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Première Vision shines despite coronavirus fears

A key date in the fashion industry’s diary, Parisian textile trade show Premiere Vision was a muted affair for spring 21, but still provided a panoply of creative fabrics

Ahead of Parisian textile trade show Première Vision (PV), which ran on 11-13 February at the Parc des Expositions just outside of Paris, concerns had been steadily rising around the impact of coronavirus on fashion manufacturing and sourcing. Travel restrictions led to more than 30 Chinese exhibitors cancelling plans to attend, while others sent their European agents instead.

The impact of these restrictions was also felt in visitor numbers in the cavernous halls. Exhibitors noted lower footfall from Chinese visitors and international names, who it its thought skipped the show because of the absence of some of China’s key sourcing names.

However, other than large information signs advising on healthcare precautions at entrances, there was little sign of concern or action from those attending. Despite promises ahead of the show that face masks and hand sanitiser would be readily provided to attendees, Drapers did not see them in any abundance. In fact, measures at PV were less obvious than at London trade shows Pure and Scoop the previous weekend.

British names at the show reported growing concerns over the future impact of the current “supply chain blockade” in China as a result of the virus, noting that stock could soon dry up and new-season supply may be limited.

Nonetheless, there was still a relatively healthy turnout at the show, particularly on day two. The Fabrics hall was busy, and the Smart Creations sustainability section, which increased to 58 brands this season, also attracted large numbers of visitors.

Alongside the continuing sustainable focus at the show, spring 21 trends erred towards the exuberant, with shimmer, shine, eye-catching textures and bright acid tones. Crucially, these embellishments were sustainable, using recycled materials and biodegradable glitters. Elsewhere, linen and lightweight cotton remain key summer fabrics, but tweeds emerged as an unexpected summer star.

Earlier this month, PV announced that its September show dates were shifting to earlier in the season. The move was received positively, and exhibitors noted that the show had fallen too late in the buying calendar. However, there were concerns over stock availability for some mills.

Although exhibitors stressed that PV remains a key show for the industry, several British names told Drapers that the Milan shows were becoming increasingly integral for meeting big-name brands and larger businesses.

While PV continues to thrive, China’s absence this season brought home the significant influence the country has over all aspects of the global fashion industry. The fallout from coronavirus is yet to be felt in full force, but exhibitors were encouraged by PV’s in-show announcement of a new event in partnership with Fashion Source to be held in Shenzhen, China, later this year.

At the start of an unsteady season, PV once again gave an insight into the trends and challenges the industry will face in the seasons to come.

Views from the show

Jemma wood, account manager, alex begg (2)

Jemma Wood, account manager, Alex Begg

It’s been quieter than usual on the first day but, having said that, the second day is normally the busier one. We’re not sure how it’s going to go this year with people not travelling [because of coronavirus]. There are normally a lot of Asian buyers at Première Vision, and they aren’t travelling, but we’ve seen a lot of other nationalities.

They have been positive about the season and for us it’s going quite well. People have been interested in a real mix of fabric weights. We never know with the spring show because a lot of our [fabric] weights are cashmere and wool, and so lend themselves more to autumn, but there has still been a good reaction.

People are looking for more transitional fabrics and the show timings are changing to reflect that. The autumn show is normally too late to catch people, so it’s a good thing to move it earlier.

The new combined show in China with Fashion Source is a good idea to congregate it all together.

 

Sarah powell, sales manager, abraham moon (2)

Sarah Powell, sales manager, Abraham Moon

On day one we’ve already had some interesting new leads as well as seeing our regular customers.

It’s a little quiet as a lot of people are not travelling. Some of our customers have let us know they’re not coming because of the absence of some of the bigger Chinese exhibitors. Similarly, other agents have told us that a lot of people are not coming because they do all their sourcing from China, and if those exhibitors aren’t here, what’s the point?

We’ve got to be here to be seen as actively promoting the brand. We’ve just come from Milano Unica, which was really busy and becoming increasingly so for us. Première Vision is too late in September, and a lot of people want to get orders in early.

It’s been massively positive here so far from buyers, even after Brexit. We’ve seen an influx of new and smaller brands as well. There has been a rise in cut lengths, as smaller tailors increasingly want to do their own ranges.

 

Em mendoza, sales and marketing manager, piñatex (1)

Em Mendoza, sales and marketing manager, Piñatex

We’ve exhibited in the Smart Creations section ever since it started. It was around 10 brands in its first year in 2015, but now it is so much bigger thanks to the increasing market for sustainable materials.

It’s a great opportunity to teach people about our product. PV for us is both about writing orders and educating people about the brand. However, compared with the other shows we go to [Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Future Fabrics Expo and Lineapelle] PV is more about selling. It’s a chance to meet designers who make the buying decisions and convince them to work with us.

The brands we tend to see are an equal split between big names and smaller independent buyers or emerging brands. We also tend to get a lot of students nearer the end of the show which is amazing as they are the people who are the future of the industry.

This year we’ve seen fewer Chinese customers, because of coronavirus fears. It’s mostly been European visitors, and some from the US.

 

David gallimore, managing director, luxury fabrics limited (2)

David Gallimore, managing director of Luxury Fabrics Ltd, representing Kynoch 1788, John Foster 1819 and William Halstead

The show has been all right so far, but there was a quiet start to day one. We came straight from showing in Milan last week and we see a lot of the major brands there – the big French and Italian fashion houses. PV for us is more about smaller and emerging designers, and that’s why we show here as we think those businesses are the future. They make it worth coming along. We see about 50% new customers here, as opposed to 2% new customers in Milan.

Personally, I think it was crazy to change the dates of PV next season. There will be a clash with the Milan shows, and so buyers and exhibitors will have to decide which one they go to. The clash makes no sense, as both shows will lose out in the end.

All the concerns that are talked about around Brexit and trade are not having an impact on business yet. Brexit seems to be very much on the conversation back-burner now. There are starting to be concerns about the impact of China though. It’s too early to say what the impact might be, but China is powerful in garments, yarns and customers – and at the moment things are completely shut down for most people. If the economy there dips, it will be a big concern.”

 

Mike bennett, director, bennett silks (2)

Mike Bennett, director, Bennett Silks

The show has been quieter than normal, but we did expect that because of coronavirus. Day one was a very average day in terms of footfall and day two has been a little slow so far. We see a mix of small designers and bigger names here, but we are seeing fewer UK buyers than we used to. They are going to the London Textile Fair instead.

The big topic of conversation over the past few years has been Brexit – if duties or taxes are introduced then we will lose all our European business as buyers will go for duty-free alternatives. There must be thousands of businesses in the same situation as us, and I can’t believe the government would consider losing that trading relationship. It would be a disaster.

The main concern for a lot of people now is China and the impact of coronavirus. Around 95% of our silk yarn comes from China and, at the moment, there is a complete supply chain blockage, which is very concerning for a lot of people. Depending on how much longer there are issues, we could conceivably run out of our product – we do have backup stock, so we should be okay, but certain colours are running out. At the moment we are dyeing fabrics in Italy to replace the colours we can’t get from China, but once that undyed stock runs out we will have a problem.

Speaking to contacts in China, a lot of the problem is that the workers simply cannot get to the factories. Often workers live far away from the factories, and went home for the Lunar New Year. They haven’t been allowed to go back to the factories and if they do they are being kept in isolation and are not able to work.

 

Orla bailie – blackett, designer, linton tweeds (3)

Orla Bailie-Blackett, designer, Linton Tweeds

We do PV every year because everyone you want to see comes along. So far, we’ve had positive feedback and noticed a lot of people asking about sustainable aspects. We now have a sustainable range, so are able to offer options.

The shift in show dates for September will be tricky for us because of when the mills we use shut down [for summer holiday]. It will make things harder for us and we’ll probably have to buy yarns an extra season ahead.

It was a lot quieter on the first day than normal, but it is busier today on the second day. We’ve seen many fewer international people travelling.

We have done the shows in Milan before, but we don’t go any more as we didn’t see enough of the right customers.

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