The sharp drop in the value of the pound against the euro caused concern amongst exhibitors at this season’s edition of manufacturing trade show Texfusion.
Exhibitors from around the world praised the steady stream of buyers from retailers including Debenhams, Asos and Monsoon at the show, which took place across two days (19-20 October) at Islington’s Business Design Centre. However many exhibitors said they were worried about the potential impact of rising prices. The pound fell below €1.10 for the first time in six and a half years earlier this week.
“Although it’s still hard to tell what will happen with Brexit, I am worried because my customers are having to buy at prices which are 15% higher than before,” said Roberto Rosati, sales manager at Italian mill Fortex. “We’ll start seeing the impact soon, as people start to buy for the new seasons.”
Textile agent Hannah Jackson-McCamley added: “Prices across the textile industry have had to be increased because of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The low pound and ongoing uncertainty in the market are definitely worrying.”
However, Texfusion organiser John Kelley stressed that the UK’s textile industry is still open for business and praised the level of innovation from exhibitors at the show.
“The feeling in the textile industry is mixed because we just don’t know what the future is going to bring and most of the mills here sell in euros, so all of a sudden their products are up to 15% more expensive. Having said that, Britain is the fifth biggest economy in the world and people aren’t just going to stop doing business here. We’ve seen some really interesting developments in fabrics which can regulate body temperature so buyers are now are looking at what else fabric can do.”
With regard to trends heavy embroidery, velvet and metallics were proving popular with buyers, reflecting the ongoing popularity for embellishment and the influence of 90’s fashion.
“Velvet is still absolutely huge and lace has also proved very popular,” added Jackson-McCamley.
Around 1,500 visitors were expected to attend the show, which was combined with the London Print Design Fair for the first time.
Mood of the show
Minak Mahapatra, partner at embroidery manufacturers and exporters Mi Sign Haute Couture Broderies
“We came here today to explore the London and UK markets, because there is a good market for haute couture, high end fabrics here. We’ve seen a good mix of people, including buyers from the high street as well as up and coming London designers. Brexit isn’t too important to us really. Each country is different, but people always buy.”
Dean Marriott, sales manager at supplier Alan Litman
“It’s been a little quiet today, but the high streets are quiet so it’s expected. We’ve been seeing the right size of customer for what we’re looking for, brands like Debenhams and Next. All our stock is held in the UK, which is an advantage for us now because people want things so fast. UK businesses have an advantage in fast fashion. The things that have been popular are the metallic and mesh fabrics, which fit the 90s trend.”
Terry Miller, agent at Jaguar Trading Co.
“The show is less well visited than in years gone by, but we’re hoping to see some new customers. There seems to be a lot of small brands this year and a lot of people from abroad – which is good for the company. Leopard print has been very popular so far, after being out of favour for a couple of years.”