If you're new to the fashion industry, you might not be aware that there are a lot of industry events held throughout the year. Different trade shows cover different topics, for example it might be for fabric sourcing, meeting manufacturers, networking amongst peers or seeing seminars on trends or technology for instance. I find these events very beneficial, as not only do they help you to have a better understanding of the industry now, but they also equip you with information on future changes in the industry, so that you can plan for them. The most successful businesses are constantly evolving + moving with the times + I think it's important for businesses of all sizes to realise this.
This was my first time visiting Munich + I found it was very worthwhile; I'll certainly be going again next year. This is a manufacturing + fabric sourcing fair + as well as being able to meet with suppliers + factories, I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of quality seminars that took place, many of which were free.
The event was on for 3 days + I went for 2, but in honesty when I go again I'll go for 3 days - there was a lot to cover (both in terms of physical ground + mentally lots to take in) + also the seminar schedule for all 3 days was really interesting. The thing I found most surprising was the focus on technology + sustainability, which had their own separate exhibition space. Although I'm not directly involved with the technological aspect of the textiles industry for the most part, it was really interesting to see where the industry is headed, how it will affect me + my clients + most importantly, how to prepare for it. Times are changing, customer demand for products to be more than just clothing (for example having specific properties or functions) is rapidly increasing + technological advances in production could create some drastic changes in the next few years. It's so important to stay ahead of these developments so that you don't get left behind. I think most people will remember companies such as Kodak - once the leader + innovator in their field, they refused to move with the digital age which cost them their company.
Pros + Cons of the trade show;
To be honest there were very few cons, but here's a few things to consider;
- There was A LOT of ground to cover + it's impossible to visit every stall, so I'd advise doing a lot of research prior to visiting.
- If you're a small company, a lot of places did have high minimums which would be unsuitable for small businesses, so it would definitely pay to look at the exhibitor catalogue + make some enquires to companies prior to arranging a visit.
- The organisation in terms of directions wasn't very clear. It told you which train to catch, but didn't provide directions to the venue, which is a 10-15min walk away, so make sure you have access to a map (on your phone or real!), prior to setting out. I found the Apparel Source was harder to get to than the Fabric Start.
- Free lunch was provided (amazing!) but it was super busy, so you may prefer to take something yourself as there aren't any other cafe's around.
- If you're looking for suppliers in the Americas or UK this isn't really for you. Most exhibitors were from mainland Europe, China, India + Bangladesh.
- The timetable for the seminars changed last minute which was a bit inconvenient + the China sourcing one was cancelled very late due to lack of interest. This was annoying for me as I'd already gone to the location!
There were lots of pros + I would recommend this show to most of my clients, especially if you're open in terms of the countries that you work with/in;
- Wide variety of seminars, most of which were free. Highlights for me were the technology, sustainability + sourcing ones. I'd definitely suggest going to as many as you can, as I was pleasantly surprised after attending a talk that I didn't think was very relevant to me but it was actually one of the best ones. Keep in mind that a couple of seminars you have to book in advance, so make sure you check the schedule before you visit.
- Although the manufacture section was comparatively small vs the fabric exhibits, I did make some good contacts there + this could be helpful if you're looking for a manufacturer.
- The trend forecasting information provided by the event was very helpful + provided a lot of value - the only catch was having to remember it all as no photo's were allowed. There was also a company selling trend info which I did purchase, but as you may be aware this type of information doesn't come cheap!
- If you're looking for sustainable fabrics, the Keyhouse section was very useful as it gave an overview of all of the companies at the fair who had organic and/or recycled products to offer.
- Denim had it's own section, which I always feel is very important as denim is so different to the rest of apparel, so it was very fitting that there was a specific denim hall, with relevant vendors + trends.
- A hi-tech 'micro-factory' was set up to demonstrate how automation technology could soon allow customers to order a custom printed tee + have it completed within 1hr. It was great to see machinery working + production happening in real time.
I hope this post has given you a good indication about what to expect at this trade fair. If you have any questions on attending, please feel free to ask in the comments, or you can visit the official website by clicking here.
If you're unable to attend yourself, but are looking for suppliers or manufacturers, you may be interested to know that I do provide a service whereby I share contact information with my clients. If you're interested in learning more, please feel free to get in touch by clicking here + letting me know what you would like help finding.
If you're keen to learn more about my findings on trends, manufacturing + technological advances that affect everyone in the apparel industry, you can sign up to my mailing list below to receive occasional updates + fashion industry news....