Textile Forum has doubled in floor space to accommodate a 25% increase in exhibitors from 36 at the last edition in February to 48.
As well as UK exhibitors, such as West Yorkshire weaver AW Hainsworth and lace specialist Alan Litman, the show also boasted international companies from France, Italy and Belgium, including lace weaver Darquer and silk specialist Belinac.
Ten of the exhibitors were brand new, while two returned after showing at Textile Forum in previous seasons, including Leicester-based Discovery Knitting.
Textile Forum, which took place on October 14-15, attracted as many visitors on its first day as it did across the two days of the February show, said founder Linda Laderman.
Visitors included Nike, Jasper Conran and London Collections Men designers Agi & Sam. While the majority hailed from the UK, international interest came from the Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal and Lithuania.
“This has got to be the most positive edition of Textile Forum since we started the show 13 years ago,” said Laderman.
“Some of those initial 11 exhibitors are still with us today, such as Pongees and Henry Bertrand. This has also been the most dramatic show in terms of sheer size and the number of companies involved, which is the reason we had to extend the show space downstairs.
“The growth of Textile Forum is definitely in response to increasing demand for quality fabrics and the flexibility of smaller minimums our exhibitors can provide.”
First time exhibitor Dashing Tweeds saw demand for its modern twist on tweed from costume designers and bespoke ladieswear tailors. Visitors were particularly interested in the textile design house’s fabric collaboration with Fred Perry, mixing blue British wool with Lumatwill reflective yarn.
“People are really impressed by the quality of our UK designed, Made in the UK fabric,” said founder Guy Hills.
“They love our take on making vintage tweed more contemporary with reflective yarn, blending a heritage cloth with an element of technology
“We’ve already taken lots of orders for samples. I think it helps our collection is so diverse, from merino to Harris Tweed to British wool.”
British wool Melton fabrics in bright pop shades were really pulling in tailors, students and accessories brands alike at the AW Hainsworth stand.
“We debuted five new colours – fuchsia, orange neon, citrus, grass and cyan – we are really catching people’s attention,” reported marketing manager Julie Greenough.
“It’s the first time we’ve done a trend palette and it’s proving really popular.
“The show has been really busy and it’s nice being upstairs as only the really quality buyers make the effort to come up to the second level.”
The first day proved busier than the second for the team at Jane Makower Fabrics, which saw interest from womenswear and childrenswear designers for its fake furs and charming cotton screenprints depicting hedgehogs, foxes and bees.
“There is a positive atmosphere downstairs here at the show and we’re happy as we’ve met a mixture of established clients and new companies,” said designer Danielle Saletes. “Lots of the visitors here are looking specifically for British design.”
Owners and designers at Forget Me Not bridalwear on the Isle of Wight, Geraldine Tulloch and Katrina Rigg, attended Textile Forum in search for inspiration. “We are thinking of branching out into Mother of the Bride wear, so we’re looking to sample some different fabrics,” said Tulloch.
“This show is good for us as most of the bridal fabric brands we deal with are here in one room. We also like the new layout and the fact that everyone isn’t in one room, so there’s much more space.”
The next edition of Textile Forum will take place on March 9-10 2016.