UK mills exhibiting at the Paris textile show on September 16-18 were encouraged by the ongoing popularity of Made in Britain fabrics.
Stephen Walters & Sons
Bruce Crabtree, sales and marketing director: “The first day was quiet but the second was non-stop. There’s a strong interest in Made in the UK, particularly in menswear, most prominently in the home market but also in the Far East. We’re traditionally about 90% jacquard and have always carried fabric for neckwear but we’re looking at weights and constructions in jacketing fabrics now with our first full menswear collection.
People are interested in traditional English designs with a twist; for example, we’ve got Glen plaid with camouflage elements, or tweeds with animals.
Europeans are looking for rich yet muted colours, while the US, Far and Middle Eastern markets are looking
for strong colour.”
- 01787 372266 stephenwalters.co.uk
Tracie Blakey, designer: “It’s been busy consistently. The first day started slowly but the second day was full on. We’ve seen lots of new people and people who wouldn’t normally come to see us.
People are definitely looking for more colour; they are just drawn to it now and they know what they want. Everyone asks, ‘Do you manufacture in England?’ Lots of young British brands seem really keen to keep everything in Britain and use UK fabrics, which is encouraging.
Timing is becoming an issue, as more customers come to the mill and want to be done [ordering] before PV even happens. There’s
just not enough time, so they’re getting earlier and earlier.”
- 01274 525525 hield.com
Keith D Walker, managing director: “It’s been a brilliant show. It’s been positive and we’ve had higher numbers of actual orders. There have
been more Chinese than previously so we’re picking up more of their business.
Customers are looking for something different and new. We’ve got a PosiLeno weave, which is totally new. It’s a type of gauze and gives strength to the fabric so it allows us to manufacture with a much more open weave, but makes it really strong. It gives the effect of the heavy fancy fabrics but they are much lighter and looser, and allows you to create all sorts of designs and finishes that you couldn’t before.”
- 01228 527569 lintondirect.co.uk
Martin Aveyard, design director: “Overall it was quieter than last year. However, we’ve seen the customers we needed to see and the quality of buyers has been good.
We’ve introduced a range of British wool for autumn 15 which has been popular. Made in Britain is still going strong, it’s to do with traceability
and product quality. Customers are spending more now, as the middle market is introducing more premium product, and we’ve gradually been increasing our stock support system, where we have no minimum orders.
Our biggest worry now is [animal rights group] Peta. It has told some customers how cruel sheep shearing is in Australia. We’ve moved from farms in Australia to South African and New Zealand farms - 60% of our sourcing was from New Zealand anyway.”
- 01943 873181 moons.co.uk
Louise Sullivan, apparel cloth design manager: “PV’s been very good for us. The British section is shrinking, but it’s been busy. The good thing about PV is that you always pick up new business that you might not elsewhere. People are cautious though; at one point they would have placed orders here but not any more. It’s not that they aren’t ordering, just not at the show.
The big thing for us this season is that we’ve launched our new stock service cloths, with no minimums, while the minimum for Johnstons cashmere is normally 60m and wool 120m. It’s helpful to smaller, emerging companies that can’t necessarily hit the minimums and also to larger companies because they can use it for immediate sampling.
In terms of design, we’ve injected a bit of fun into our cashmere this season with pops of brighter colours, and that’s been well received.”
- 01343 554022 johnstonscashmere.com
David J Williams, business development manager: “It’s been a good show, despite the best efforts of Air France. I thought the airline’s strike would mean nobody would show up, but it doesn’t appear to have affected us.
There’s a bit more money around now - people are spending more at the higher end of the market, which is where we sit. People want
clean lines, we’ve moved on from the patterns and effects that were so popular last season. Dry wax is most popular for autumn 15, as it’s less greasy than regular waxed cotton, but maintains the authenticity.
Everyone said the trend for English heritage was over, but we’re not seeing that - it’s still very much sought after.”
- 01706 716370 britishmillerain.com
David Burke, sales director: “We’ve sold a lot of novelty fabrics, it’s been bizarre. We always put things on the stand to attract attention, never thinking they will sell, but this season they have. Novelty jacquards, taffetas and ombré effects have been doing well. The market is very polarised, though; you can be at the top or lower end but the middle is a bad place.
Première Vision used to be ostentatious, but times are tougher now and so the show has pared back and is keeping it minimal. There’s really no other show like it - it’s a window on the world.”
- 020 7424 7000 henrybertrand.co.uk
Edward Waterhouse, sales manager: “The show has been as good as this time last year. We’ve reduced our fabric offer, in the hope that we’ll sell more of fewer things. We’ve streamlined everything so we now have a third fewer options.
British classic suiting has been popular, in grey, navy and black, although customers are still really into bright blue. Subtle designs have also been popular, with semi-visible but intricate designs, all on dark backgrounds.”
- 01484 512850 arthurharrison.co.uk