirt were shown in a yarn show. And the shirt itself in an apparel show, and the machines to make all those processes in other shows.
The first important fabric show I attended was almost 20 years ago in Paris, where I was bedazzled by the variety and quality at Primer Vision, or PV as it is called. After two days of walking the show I didn’t get close to seeing everything. This is one of the shows that sets the stage for upcoming fashion.
Someone I’ve known for a long time started a denim show about a decade ago called Kingpins. I attended his first show in New York where there were several dozen suppliers of high-end denim showing their new collections. Since then, Kingpins has grown to be one of the most important denim shows, with venues in the US, Asia and Europe, attracting manufacturers, suppliers, and high-end indigo aficionados from all over.
As in apparel, there is a lot of competition in the textile show world. In China, a behemoth of fabric production (supplying fabric for a majority of apparel production around the world), someone looking for fabric trends can find shows in many important cities at key times of the year. Shows tend to be grouped together, in the same general area at about the same time. For example, if you are showcasing an apparel brand in New York or Las Vegas, there are about five different shows during the same week to choose from.
The show last week where a team of us exhibited was Intertextile, in Shanghai. They say it’s the largest in this part of the world. In prior seasons the venue was the Pudong section of Shanghai, but this time was moved to the other end of town, Hongqiao convention center. The place is massive enough to use gps to get around.
In this show you can find just about any type of apparel or accessory fabric imaginable. Our focus was on men’s and women’s shirting fabrics. We were one of hundreds.
Because we were a supplier among multitudes, the booths were all open to the tens of thousands who attended the three-day show. Interestingly, even though there were suppliers from all over the world, the Italians kept a lid on who they let see their fabric. Besides needing a pass to get into the show itself, to get to the Italian section, you needed an additional pass by special invitation only. Once inside, the Italian booths had doors, providing a double layer of security for the designers showing their new innovations in a country that excels at knockoff.
In textile shows like Intertextile, there is always a large mix of exhibitors, from fabric mills, to printers, to trading companies like ours. It was a fabulous experience. With luck, we’ll be back doing it again in October.