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Comment: Première Vision sets edgy autumn agenda

Pvparis fabrics sept19 francoisdurand 19644

Sustainable innovations and Brexit were the top talking points at the autumn 20 edition of Paris textiles trade show Première Vision, as fabrics veered towards the dark and shimmering.

The gargantuan halls of Parisian textiles trade show Première Vision are where the stage is set for fashion’s future fortunes – in terms of trends, talking points and challenges to contend with. The autumn 20 edition of the show ran on 17 to 19 September 2019 at the Parc des Expositions de Paris Nord Villepinte, and retained its role as a barometer for the fashion and textile industries. A huge range of businesses were spotted in the aisles – from New Look & Marks and Spencer to luxury label Loewe and London Fashion Week designer Molly Goddard (fresh from her spring 20 show).

Hot topics included an increasing focus on sustainable textiles and supply chain innovations. Among the British contingent, the looming Brexit cliff-edge remained front of mind.

More than 2,000 exhibitors from 48 countries, across six sectors including fabrics, accessories, leather and manufacturing, took part in the event. Already vast, the show is continuing to grow, and 230 new exhibitors were showing for autumn 20.

Christoph runph hyeres prize (16)

Christoph Rumpf, winner of the Hyères Prize

While serious business was being done on the stands, there was a festival atmosphere to the show’s communal areas. Visitors could visit themed photobooths or indulge in pick and mix sweets or ice-cream from vendors roaming the halls. The show also hosted virtual reality experiences. Within the trend area, visitors sat in circles wearing chunky VR headsets, and one stand featured a sky dive experience, to allow visitors to test out new sporting technology.

Meanwhile, this year’s winner of textiles award the Hyères Prize, Christoph Rumpf, was the subject of a design installation in hall five.

The overarching mood for the season was an ethereal mix of dark palettes and shimmering finishes. Sombre palettes of purples and navy appeared on floral and geometric prints. Prints were often accented with metallics or sequin detailing. Fabrics featuring a sheen finish, and textiles that played with light through iridescence, sequins or metallics, were also popular in luminescent, opal shades.

Despite this edition being focused on the autumn season, featherlight fabrications were another noteworthy trend, and super-lightweight leathers and airy satins appeared in many collections.

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The show placed a huge focus on sustainability this season. It expanded its dedicated “Smart Creations” section – which focuses on sustainable innovations – from 28 exhibitors this time last year, to 50 for the new season. Alternative textiles, sustainable dying methods and traceability tools were all on display in the sector, which drew a healthy buzz across all three days of the show.

Sustainability was also a hot topic for exhibitors, many of whom flagged their sustainable credentials on their stands. Exhibitors also reported a notable uptick of visitors asking about the sustainable credentials of their collections, and many said they had taken action in this direction. The general sense across the show was that for autumn 20, the textiles sector is starting to take decisive action.

“A lot of people are coming onto the stand and asking more and more about sustainability,” said Jemma Wood, account manager for Ayr weaver Alex Begg. “Everybody needs to be acting on it. For example, we have a sustainability manager who looks after that side of things to make sure we’re doing what we can.”

Bella tella recycled polyester mentioned (1)

Bella Tela’s recycled polyester

Other exhibitors had introduced new ranges into their collection to meet this demand. Taunton-based “fancies” manufacturer Bella Tela, for example, has launched a luxury 100% recycled polyester for autumn 20, catering to the demand for sustainable bridal fabrications.

As Brexit continues to inch closer, British exhibitors once again expressed their frustration with the ongoing, unchanging conversations around the topic that they were forced to have with visitors. Several noted growing concern around the future, as the supposed Brexit deadline is just weeks away.

“We’re still getting the same order quantities from season to season so there’s no fall out yet – but after 31 October? Who knows,” says Clive Walsh, managing director of Lancashire mill Mallalieus. “We have already had to do a lot more admin to give buyers peace of mind, ahead of any actual changes. It takes a lot of time and is a headache for the business.”

Although some Brits also reported seeing small numbers of customers rushing through orders ahead of the 31 October deadline, most said there had been no real changes to demand levels yet.

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Despite an overall buzz, several stands reported there being fewer visitors than at previous editions. Numerous mills blamed a slower autumn 20 season on the uncertainties that Brexit had brought along with it, but some also suggested that PV was too late in the season for many manufacturers.

“A lot of people have already made their buying decisions,” says Laura Watts, managing director of West Yorkshire’s Marton Mills. “Buying at this point in the season is fine for local producers working in Europe, but not feasible if you’re working in the Far East or elsewhere.”

Nonetheless, despite Brexit malaise and muted footfall, it was a positive show. Exhibitors were enthusiastic about the season ahead, and there was a strong sense that the Première Vision’s sustainable message was a sign of real change to come.

Première Vision autumn 20 by numbers

  • 2,056 exhibitors
  • 48 countries
  • 5 halls
  • 230 new exhibitors
  • 50 sustainable innovators in the Smart Creation Section

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