Exhibitors reported good visitor numbers and a dominance of UK buyers at this season’s edition of London textile trade show Texfusion, despite a feeling of a “shadow” lying across the industry.
A total of 160 exhibitors took part, across Texfusion and the London Print Design Fair, which took place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on 28 - 29 March. This season saw the introduction of 10 apparel manufacturers, as well as the second season of the dedicated “technical fabrics” area, which was extremely popular, with exhibitors reporting high visitor numbers across the show.
“We were very busy yesterday, and today has been good as well with a mix of fashion and tech focused buyers,” said Stephanie Miller, sales executive at The British Millerain Co. Ltd. which was showing for the first time at Texfusion, within the technical area. “We’re feeling very positive about the show, it’s been better than we expected for sure. At other shows we tend to see returning customers, but we’ve seen a lot of potential new business here, which is very good. We’ve also seen a really high proportion of UK and London based buyers and there seems be more thought about sourcing locally.”
Exhibitors in the main hall also reported a strong showing from UK, with visitors from Oman, Russia, Malaysia also attending the event. “The second day was busier, all the manufacturers were around and they’re generally from the UK,” said Fiona Fletcher, owner of agency Fizz Fabrics. “It is a little quiet but the market is tough so that was expected. You have to be here in order to do any business.”
However, despite this success, the show had less of a buzz than previous editions, with market concerns playing heavily on the mind. “We’ve had the same number, if not slightly more visitors that last time, but the show doesn’t feel as vibrant this season,” said Texfusion organiser John Kelley. “There is a slight shadow over the industry, with concerns around Brexit and costings, but people still have to carry on with business. It has been a bit of a mixed bag, not the busiest show we’ve had, but it’s all about the quality.”
These concerns did not impact all exhibitors however, with several new businesses looking to break into the UK market pleased with the show’s results, seeing a subtle shift away from the negativity. “London is a centre for international business and we are exploring the opportunities in the UK,” said Zahid Nazir, digital print operational manager at Indonesian company Argo Manunggal Triasta. “We wanted to get a feel for the market, and for a first show it’s been a success. Times are difficult due to the cheapening of the market, but we’re finding the high street is turning away from reproducing the same designs as everyone else, and going for more individuality. That’s good for us, as we can offer that with low minimums on fabrics. There’s a lot of negatives to the market at the moment, but there is a flipside to that and we are finding the positives.”
Despite the mixed picture at this season’s show. Kelley also announced the launch of a New York edition of The London Print Design Fair, which runs alongside Texfusion. The first show will take place in August 2017, and is being introduced following the success of the London show, in what Kelley called a move which would “push forward” the trade show.