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Optimism prevails at Paris fabric fairs

Business picked up at Paris textiles fairs Première Vision and Texworld towards the end of yesterday and the mood was optimistic, despite concerns about the impact changes to Greek austerity measures could have on the euro and ongoing issues in Russia.

Texworld, which runs from February 9-12 at Le Bourget, had a slightly quieter second day, as the start of Première Vision drew some of the visitors away to Villepinte. The latter runs from February 10-12.

Speaking to Drapers at Texworld, Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, international marketing manager for Cotton USA, said: “It has been good, yesterday was quite busy. It’s always quieter on the Tuesday because of PV. Everybody is talking about the weakening of the euro and the rouble, but the mood in terms of business is optimistic.”

Jeff Verhees, founder of Dutch company Verhees International Textiles, said: “Yesterday was very busy. The mood is very good, although garment makers are a bit low because sales are down in shops.”

“It has been quite busy, but we’ve seen a lot of regular customers and not so many new buyers this season,” said Mickaël Cotte, spokesman for Texworld. “Our customers are mainly European and the economy is not good right now, with the problem in Greece. And after last month’s events [the terrorist attacks that started with the shooting at satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo] I think there is an atmosphere of fear, which is not good for business.”

But he emphasised: “Regular customers still come because their business is done here.”

He also noted that the dates of this season’s show worked well for Chinese exhibitors and buyers, falling as they do a week before the Chinese New Year on February 19.

Over at Première Vision, the day got off to relatively slow start, but footfall picked up quickly in the afternoon. Pascaline Wilhelm, fashion director at Première Vision, said: “Business is not bad. The world is big compared to Greece and people know how to sell outside of Europe. It’s not local, the textiles market.”

Lindsay Taylor, group sales director of UK cloth merchants Holland and Sherry, said: “It was quiet this morning but it suddenly got manic at around 1pm. I think a lot of people travelled over today. We’re very fortunate that British mills and products are still riding on the crest of a wave. Everyone wants to know the provenance of what you have.”

This was echoed by Ann Thomson-Krol, textiles consultant for the UK Fashion and Textiles Association. She said: “We’ve had a lot of unusual enquiries about provenance – not just on the material side, but UK companies wanting to manufacture in the UK. People want to make the whole product in the UK, rather than just sourcing the fabric from the UK and having it made elsewhere.”

On the show in general, she added: “It’s only the first day, it was slow this morning but since lunchtime it has been brilliant, lots of footfall. We’ve seen a good cross section of Europeans, Scandinavians, US, Japanese and Chinese, although I would anticipate a drop from Russia; we normally get some, but there have been none so far.”

Richard Jeal, buying manager for menswear brand Albam, said: “It’s been very good today; we’ve seen a lot more directional stuff, especially from the Japanese mills.”

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