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(c) Befeni GmbH
27.04.2021

Befeni: FashionTech contra Fast Fashion

  • Sustainable fashion through highly automated just-in-time production on customer demand

The Befeni Group, based in Langenfeld (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Bangkok (Thailand), is one of the world's leading fashion tech companies with over 200 employees and around 200,000 customised shirts and blouses sold.

Thanks to highly automated processes and just-in-time production, the fashion start-up, which has been on the market for four years, is able to offer individually designed and custom-made fashion of high quality within a very short time. In addition to shirts and blouses, the range also includes jumpers, underwear and accessories.

  • Sustainable fashion through highly automated just-in-time production on customer demand

The Befeni Group, based in Langenfeld (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Bangkok (Thailand), is one of the world's leading fashion tech companies with over 200 employees and around 200,000 customised shirts and blouses sold.

Thanks to highly automated processes and just-in-time production, the fashion start-up, which has been on the market for four years, is able to offer individually designed and custom-made fashion of high quality within a very short time. In addition to shirts and blouses, the range also includes jumpers, underwear and accessories.

At Befeni, customers are measured personally and their data is then recorded in an online system. On this basis, a pattern is created in the in-house production in Bangkok and the garment is produced as an individual one-off. The customised order is then handed over personally by trained Befeni fashion consultants.

By deliberately avoiding middlemen, the company relies on a global value chain and offers fashion from in-house production at convincing conditions: The employees in Bangkok receive above-average pay. The individually made-to-measure shirt is available at a fixed price of 39.90 EUR. And the products are sold exclusively through 5,000 qualified fashion consultants in direct sales.

Sustainable Fashion as a future market

Constant new trends, quickly produced seasonal items in quantities and the disposal of surplus items are part of everyday life in today's fashion world. In the wake of the Corona crisis, this situation has become even more acute.

„We believe that the fast fashion trend is finite and that a rethink will take place among customers, the fashion industry and producers," says Maik Ernst, founder and CEO of Befeni. "Through our highly automated business model, we are able to sell directly from our fair, in-house production, excluding any middlemen. This way, we deliver the high-quality and handmade product a maximum of 3 weeks after receiving the customer's order - with personal advice from over 5,000 qualified, independent fashion consultants."

Jan Fennel, founder of Befeni and managing director of the in-house production in Bangkok, adds: "We also want our employees in Asia to benefit from the direct connection between production and customers. We are proud to give them pleasure not only through a monetary contribution, but also through direct feedback and appreciation - for example via video directly from the customers. With our working conditions, we also want to show that health, fun and care are a central part of the work in our team.“

Rethinking: How fashion is produced and offered

The Befeni tipping principle
The company has developed a system where satisfied customers can give a tip to "their" personal tailors. This goes directly to the tailors in the company's own production without deduction. The company wants to set an example and sees this approach as proof that an international fashion company can actively work for better working conditions in the manufacturing countries.

Facts and figures four years after the company was founded

  • Production
    Befeni produced 30% more blouses and shirts in 2020 compared to the previous year.
    No fast fashion, sustainable, demand-oriented production: production only starts after customer order, made to measure according to the individual measurements of the customers.
  • Increase in turnover
    Turnover generated in 2020: around EUR 6 million, +155% compared to the previous year
  • Number of customers
    +100% compared to the previous year: the number of customers rose from 40,000 to over 80,000, of which almost 10,000 are in Austria
  • Personnel policy
    Permanent employment of employees, above-average salaries and tip principle
  • Customizing: fashion according to individual customer wishes
    Customers can choose from more than 80 fabrics, different collar and cuff shapes and designs for each fashion piece.
(c) Neonyt/Messe Frankfurt GmbH
30.03.2021

Circularity and Fashion: Interview about the Business and Communication Platform Neonyt

Circular instead of throwaway economy - from fast fashion to zero-waste philosophy. The key elements of the circular economy in the fashion business are: Avoiding waste and pollution through new processes, continuous recycling of products and materials, and regeneration of natural systems. Textination talked with Olaf Schmidt, Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies, and Thimo Schwenzfeier, Show Director of Neonyt, from Messe Frankfurt about the Neonyt trade show as a business and communication platform for circularity & fashion.
 
It has been about 10 years since Messe Frankfurt ventured onto the "sustainable" fashion trade show stage. Initially with the Ethical Fashion Show, then with the Greenshowroom, there were two trade show formats in Berlin dedicated to the topic of green fashion. What prompted you as a trade show organizer to launch such a special format in Germany at that time?

Circular instead of throwaway economy - from fast fashion to zero-waste philosophy. The key elements of the circular economy in the fashion business are: Avoiding waste and pollution through new processes, continuous recycling of products and materials, and regeneration of natural systems. Textination talked with Olaf Schmidt, Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies, and Thimo Schwenzfeier, Show Director of Neonyt, from Messe Frankfurt about the Neonyt trade show as a business and communication platform for circularity & fashion.
 
It has been about 10 years since Messe Frankfurt ventured onto the "sustainable" fashion trade show stage. Initially with the Ethical Fashion Show, then with the Greenshowroom, there were two trade show formats in Berlin dedicated to the topic of green fashion. What prompted you as a trade show organizer to launch such a special format in Germany at that time?

Olaf Schmidt: Messe Frankfurt's Texpertise Network brings together the world's most important textile trade shows - at around 60 events worldwide, we show what drives the textile and fashion industry. We present the current topics and trends and set impulses for the entire textile value chain. Messe Frankfurt recognized the need for a suitable platform for the future topic of sustainability at an early stage. It was therefore obvious to expand our expertise in the field of fashion and to meet the demand from this segment. To achieve this, we have adapted and realigned existing formats: After launching the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris in 2004, Messe Frankfurt France took over the event in 2010. Two years later, Messe Frankfurt founded the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin in Germany and found, with the moving of the event to the polarizing capital, the ideal location for the coming years. Messe Frankfurt merged the already existing Greenshowroom with the Ethical Fashion Show, and from January 2015 the two shows took place in one venue. For Messe Frankfurt, hosting these events was the next logical step on our way to a sustainable fashion future - the concept is now established in the sustainable fashion market and has a continuous growth potential. The merging of the trade show duo in 2019, with the current name Neonyt, allowed us, our exhibitors and visitors a new content orientation and a holistic approach to the topic of sustainability as well as a more direct access to the conventional fashion market, especially with regard to retail. In summer 2021, Neonyt will take place for the first time in the new fashion hotspot Frankfurt as part of the new Frankfurt Fashion Week.

 
In 2019, both event formats were merged, the new trade show Neonyt was born and 1 + 1 became what? What components does Neonyt offer in addition to the previous trade show concepts, what is so "new-new" and how did you actually come up with the name?

Thimo Schwenzfeier: One plus one, as you so nicely put it, did not simply add up to two with Neonyt. One plus one equals unique, neo-new, internationally relevant: Among other things, the trade show business was supplemented by the international conference format Fashionsustain and a showcase to gradually bring
together the topic of sustainability with the topics of technology, innovation and prepress. Our content creator format Prepeek ensures the necessary lifestyle and the fashion show provides the glamour of the fashion world. Neonyt combines the most important elements of the international textile and fashion industry - style, business, inspiration, innovation, knowledge, fun and community. And that is exactly what makes Neonyt so "new-new". Progressive and polarizing - the artificial word Neonyt is derived from the ancient Greek word "neo" (eng. new, revolutionary) and the Scandinavian word "nytt" (eng. new). "The renewed new" - Neonyt is our synonym for the fundamental transformation process of the textile and fashion industry, a reinterpretation of what has already been there and our commitment not to stand still and to promote positive change together.

 
For the Neonyt trade show format, you have teamed up with partners - for example, for conferencing components and in the design area. What expertise do they provide, and what is the added value for exhibitors and visitors?

Thimo Schwenzfeier: We know which future topics our brands and the community are currently dealing with and therefore create the right platform - for personal encounters and exchange, for networking and successful business deals. To put it simply: we organize trade shows, we organize events, we provide the right setting, we connect people and business. Neonyt therefore forms the global interface between the various players in the textile and fashion industry - between industry, trade, politics, services and consumption. And so that a lively, transparent and, above all, authentic dialog can develop between all counterparts, we naturally draw on the knowledge of industry experts and form strong partnerships to push fashion and sustainability forward. Only together can we achieve real change and guarantee that our community is provided with sufficient and, above all, the right information to make self-determined decisions.
 

In recent years, the keyword circularity - or rather closing the loop - has been encountered everywhere in the fashion industry. Whether Stella McCartney, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, or large retail groups - many players and decision-makers are of the opinion that the future of the fashion world lies only in a circular economy and not in downcycling of any kind. What is Neonyt's view on this?
         
Thimo Schwenzfeier: That's right, the concept of circular economy is not new, nor is it limited to the textile and fashion industry. Circularity - actually the ultimate for every product, every industry, for our global society. The concept is supposedly simple: All materials and products are kept in a closed loop, the useful life is increased and at the end of the product life cycle everything is recycled. Many sustainable fashion labels are already showing how it's done. Neonyt brands are right at the forefront and are already implementing practices that should become the norm as soon as possible: starting with T-shirts or shoes made from recycled materials and take-back systems for collection items. As well as compostable clothing that "dissolves" at the end of the product life cycle and breaks down into its natural components, and on to repair services and leasing models for denim and co. - thinking holistically, acting in a sustainable manner and producing in a circular way are definitely the trends of the coming fashion seasons and at least one important, if not the most important, component of the future fashion world.

 
For the idea of a circular economy to be implemented successfully, there needs to be an interplay between technology, production, design and sales. What presentation options and forms of communication does Neonyt have in store for the various components?  

Thimo Schwenzfeier: The combined innovative power of technology, sustainability and digitization is an important driver of the current developments in the textile and fashion industry - including the topic of circularity. Processes and production sequences are changing along the entire value chain - the industry has to reinvent itself for the most part. Neonyt shows how this can work successfully in the long term, with the internationally established Fashionsustain conference format - including spin-offs in China, Europe and the USA - and the supplementary Showcase. Together, these two formats offer the ideal mix of orientation and inspiration to prepare the industry for the future. Virtual fashion, authentic brands and textile value chains, science and innovation as well as retail, business models and impact investment - at Fashionsustain, top-class experts will exchange ideas with an interested professional audience and discuss the change and new solutions in the textile and fashion industry. The Neonyt Showcase takes a deeper look at the topics and innovations presented and discussed on the Fashionsustain stage. Expert knowledge on-demand, so to speak: whether microfactories or installations - Neonyt brands as well as brands from the rest of the Texpertise Network of Messe Frankfurt, such as exhibitors at Texprocess, get the chance to present sustainable innovations, new technologies and materials, initiatives, change-maker campaigns or research projects. Here they interact directly and practically with Neonyt's international cross-sector community.
 

Last year was an unprecedented challenge for trade show companies due to the pandemic situation. Neonyt was also affected by this - and physical events had to be canceled. With a digital format "Neonyt on Air" you have tried to offer exhibitors and visitors an alternative platform. What has been your experience: Did the focus of the trade show and its community perhaps even help to make such a virtual event easier to launch? 

Olaf Schmidt: Corona has already changed a lot and will certainly continue to do so in one way or another. Nevertheless, it will continue to be our task as trade show organizers to offer the industry the best possible meeting platforms for presenting their new products worldwide. We are convinced that people will continue to want to meet in person and discuss new products as well as services in the future. This is particularly the case in the textile sector, where haptics plays a very crucial role. We expect that there will even be a certain catch-up effect after the crisis. Because what the last two very successful digital seasons of Neonyt on Air, for example, have nevertheless shown clearly: Fashion lives from personalities, presentation and inspiration. Digital formats can support this, but they cannot fully replace it.
 
Thimo Schwenzfeier: The digital Neonyt on Air was far from being a total replacement for the original physical seasons, but nevertheless a huge success. For one week, fashion, lifestyle and digital experts were discussing about more authenticity, immediacy and transparency in the textile and fashion industry in numerous keynotes, interviews and panel discussions. With more than 24,000 international followers on Instagram, we generated around 50,000 impressions and more than 4,700 content interactions with our presenting partners Grüner Knopf, Hessnatur and Oeko-Tex in just five days. These figures show, that the topic of sustainability has arrived in the middle of society and is being discussed across all industries. I think that the polarization and, above all, the prevailing restrictions, as far as trade and commerce are concerned, have certainly contributed to holding a successful digital format. Digitization was truly the booster for the fashion industry in this case: Instead of replacing personal exchange, it helps to maintain and expand the business activities of brands, especially in the current times. And quite clearly, the need for exchange in the fashion industry and the motivation to initiate together a change are still enormous. Neonyt on Air has once again shown us that clearly. However, we are already looking forward to the next physical edition of Neonyt.
 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also left its mark on the textile and clothing industry. When you look back on just under a year of "state of emergency" - what positive experiences do you take with you, where do you see a need for improvement, for what support are you grateful for and where did you feel you were left on your own? 

Olaf Schmidt: A year like no other - that can clearly be said about the last one. The Corona pandemic caught everyone off guard - us as trade show organizers, but of course also our exhibitors, visitors and partners. Especially in the near future, we must continue to expect, that trade shows can only be held under stricter health and safety regulations at first. Messe Frankfurt reacted quickly and developed a comprehensive safety and hygiene concept. One thing was clear: we all had to adjust and deal with a new situation. And so far, we've done a great job together, the team understanding among each other, the close contact - although physically at a distance, but globally networked - between all those involved, makes me feel positive about the future. For me, an important realization of this global pandemic, a credo almost, is to be open to new ways and opportunities and to find ways to combine things rather than separate them: Hybrid solutions, so to speak.    

Thimo Schwenzfeier: There was no master plan for Neonyt, and in places there was also the impression that we now had to "reinvent the wheel": How does collaboration work when face-to-face meetings cannot take place? Can digitized contact compensate for the social distancing that is currently being imposed and still make it possible to work closely together? How can business relationships be maintained when stores are closed? How can priorities be set when well-tested solutions and established annual plans lose their validity? Who am I, who are 'the others' and what defines community? Never have questions about our creation and existence, about what makes us who we are and what we want to be, been more relevant than right now. One thing that I take away from the current situation and that allows me to continue to look forward positively despite difficult circumstances is the fact, that cohesion and solidarity with one another - both privately and professionally - have become increasingly important. Like a magnifying glass, the crisis has magnified existing opportunities, but also challenges, and brought the essentials into focus. I think that if we continue to try to experience things more consciously and not take them for granted, we will manage together to create a " new normal " and leave this crisis with more strength.
 

As in the past in Berlin, Neonyt is currently also located in Frankfurt in the environment of the Fashion Week and conventional trade shows. Can you imagine that a special event concept like Neonyt will be unnecessary in a few years, because the circularity concept will have established itself in the clothing industry worldwide?

Olaf Schmidt: A clear no. Sustainability per se is already no longer a unique selling point. The important thing is to keep up with the times, to follow trends or, even better, to track down new trends yourself and develop them further. Things, strategies, concepts will always change - if last year showed us one thing, it was certainly that. It is more than desirable that we all learn from this crisis and reflect on the really important values, on solidarity between partners, on climate protection and sustainability. It may be exactly for this reason, that companies that place particular emphasis on sustainability will emerge even stronger from this crisis. So you can be sure that we, as a leading international trade show organizer for the textile industry, will continue to focus on sustainability and support future-oriented companies and solutions. However, this will not make our formats obsolete due to the establishment and normalization of holistic business practices in the textile industry. But it is impossible to make an exact forecast for the coming decades. Over the last few months, we have all noticed ourselves in our personal everyday lives or in our professional lives, how uncertain and volatile the future is. What is clear, however, is that the fashion industry - the world in general - will change even faster than before. And therein lies the opportunity for formats like Neonyt. The ten-year history shows in how many directions Neonyt has already developed, content focal points have been shifted and it has reinvented itself - this will also be the case in the future.
 

Mr. Schwenzfeier, in addition to your role as Director of Marketing Communications for Messe Frankfurt's textile exhibitions, you have also been Show Director of Neonyt since 2018. You have spoken to many exhibitors and visitors - which ideas or creations have particularly impressed you?

Thimo Schwenzfeier: I think it's not so much the individual innovations or creations of the exhibitors at our trade shows. And I deliberately choose the plural here. Because in my function as Director of Marketing Communications in the Textiles & Textile Technologies division of Messe Frankfurt, Neonyt is just one of "my" events. I think it's more the variety of fashion, technical and professional innovations that brands, labels, companies, start-ups and designers present every year. But if I really had to choose one innovation, it would probably be the vegan "Currywurst" sneakers made of red pepper and recycled PET bottles - the same label also offers shoes made of wood, stone, coffee and mushrooms or now even meteorite particles. It is impressive to experience every season anew of how creative the textile and fashion industry is.
 

Breaking new ground means being willing to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus also having the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, about which entrepreneurial decision by Messe Frankfurt are you particularly glad, that you made?
 
Olaf Schmidt: Clearly the decision to create Neonyt. To establish our own trade show format for fashion, sustainability and innovation and to integrate the freedom and lifestyle, which entail this topic, into our event. After more than a decade, we may be saying goodbye to Berlin in 2021, but not to our community and our spirit. Together we look back on many fashionable seasons and great locations in the capital: starting in the Hotel Adlon Kempinski to the Ewerk, the Postbahnhof, the Kronprinzenpalais, the Funkhaus and the Kraftwerk to the last physical event in Tempelhof. With the turn of the year and in the setting of Frankfurt Fashion Week, Neonyt is about to move to the metropolis by the Main. In Frankfurt, worlds collide: Skyscrapers and 19th-century villas. Architectural sins and masterpieces. Business and middle class. Red-light district and luxury boulevard. Frankfurt Fashion Week sets new impulses in this area of conflict. And in the middle of all this is Neonyt. The signs are pointing to a new beginning - a restart for the entire fashion industry, together we are taking sustainability to the next level - the focus topics Applied Sustainability and Applied Digitization are creating a completely new Fashion Week ecosystem in the metropolis by the Main.
 

If everything works out, Neonyt can be held again as a face-to-face event for the first time in July 2021. What are your plans? What and who can visitors look forward to? And what backup is there for a worst-case scenario?

Thimo Schwenzfeier: Of course, due to the currently ongoing tense situation around Covid-19, it is difficult to make binding statements about the next physical event. However, we are cur rently expecting the situation to ease into the summer summer 2021 is therefore on the health of everyone - exhibitors, visitors, partners and employees of Neonyt. Messe Frankfurt has developed a concept that includes detailed hygienic measures: Hygiene, distance and fresh air supply are important factors, which we coordinate with the responsible authorities in Frankfurt and those in charge of Frankfurt Fashion Week. In due course, the Neonyt community will receive advice and recommendations for the trade show attendance and participation, that comply with current regulations. We have not yet thought about a concrete backup for a worst-case scenario, as we are currently anticipating a physical B2B event - but the last two seasons have shown, should it not be possible to hold the Neonyt face-to-face, that we are quite well positioned with the digital Neonyt on Air and could certainly adapt the format for another summer event. We regularly exchange ideas with all market participants and try to get a sense of opinions and wishes from our community through surveys. Wait and see, one might say - in the end, we also have to act according to what the current health situation allows and what decisions are made by politicians.

The Interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius,
Managing Partner, Textination GmbH

Foto: Pixabay
18.08.2020

Sustainable Fashion: How are the Leaders in Fast Fashion doing?

  • 10% of their offer is eco-responsible.
  • Sustainable cotton is a priority for retailers for the coming years.
  • Sustainable garments cheaper than standard garments.

Brands are prepared for the new health protection rules and have reopened their stores. But aside from the direct impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, is the fashion market ready to respond to customers’ desire to act by changing their spending habits?
Based on analyses by Retviews, a recently acquired startup, Lectra has produced a survey of sustainable fashion among the leading fast fashion brands. The main findings are explained here.

  • 10% of their offer is eco-responsible.
  • Sustainable cotton is a priority for retailers for the coming years.
  • Sustainable garments cheaper than standard garments.

Brands are prepared for the new health protection rules and have reopened their stores. But aside from the direct impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, is the fashion market ready to respond to customers’ desire to act by changing their spending habits?
Based on analyses by Retviews, a recently acquired startup, Lectra has produced a survey of sustainable fashion among the leading fast fashion brands. The main findings are explained here.

The COVID-19 crisis has given many people the desire to live more meaningfully and to act more responsibly.     
The crisis period could be seen as the catalyst that forces the fashion industry to change the way it designs, produces and distributes its products. Since, for consumers, buying is a way of expressing a commitment and affirming their values, brands have an incentive to change their offer in preparation for the future, by taking a more eco-responsible, authentic and transparent approach.
While these factors were apparent before the pandemic, they have now become the key to interacting with consumers wanting a more responsible offer. The era of the consumer activist, long heralded without actually becoming a reality, is now here, and brands must adapt in response.

Sustainable collections still a very small minority
The proportion of sustainable fashion in collections varies considerably from one retailer to the next. For example, eco-friendly collections constitute only a small portion of the ranges offered by leading retailers Zara and H&M, which signed the Fashion Pact during the G7 Summit in Biarritz.

Zara’s Join Life collection represents 14% of its range, whereas C&A’s #Wearthechange represents nearly 30% of its total collection. The Conscious collection at H&M, which tops the Fashion Transparency Index, created by Fashion Revolution, accounts for less than 10% of its total range.

Composition of products in eco-friendly collections
C&A, H&M and Inditex (Zara) are among the top four users of organic cotton. All the brands analyzed in the Retviews survey present their cotton as sustainable and consider it a priority for 2020 and beyond.
There is little difference between the fabrics most commonly used in the mass and premium markets. The same is true for eco-friendly compared to standard collections. Cotton, synthetic fabrics such as polyester, elastane and also viscose are the most widely offered and used fabrics.
 
Are sustainable fabrics more expensive?
The assumption that sustainable and/or organic garments are more expensive is a misconception, according to the results of the survey. H&M’s exclusive sustainable collection, Conscious, is a good example. The average price of a dress in the standard collection is €39.90, whereas in the Join Life collection it is €31.70.    

“The opportunities offered by sustainability are significant. It’s an issue attracting much greater interest from Generation Z, and retailers have listened to and taken on board these concerns. 90% of consumers say they are aware of the situation and are prepared to change their behavior to combat climate change*. This shows their real inclination to invest in eco-responsible products. In view of this change, brands have a social responsibility to inform their customers, to be transparent about their progress in this area, and to share some of the challenges they face, in order to educate their communities. There are currently no international regulations for apparel defining what can be described as sustainable. This means that there is still a long way to go before the standardization of sustainable fashion is achieved.” explains Quentin Richelle, Chief Marketing Officer, Retviews.

More information:
Sustainability) Fast Fashion
Source:

Lectra

Foto: Pixabay
07.04.2020

Natural textile sector responds to Corona with creativity and cooperation

While you can read everywhere that the fashion industry is on the verge of collapse and is demanding funding from the government, many textile and leather companies with an ethical background are actively and jointly working on creative solutions so to avoid closing.
It is now becoming clear that smaller sustainability pioneers have some advantages over the retail giants and big brands. Flexibility, a strong connection between suppliers and customers and credibility are now paying off.

While you can read everywhere that the fashion industry is on the verge of collapse and is demanding funding from the government, many textile and leather companies with an ethical background are actively and jointly working on creative solutions so to avoid closing.
It is now becoming clear that smaller sustainability pioneers have some advantages over the retail giants and big brands. Flexibility, a strong connection between suppliers and customers and credibility are now paying off.

Mobility is trump card
The precarious economic situation in the stationary retail sector forces companies to take new and creative paths. Close and emphatic customer loyalty and the flexibility of smaller shopkeepers pave the way. And the ideas and measures are manifold. Some redirect their goods to online trading, offer a delivery service.  Life videos from the shops, which present and explain the goods, or participation campaigns for consumers are further examples. Manufacturers and brands are also rethinking. For example, some companies are producing face masks to cushion the decline in sales somewhat, while others are shifting the short-term production focus to basic products that are easy to market online.
 
Supply chain safety
The leather and textile industry are currently not only facing the problem of falling sales. The fragile global markets, which supply raw materials and services for large corporations, are currently becoming a threat. If the economies in China and Bangladesh come to a standstill, the German fashion market will no longer be able to obtain sufficient goods in the short term. Companies that produce in Germany or in other economically stable countries are now at an advantage.  Some of the companies that purchase raw materials from abroad are already ordering them for the next production cycle, on the one hand to give the supplier a certain amount of security, and on the other hand to be prepared for the post Corona era.

Community spirit
An ethical business practice does not only mean acting in an environmentally and socially responsible manner with regard to supply chains. Credibility, trust and empathy are just as important now if the fashion industry does not want to lose itself in price dumping and fierce competition. The press talks about billion-dollar cancellations, corona bargains and bankruptcies. Many IVN members show that there is another way. Suppliers tell us that they are holding back orders until the end of April in order to give the trade some financial leeway. Retailers usually at least consult with their suppliers if they are unable to call up a complete order. Retailers with online shops spontaneously take in goods from friendly brands, even if the products do not fit into the company's own portfolio. Brands advertise their customers' sales channels in social media, orders are bundled. People talk to each other - the customer with the supplier, but also competitors with competitors.

Slow fashion
Conventional fashion is subject to extremely fast cycles - "fast fashion" is the keyword. To a lesser extent, the fashion industry at least follows the seasonal seasons. Currently, the spring collection is hanging in the shops and cannot be sold in June. This is no different for sustainable fashion. However, the fashion trends are less pronounced, so that the current merchandise can still be worn next spring. The sustainable consumer attaches somewhat less importance to the fashion aspect and green fashion is fashionable but also tends to be more timeless than conventional fashion.

The mood
Naturally, companies from the natural fashion scene are now also forced to reduce their operating costs if they want to survive. This means short-time work, and if the situation continues for a longer period of time, this will certainly include layoffs. And of course, all niche market players are also deeply concerned. But whoever we have spoken to so far, we hear stories of opportunity, gratitude and activity.
Some see an opportunity in involuntary pauses - for example, this forced pause is certainly beneficial to climate protection. There is a very real chance also, that the fashion cycle can now be shifted back a month and thus be brought back into line with the real situation.

Many IVN members are grateful, for example, that they are based in Germany. The health care system is at least still stable at present and the black zero enables our government to set up a rescue fund. Many are also grateful for the solidarity and trust that is shown to them. From the end consumer to the business partner to the landlord, who would rather reduce or suspend a rent claim than lose a long-term tenant.
The mood is battered, but not yet in the basement. It is to be hoped that everyone will soon be able to resume their economic activities in the normal framework and that the privileges and advantages enjoyed by the sustainable fashion industry will be sufficient to ensure that everyone comes through this crisis as unscathed as possible.

 

Source:

Internationaler Verband der Naturtextilwirtschaft e.V.

GOTTFRIED SCHMIDT OHG (c) Weitblick, Gottfried Schmidt OHG
18.02.2020

WE HAVE OUR PRINCIPLES ... WEITBLICK | GOTTFRIED SCHMIDT OHG

WORKWEAR AS A SUSTAINABLE TEXTILE LOOP!

WEITBLICK | Gottfried Schmidt OHG with about 130 members of staff in Bavaria and more than 1,000 employees in European production plants is one of the leading German textile companies in the workwear and corporate fashion segments. Originally founded 1931 in Frankfurt / Main, the traditional family-owned company, now in its fourth generation, achieves a medium sized eight figure turnover.

Quick decision-making processes, a familiar atmosphere, production exclusively in Europe, customer-specific innovations and comprehensive sustainability concepts - what does the workwear professional do differently than others?

Sales Director Philipp Hartmann (Sales Support and Customer Service) and Janine Gonglach, Head of Marketing, together with Managing Director Felix Blumenauer, responsible for Marketing, Sales, Logistics and Controlling faced the questions of Textination.

WORKWEAR AS A SUSTAINABLE TEXTILE LOOP!

WEITBLICK | Gottfried Schmidt OHG with about 130 members of staff in Bavaria and more than 1,000 employees in European production plants is one of the leading German textile companies in the workwear and corporate fashion segments. Originally founded 1931 in Frankfurt / Main, the traditional family-owned company, now in its fourth generation, achieves a medium sized eight figure turnover.

Quick decision-making processes, a familiar atmosphere, production exclusively in Europe, customer-specific innovations and comprehensive sustainability concepts - what does the workwear professional do differently than others?

Sales Director Philipp Hartmann (Sales Support and Customer Service) and Janine Gonglach, Head of Marketing, together with Managing Director Felix Blumenauer, responsible for Marketing, Sales, Logistics and Controlling faced the questions of Textination.

Gottfried Schmidt OHG, a family company that will celebrate its 90th birthday next year, is considered as a professional when it comes to premium workwear. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the company: What makes you unique?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director
We are a long-established family company that has reinvented itself again and again over the course of history. In the field of workwear, we stand for the highest quality across a wide range of industry segments and attach great importance to sustainability - this is also shown by our long-standing partners who produce our clothing in Europe. With our state-of-the-art logistics center, we prove that digitization and Industry 4.0 are not just buzzwords for us.   

In which markets and by which partners do you feel particularly challenged? And with which product innovations in the workwear sector do you think you can move the most?
Philipp Hartmann – Sales Director
Markets are changing faster and faster and that is a challenge per se. We want to continue to be reliable today and, in the future, that also means continuity for our partners. But how do we deal with ever new requirements from ever faster moving markets?
Focusing on the customer, we cannot remain in rigid structures. We at WEITBLICK achieve this through our corporate culture and our guidelines: courage, strength and confidence.
This culture holds our team together and this enables us to adapt structures more quickly. Due to our personal contact to our partners and our experience as a fourth-generation family business, we enjoy great trust in all markets and this assists us to make quick adjustments and changes without questioning our DNA.
The basis of our products is the quality of the materials used, the processing by a very well-trained staff in our own European production sites and, first and foremost, a team of experts who controls everything in-house from the fiber and the design idea to production and logistics and bring it all together under one roof. So, if you ask me whether all products will be flashing in the near future, the answer is: no. Our strength is the implementation of our customers' wishes and above all we put the brand, the CI of our customers, in the foreground on the product. Because a satisfied employee in the right workwear is the best business card for a company. So, if it should flash in the clothing in the near future, this is not a problem, but we realize ourselves much more concerned with our customer requirements around the products. Based on quality and sustainability we have been driving very well for a long time.

However, services, speed in logistics, controlling, order configurators and budget management as well as interface management are the actual innovations with which we convince our customers and partners today. For some time now, we have been relying on a team of employees who implements precisely these customer requirements across departments. For example, in addition to our own CI Workwear collection, a customer can also receive a protected customer shop from us, where employees can configure the coordinated collection and order according to a defined budget. The customer's purchasing and controlling departments have live insight into costs and inventories. The dispatch including personalization is RFID-controlled in Germany, picked on the carrier and sent all over the world. Does that sound innovative?

Tailor-made or solution for the major customer? The topic of individualization down to batch size 1 is gaining in importance today. How do you manage the balancing act between major customers and individual production - what does this mean for the processes of Gottfried Schmidt OHG? 
Philipp Hartmann – Sales Director
Why not the tailor-made solution for major and small customers? Until a few years ago, and even today in some cases, a customer’s logo in the colors red, green, blue and white was of course displayed by fabrics of the same color combined in a four-colored scheme. This is more or less a thing of the past. Nowadays, requests for different colors are additionally solved by the possibility of combining many articles. In doing so, we fall back on thousands of active articles of our own developments and a large selection of ingredients, fabrics and finishing options. CI collections can be produced very quickly in small quantities in our state-of-the-art production facilities. In one of our six European production plants, for example, we only manufacture made-to-measure orders from piece 1. This happens within very lean processes and just takes a few weeks.

At the same time, we have large capacities for the storage of our raw materials and a warehouse for prefabricated parts, which enables us to place them into stock for the customer. Companies are aware of the great importance of workwear and the partly missing transparency in processes or costs. Therefore, it is desirable to be able to order small quantities. We have access to dozens of wearer profiles and millions of wearers from almost all sectors and are able to combine this experience with today's requirements. I don't prefer the word "standard", but the fact is that we already offer our customers a wide range of articles and colors to choose from, as we are constantly releasing new collections for various industries. The processes, scrutinized with the possibilities of new tools and systems, are consistently adapted - the other way around. This enables us to work very automatically from small to large orders and thus process orders via our customer online shops or via interfaces with our customers' order portals. Order picking and logistics from piece 1 with the shipping method of your choice are no problem for us, because we have been operating the most modern logistics center in the industry since 2018.

With WEITBLICK you have chosen the look-and-feel of a German-language brand. What prompted you to take this step and what are the consequences for your international sales?
Janine Gonglach – Head of Marketing
The decision was made for WEITBLICK (Engl.: vision, foresightedness) because we always possessed it as a company. Not only the founder Gottfried Schmidt himself had shown vision or foresightedness. Each generation that followed also had and still has visions, that developed the company to what it is today. A company with thought leaders, doers, inventors, critics and perfectionists.
Also, in the future, we will meet the challenge of developing our products and our actions with foresightedness - for the continued existence of the company and for the benefit of our customers.

Philipp Hartmann – Sales Director
We serve a wide range of customers, from craft businesses to large global corporations. So, we have already been internationally active in previous generations. And the name has never been a limitation. Our employees in sales and customer service are trained accordingly, our documents and systems are multilingually available and maintained.

In which socially relevant subject areas do you see a particularly great need for innovation and action during the next 5 years? What is your assessment that your company will be able to offer solutions for this with its products?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director

We see a further growing importance of the topic of “sharing”. With our strong partners in professional service, we have been living this idea for many decades and see increasing importance in society. Clothing remains available in a cycle of the highest quality for many years - for us this is the sustainable counter trend to "fast fashion". In this context we offer digital solutions that satisfy our customers and our wearers and convince them, that WEITBLICK is the right choice.

We will act on these fields and consciously set the right accents – that’s how we understand corporate responsibility towards our employees and our customers.

For decades, the textile and clothing industry has been growing steadily worldwide. In terms of sustainability, to put it mildly, there is a rather mixed feedback for our industry. What is the Gottfried Schmidt OHG focusing on in order to meet its social responsibility?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director
We have long anchored sustainability in our company as one of the most important priorities in our strategy. This becomes apparent e.g. by the use of Fair-Trade cotton, which we bring to the market in large quantities together with other companies and suppliers in the industry. We think sustainability comprehensively. Each area of our company contributes to the fulfillment of corporate responsibility - towards our customers and our own employees.

There are various definitions for sustainability. Customers expect everything under this term - from climate protection to ecology, from local on-site production to the exclusion of child labor etc. What do you do to bring this term to life for your company and what seals or certifications do you rely on?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director
We have the highest standards in the entire supply chain, which we implement together with our partners and monitor closely. This includes fair production conditions in Europe with comparatively short distances, which are guaranteed by the internationally recognized SA 8000 seal. The avoidance of unnecessary packaging material, climate-neutral shipping and the reduction of plastic are also a matter of course for us. For example, we are currently working on using recycled polyester in the future. We are looking forward to the Green Button and want to qualify for this state seal of quality.

At WEITBLICK, you have chosen a consciously young form of communication. Whether Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest or relevant business platforms - social media clearly take a central position in your media mix. This is not necessarily standard in the textile rental service. Why did you choose this form of addressing?
Janine Gonglach – Head of Marketing
For us, WEITBLICK - far-sightedness - also means “venturing something new”!
From my point of view, in the digital age, the question for companies is no longer whether social networks should be used or not, but only how and to what extent. With more than 3 billion people who are now represented in social media networks worldwide, we no longer speak of zeitgeist, but of a must-have in the marketing mix. Our communication follows the guiding principle: "We do not conduct a monologue, but an open dialogue at eye level." Social media achieve exactly that! 

Breaking new ground means willingness to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly happy to have made?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director
The transformation of our company. With courage, strength and confidence, we managed to reposition our company almost completely within a very short period of time. This includes the modern umbrella brand WEITBLICK, which for us is also an obligation to our actions. But also, the growth that we have achieved in the past four years with around 40 new employees. We have built a new logistics center - with highly modern processes that are largely automated, e.g. with intelligent RFID technology. In doing so, we are trying to take all employees with us on this journey, which is not always easy but the right track. The positive thing about it is that our long-standing as well as our new employees work for us on their own responsibility and with enthusiasm.

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Fotos: (c) ITMA
25.06.2019

A MORE INTERNATIONAL ITMA 2019 SETS NEW RECORD WITH BIGGEST NUMBER OF EXHIBITORS

Since its launch in 1951, ITMA has enjoyed wide industry recognition as the world’s largest textile and garment technology exhibition. This year’s exhibition in Barcelona sees its reputation solidify further with the largest gathering of exhibitors in its history. The record number of exhibitors totaling 1,717 from 45 countries has set a new milestone.

Speaking at the press conference on the opening day of the 18th edition of the exhibition, Mr Fritz P. Mayer, President of the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX), said: “The global economy is still facing challenges, accentuated by trade tensions and disruption. However, textile being the world’s oldest manufacturing industry has demonstrated its resilience over the years. 

Since its launch in 1951, ITMA has enjoyed wide industry recognition as the world’s largest textile and garment technology exhibition. This year’s exhibition in Barcelona sees its reputation solidify further with the largest gathering of exhibitors in its history. The record number of exhibitors totaling 1,717 from 45 countries has set a new milestone.

Speaking at the press conference on the opening day of the 18th edition of the exhibition, Mr Fritz P. Mayer, President of the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX), said: “The global economy is still facing challenges, accentuated by trade tensions and disruption. However, textile being the world’s oldest manufacturing industry has demonstrated its resilience over the years. 

“This is also the spirit of our exhibitors who continually innovate and launch new technologies and solutions. We are glad that ITMA has been providing a reputable platform for textile machinery manufacturers to market their innovations. This has enabled us to record the largest number of exhibitors in ITMA’s history.”

The exhibits are showcased over 114,500 square metres of net exhibit space, a 9 per cent increase over the previous edition in 2015. The exhibition occupies all nine halls of the Gran Via venue, including the space under the linkway. To allow more companies to participate, many exhibitors were allocated lesser stand space than what they had originally applied for.  

Mr Charles Beauduin, Chairman of ITMA Services, organiser of ITMA 2019 enthused: “The exhibition would have been larger if we had not turned away applicants due to a lack of space. Unfortunately, we could not accommodate a wait-list of about 250 applicants who booked some 8,200 square metres.”

He added: “ITMA has also evolved into a more international exhibition with a rich diversity of technology offerings from both East and West. Almost half of the total number of exhibitors are from non CEMATEX countries. This augurs well for the development of ITMA into a definitive textile and garment platform for the industry.”

International participation
Of the total number of exhibitors, over half are from CEMATEX countries; the balance comprising companies from other parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. Reflecting the international composition of the participants, the largest number of exhibitors are from Italy (364 exhibitors), China (276 exhibitors), Germany (222 exhibitors), India (169 exhibitors) and Turkey (164 exhibitors).

CEMATEX countries continue to occupy the largest exhibit space, taking up 65% of the total net exhibit space. Italy booked 26% of the space, followed by Germany which booked 18%. The top non-CEMATEX countries are: Turkey with 9%, China with 8%, and India with 5% of the space booked.

Product sectors
Visitors can expect to source a wide range of integrated solutions across the entire value chain in 19 exhibit sectors. Printing, which has seen many advances being made in the last few years, is an exciting growth sector. Chalking up a 38 per cent increase in the number of exhibitors compared with the previous exhibition, it is one of the top five sectors at ITMA 2019:

  • Finishing - 325 exhibitors
  • Spinning - 281 exhibitors
  • Weaving - 182 exhibitors
  • Printing - 157 exhibitors
  • Knitting - 136 exhibitors

Nonwoven and technical textiles due to their wide range of applications continue to be an important sector at ITMA 2019. Garment making, which has been impacted by digitalisation and fast fashion, is also making a bigger impact at ITMA.

Mr Mayer said, “We are extremely pleased to bring garment technology back in focus at ITMA. While ITMA has been traditionally strong in textile making technologies, we are glad that we are able to present garment making solutions from some of the world’s most renowned technology providers. There is an increase of 27 per cent in number of exhibitors as compared with ITMA 2015." Completing the entire value chain is the showcase on fibres, yarn and fabrics. The addition of innovative fabrics in the fibre and yarn chapter at ITMA further completes the sourcing experience for buyers.
 
Focus on innovation
The theme of ITMA 2019 is ‘Innovating the World of Textiles’. To support the innovation drive, CEMATEX has introduced the ITMA Innovation Lab. A new umbrella branding of a series of activities, the Lab includes the Research and Innovation Pavilion, ITMA Speakers Platform, ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award and Innovation Video Showcase. Speakers from the industry have been invited to share their perspectives and experiences at the Speakers Platform which will be held from 21 to 25 June. A finance forum was also held on 21 June.

Co-located events and industry engagement
To encourage the exchange of knowledge, collaboration and networking, several events are staged alongside ITMA 2019. The ITMA-EDANA Nonwovens Forum and Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum have met with overwhelming response and seats have been added. Similar strong response has also been received by partner events, including the Better Cotton Initiative Seminar, European Digital Textile Conference, TexSummit Global, Planet Textiles, SAC & ZDHC Manufacturer Forum and Texmeeting by TEXFOR.

“The series of co-located events is part of ITMA’s outreach programme to engage industry partners and to create an inclusive platform for the global textile and garment community. We have over 190 international, regional and local organisations lending their support to our exhibition,” Mr Mayer said. ITMA 2019 is held at Fira de Barcelona Gran Via venue till 26 June. The opening hours are from 10.00am to 6.00pm daily, except 26 June when the exhibition will end at 4.00pm.

About CEMATEX & ITMA
The European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX) comprises national textile machinery associations from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It is the owner of ITMA and ITMA ASIA. Considered the ‘Olympics’ of textile machinery exhibitions, ITMA has a 68-year history of displaying the latest technology for every single work process of textile and garment making. It is held every four years in Europe.

 

More information:
ITMA 2019
Source:

CEMATEX & ITMA Services

(c) FESPA Global Print Expo
07.05.2019

FESPA GLOBAL PRINT EXPO 2019: PRINT MAKE WEAR FAST FASHION-FACTORY

  • The Print Make Wear fast fashion factory feature at FESPA Global Expo 2019 in Munich (14-17 May 2019) will double in size compared with its launch in 2018 in response to positive visitor feedback.

The feature was introduced at the flagship FESPA event in Berlin in 2018 to meet the needs of visitors interested in the opportunities in printed fashion textiles and garments. Taking the form of a live production environment, Print Make Wear addresses every step in the garment production process. This begins with planning, design and prepress, progressing to printing, drying, cutting, sewing, welding and embellishment and finishing with packing and retail display.

  • The Print Make Wear fast fashion factory feature at FESPA Global Expo 2019 in Munich (14-17 May 2019) will double in size compared with its launch in 2018 in response to positive visitor feedback.

The feature was introduced at the flagship FESPA event in Berlin in 2018 to meet the needs of visitors interested in the opportunities in printed fashion textiles and garments. Taking the form of a live production environment, Print Make Wear addresses every step in the garment production process. This begins with planning, design and prepress, progressing to printing, drying, cutting, sewing, welding and embellishment and finishing with packing and retail display.

At FESPA Global Print Expo 2019 the expanded feature will allow more space to showcase an even more comprehensive range of garment printing technology solutions and consumables, as well as incorporating a staged area for presentations and debates and a catwalk for fashion shows. The visitor experience will also be enhanced with two separate guided tours, one with a focus on direct-to-garment production and the other tailored to visitors interested in roll-to-roll production.

The technologies showcased within Print Make Wear 2019 will include direct-to garment digital and screen printing presses with both automatic and manual presses printing on water-based inks, the roll-to-roll digital technologies will include dye-sublimation as well as other textile print technologies, with the support of brands including Adobe, Adelco, EFI, HP, Mimaki, Vastex MagnaColours, Easiway and Premier Textiles.

The garments produced and modelled within Print Make Wear will carry a striking series of exclusive designs on the theme of ‘Elements’, with the tagline Inspired by Nature – Powered by Print, which have been created specifically for FESPA by photographer and illustrator Jasper Goodall. FESPA is also working with young fashion designer Aminah Hamzaoui, who is collaborating on the design of the garments being produced using the roll-to-roll technologies.

FESPA Head of Events, Duncan MacOwan comments: “Year after year, independent market insights and visitor feedback reinforce the rising levels of interest in textile printing, while our own FESPA Census in 2018 indicated that sports apparel and fast fashion are two of the most dynamic growth applications in our community. Visitor response to the first Print Make Wear feature last year was extremely positive, with more than 2,000 visitors taking part in our expert-guided tours.”

He continues: “By increasing the floor space dedicated to this feature in Munich we can accommodate visitors more comfortably, enrich the overall experience and elevate the educational content. We’re confident that, whatever their level of knowledge or investment in garment printing, visitors to Print Make Wear 2019 in Munich will leave with a deeper understanding of the opportunities to optimise production, improve sustainability and boost profitability.”

Print Make Wear is free to attend for registered visitors to FESPA Global Print Expo 2019 and the co-located European Sign Expo. Guided tours can be pre-booked at https://www.fespaglobalprintexpo.com/features/print-make-wear. The feature is part of a programme of free educational content which also includes the new Colour L*A*B* colour management showcase and conference, Printeriors and a comprehensive schedule of live seminars in the Trend Theatre.

For more information about Print Make Wear, visit www.fespaglobalprintexpo.com/features/print-make-wear. To pre-register to attend FESPA Global Print Expo 2019 visit https://www.fespaglobalprintexpo.com/ and use code FESM906 for free entry.

 

 

Messe Frankfurt intensifies its textile-related involvement in Africa © Pixabay
31.10.2017

MESSE FRANKFURT INTENSIFIES ITS TEXTILE-RELATED INVOLVEMENT IN AFRICA

  • Morocco, Ethiopia and South Africa: Network comprises the most important textile regions in Africa
  • Emerging continent: positive forecasts in the textile sector

First Ethiopia, then South Africa and shortly Morocco: Messe Frankfurt is expanding its portfolio of textile trade fairs on the African continent. With its forthcoming cooperation with the two trade fairs Maroc in Mode and Maroc Sourcing, the global market leader for textile trade fairs is expanding its presence in North West Africa. ‘In future, our network will extend across important textile regions in Africa and encompass the leading trade fairs on the emerging continent’, explains Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt. ‘With our commitment to Ethiopia, South Africa and, in future, Morocco, we have created excellent conditions to support the positive developments in Africa's textile industry’.

  • Morocco, Ethiopia and South Africa: Network comprises the most important textile regions in Africa
  • Emerging continent: positive forecasts in the textile sector

First Ethiopia, then South Africa and shortly Morocco: Messe Frankfurt is expanding its portfolio of textile trade fairs on the African continent. With its forthcoming cooperation with the two trade fairs Maroc in Mode and Maroc Sourcing, the global market leader for textile trade fairs is expanding its presence in North West Africa. ‘In future, our network will extend across important textile regions in Africa and encompass the leading trade fairs on the emerging continent’, explains Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt. ‘With our commitment to Ethiopia, South Africa and, in future, Morocco, we have created excellent conditions to support the positive developments in Africa's textile industry’. Demographic change, increasing urbanisation and shifts in economic forces - these global developments are promoting the growth of the African economy and having a significant impact on the textile industry.

According to the UN Economic Report on Africa 2017, Africa has the fastest growing population. The current population of around 1.2 billion people will more than double by 2050. The number of working people on the African continent is also increasing rapidly. The largest working population (1.1 billion) in the world is predicted to be in Africa by 2034. These demographic changes are causing personal and business consumption to increase sharply, and this will primarily benefit regional economic markets. 

Morocco: Maroc in Mode & Maroc Sourcing

Morocco in particular offers great potential for the clothing trade: Morocco's proximity to important fashion markets such as the EU and the USA, various free trade agreements and a recent economic growth rate of four per cent (between 2010 and 2015, Nachrichten für den Außenhandel, NfA, 19 January 2017) create a secure business climate. The Maroc in Fashion and Maroc Sourcing trade fairs, which have been in existence since 2014, currently showcase around 120 exhibitors from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, China and a number of Western European countries. The extensive product portfolio inspires with its strong expertise in fashion. The trade fairs are regarded as a hotspot for fast fashion and not only present fashion, denim, lingerie and knitwear, but also sports and casualwear, workwear and accessories. Messe Frankfurt will agree on a cooperation with AMITH (Association Marocaine des Industries du Textile et de l’Habillement), the organiser of the event, for the next edition. The trade fair will take place on 26-27 October 2017 at the Exhibition Park Hassan Circuit in Marrakesh. 

South Africa: Source Africa & ATF Expo

South Africa is the continent's strongest economic power and one of the largest consumer markets. The country has the most powerful retail sector and is the best networked of all African countries. This international networking and its regional free trade agreements make South Africa an important hub for trade with other African countries as well as neighbouring Pacific countries such as the Arabian Peninsula and India.

With the recently approved takeover of the Source Africa and ATF fairs, Messe Frankfurt is driving the exchange between international and regional buyers, manufacturers and suppliers in this region. Source Africa was founded in 2014 as a trade fair for African producers of fabrics, accessories, clothing, shoes and leather items. It appeals not only to African trade buyers but also to international manufacturers of clothing and fashion. The fifth edition of the fair will take place on 20-21 June 2018 at the International Convention Center (CTICC) in Cape Town. ATF Expo will open its doors at the same venue from  21 to 23 November 2017. Ever since 1998, this trade fair has offered an internationally-oriented product range of fabrics, clothing, shoes, leather goods and accessories as well as services for a predominantly local and regional purchasing community.

Ethiopia: successful start for Texworld, Apparel Sourcing and Texprocess

In eastern Africa, Ethiopia has developed into an attractive contract manufacturing country for clothing and leather goods thanks to the government's strategy of focusing on light industry. Ethiopia also benefits from free trade agreements such as AGOA that are aimed at promoting the African economy. With the Africa Sourcing and Fashion Week (ASFW), Messe Frankfurt has had a strong partner at its side ever since the latest edition in October 2017. Offshoots of the three trade fair brands Texworld, Apparel Sourcing and Texprocess were integrated into the Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week for the first time. It is a sourcing platform for mainly European and US fashion companies. The seventh edition brought together around 200 international exhibitors from 25 countries in Addis Ababa's Millennium Hall. Clothing fabrics, contract manufacturing, fashion and accessories were exhibited as well as machinery for contract manufacturing, CAD/CAM systems, printers, printing inks and accessories. In addition, the trade fair also impressed visitors with a fashion show, a series of lectures, a trend section and a matchmaking platform.

Messe Frankfurt: A strong presence in global textile markets

With a portfolio of over 50 international textile trade fairs, Messe Frankfurt is the global market leader in trade fairs for the textile industry. In 2016, around 19,500 exhibitors and approx. 477,000 visitors came to the events in Europe, North America and Asia. With the name Texpertise Network, the textile event offer of Messe Frankfurt covers the entire value creation chain – from apparel fabrics and fashion to home and contract textiles, technical textiles and the processing and care of textiles. The trade fairs include the successful brands Texworld, Apparel Sourcing, Ethical Fashion Show, Greenshowroom, Intertextile, Yarn Expo, Leatherworld, Emitex, Avantex, Avanprint, Heimtextil, Intertextile Home Textiles, Interior Lifestyle, Home Textiles Sourcing, Techtextil, Texprocess, Simatex, Confemaq and Texcare.

Maroc in Mode & Maroc Sourcing: www.marocsourcing.ma
Source Africa & AFT: www.sourceafrica.co.za / www.atfexpo.co.za
Africa Sourcing & Fashion Week: www.asfw-online.com

CZECH TEXTILE INDUSTRY CONTINUES ITS UPSWING © tokamuwi / pixelio.de
22.08.2017

CZECH TEXTILE INDUSTRY CONTINUES ITS UPSWING

  • Sales are increasing since four years
  • Developing of up new markets abroad

Prague (GTAI) - Czech textile and clothing manufacturers are among the winners of the good economic situation. The trend towards domestic products and the rising purchasing power are inspiring the companies. At the same time they benefit from a growing demand from abroad. According to the association ATOK the turnover of the sector rose to Kc 53,5 billion (just under EUR 2 billion) in 2016. It was the fourth year of growth in a row.

  • Sales are increasing since four years
  • Developing of up new markets abroad

Prague (GTAI) - Czech textile and clothing manufacturers are among the winners of the good economic situation. The trend towards domestic products and the rising purchasing power are inspiring the companies. At the same time they benefit from a growing demand from abroad. According to the association ATOK the turnover of the sector rose to Kc 53,5 billion (just under EUR 2 billion) in 2016. It was the fourth year of growth in a row.

An important growth driver of the Czech textile industry is the automotive sector. The largest sales are achieved with technical textiles, and these are mostly used in the over 1.3 million passenger cars, which are rolling in the Czech Republic off the assembly lines every year. The German automotive supplier Borgers is therefore the second largest textile manufacturer in the country. The company produces textile trims for trunks, passenger compartments or underfloor at four locations in the Plzen region. About 200,000 parts leave the factory every day for VW, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Bentley and Rolls Royce. The largest textile company in 2016 was the company Juta with productions of geotextiles, insulation materials and packaging material.

The positive dynamism of textile manufacturers is continuing in 2017. According to statistics from January to May the production index rose by 3% and the value of new orders even rose by 5%. On the other hand the garment manufacturers have to announce sales reductions following the strong year before. Future growth could be curbed by rising wages, the appreciation of the national currency and a lack of staff.

Sales development of the Czech textile and clothing industry
Year Sales in Mrd. Kc .thereof textiles in Kc bn. .thereof Clothing in Kc bn. Change total sales in comparison to  previous year  in %
2013 47.1 40.7 6.4 2.6
2014 51.0 44.6 6.4 8.3
2015 52.4 45.4 7.0 2.7
2016 53.5 46.2 7.3 2.1

Sources: Association of the Textile, Garment and Leather Industry (ATOK), Calculations by Germany Trade & Invest

Even more dynamically than the sector's profits the foreign trade has developed in 2016. Since the Czech Republic is being used as a transit and logistics location by international trading companies, the volume of exports is significantly higher than the total turnover of the domestic manufacturers. According to the ATOK association, in 2016 textiles were exported for Kc 63.8 billion (EUR 2.36 billion) and clothing for Kc 47.2 billion (EUR 1.74 billion). This was an increase of 5% for textiles and 31% for clothing. Import of textiles rose by 6% to Ks 59.3 billion (EUR 2.19 billion), import of garment rose by 20% to Kc 67.9 billion (EUR 2.51 billion).

This has somewhat reduced the trade deficit in clothing. In the major fashion chains however foreign goods still dominate. Czech vendors have little chance of coming to the shelves and taking part in the fast fashion cycles and fast fashion changes. The association ATOK estimates that they have a market share of a maximum of 20% in clothing retailing. As a result, domestic manufacturers are increasingly focusing on direct selling, either via internet shops or through their own sales outlets. They also strengthen the building of their own brands, after having carried out commission work for international fashion groups for many years. Customized products are in the trend also. Some companies that have hitherto mainly served the home market are now looking increasingly at foreign markets. The swimwear and underwear producer Timo from Litomerice, for example, wants to supply to Germany also in the future, reported by the economic newspaper Hospodarske noviny.

Textile companies invest more and more abroad
The East Bohemian specialist for bathroom textiles, Grund, already has a sales company in Lower Saxony. The carpet manufacturer is now planning to build a factory in the south of the USA and intends to invest more than USD 1 million. Silon from South Bohemia, which is one of the largest manufacturers of polyester fibers in Europe, is building a manufacturing plant for plastic compounding in the USA in order to reduce the delivery time for raw materials and to be closer to the customer. There are interesting developments in the research area. The institute VUTS from Liberec, has developed, together with Taiwanese scientists, a pneumatic loom that can produce 3D fabrics made of high-strength polyester silk. The material can be used for boat building or flood protection. The machine should be presented for the first time at a trade fair in 2019. Until then the textile manufacturer Veba from Broumov wants to have developed a new 3D fabric. It is intended to reinforce matrices.

After the extra economy in 2015 due to the last-time levy of EU funds from the old funding period, investments in the textile industry had shrunk in 2016. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs the manufacturers invested some Kc 2.78 billion (around EUR 100 million), a sixth less than in the previous year. On the other hand, investments in the garment sector were up by a quarter to over Kc 850 million (around EUR 31 million). The development was also reflected in the import figures for textile machines. At the beginning of the year 2017 imports rose again in some product groups, thus opening up sales opportunities for finishing manufacturers. German suppliers account for roughly half of the machinery supply for the textile industry.

In April 2017 the Moravian nonwoven fabric manufacturer Retex had issued a tender for a production plant for over EUR 7 million. In Zatec near Usti nad Labem Unifrax wants to build a production plant for silicate fabrics. Juta is currently investing around EUR 13 million in the production of grids and plans to get the plant expansion at Dvur Kralove into operation in autumn 2017. The Japanese Toray Textiles is expanding its factory for airbag fabrics and printing plates in Prostejov over the next four years. The North Moravian supplier of outdoor clothing, Tilak, is also expanding its production facilities in Sumperk.

Import of selected textile machines to the Czech Republic (EUR 1,000)
Maschinengruppe / HS-Position 2015 2016 January to May 2017 Change*)
Jet-spinning machines / 8444 15,369 5,502 842 -81.2
.thereof from Germany 9,829 4,509 20 -99.5
Spinning machines / 8445 8,838 15,858 1,922 -51.1
.thereof from Germany 5,017 6,743 164 -91.1
Weaving looms/ 8446 12,860 4,277 1,882 -17.5
.thereof from Germany 2,247 687 36 n.a.
Knitting machines / 8447 11,965 6,737 2,672 14.7
.thereof from Germany 6,092 1,979 1,632 54.5
Auxiliary machines / 8448 73,358 88,360 42,830 27.9
.thereof from Germany 52,601 54,897 26,823 16.2
Nonwoven and felt machines 19,628 2,676 846 -45.8
.thereof from Germany 6,741 1,313 245 -79.0
Cleaning, dying and pressing machines / 8451 108,080 105,410 44,762 26.1
.thereof from Germany 50,325 47,580 17,714 1.7
Sewing machines / 8452 17,895 20,056 8,172 10.1
.thereof from Germany 6,340 6,353 2,081 -12.2
Machines for fur, leather processing or shoe production / 8453 4,386 2,626 1,056 12.9
.thereof from Germany 347 198 68 25.9
Total 272.379 251,501 104,984 14.2
.thereof from Germany 139.540 124.260 48,783 -4.0

Source: Czech Statistical Office

 

Central America imports more textile machinery © Oliver Brunner/pixelio.de
07.03.2017

CENTRAL AMERICA IMPORTS MORE TEXTILE MACHINERY

  • Large-scale projects in Honduras
  • More vertical integration strived

Following the US President's decree against the Pacific Pact TPP, Central America's textile and clothing industry counts for its main market on further tariff advantages compared to the Asian competition. Next to the so far dominating subcontracting work the sector wants to intensify the production of pre-products, what requires more and better textile machinery for this purpose. Guatemala is already investing, while Nicaragua will continue to stay mainly with sewing and tailoring. The largest technology market was lately El Salvador.

  • Large-scale projects in Honduras
  • More vertical integration strived

Following the US President's decree against the Pacific Pact TPP, Central America's textile and clothing industry counts for its main market on further tariff advantages compared to the Asian competition. Next to the so far dominating subcontracting work the sector wants to intensify the production of pre-products, what requires more and better textile machinery for this purpose. Guatemala is already investing, while Nicaragua will continue to stay mainly with sewing and tailoring. The largest technology market was lately El Salvador.

Honduras wants to expand its textile and clothing industry strongly. The aim of the "20/20" program is to significantly increase exports and with it new jobs. One focus should be the production of sportswear and other synthetic clothing, including pre-products. Central America's "largest factory for polyester yarn" (DTY) went into construction at the end of January 2017 in Choloma. It is expected to cost USD 73 million and produce 25,000 tons per year. According to Mario Canahuati, a Honduran shareholder of the investor United Textiles of America, an additional USD 120 million factory for synthetic materials and garments should be added later.

Observers believe the sector's expansion plans are realistic because it can stem the relatively large investment in the synthetic fiber production. In the Honduran textile industry there are many joint ventures with US partners which can raise capital in North America. In the other countries of the region the sector companies are more strongly medium-sized. They are depending more on the local capital market with its high interest rates and restrictive banks.

Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador invest

According to a machine representative the textile manufacturers in Guatemala will invest more in dyeing machines in order to become more independent from suppliers and keep the quality better under control. According to Invest in Guatemala the sector there delivers higher quality end products than the competition from El Salvador and Honduras, on the US market clothing from Guatemalan is almost twice as expensive.

The textile industry in Guatemala and El Salvador is more vertically integrated than in Honduras: it produces relatively quite a lot of yarn and fabrics by itself and is less dependent of the typical subcontracting (Maquila) method, which only imports textiles and re-exports them as finished clothing. Honduras mainly processes imported synthetic fiber yarns, which the country - like El Salvador - manufactures partly by itself.

The best market in Central America for a large German textile machine manufacturer is currently El Salvador, which imports the most technology in the region. The customers are quite innovative and work more concept orientated, which makes the cooperation easier. Due to increased yarn prices, some weaving companies are currently investing in spinning machines, a machinery salesman says. According to the Central America Strategic Sourcing Review, more than 20% of the factories are "vertically integrated".

In the opinion of machine representatives, Nicaragua is still concentrating on subcontracting. Investors are reluctant to spend larger sums which would be needed for modern textile  manufacturing. In addition there is a lack of good specialists for the foreseeable future, the level of training is only sufficient for easier sewing and clothing manufacturing. In Panama the textile industry does not play a nameable role; in Costa Rica, which is also relatively prosperous, the sector is larger, but exports little.

Central America’s textile and clothing industry

Indicator Guatemala Honduras El Salvador Nicaragua
Number of manufacturers 215 125
(2015)
n.a. n.a.
Employees (direct) 90,000 (2013) 99,100
(2015)
75,000
(estimation)
70,000
(estimation, 2014)
Clothing exports to the USA
(2016, bn. US$) *)
1,380 2,554 1,941 1,472
Production of synthetic fibres
(2016, 1,000 t)
0 26,5 17,2 0
Installed capacity (2015, 1,000 Units)
Spindles 153 n.a. 250 40
OE-Rotors 21 n.a. 1.4 n.a.
Weaving looms 3.9 n.a. 3.2 0.65

*) Costa Rica 29 Mio.; Clothing = almost total industry exports; 80% of exports are for the US; data from US import authority. Source: ITMF; national associations and authorities; Press

Central America Textile companies are usually located in a free zone and produce for export, mainly the US. In Honduras, according to a study by the Central Bank, Maquila - with textile / clothing as the largest segment - produced 36% of pre-products for other contractors and 64% of final products, which in turn were exported up to 99%.

US protectionism could even help

The protectionism, which is announced in the main market USA, develops some optimism to Central America's textile industry. As listed in “Honduras 20/20” it now can deliver more cheaply to the US than the competition from China or Vietnam because of existing trade agreements. At an - now not targeted anymore - omission of cutting US customs duties for Vietnam, it would be much more expensive. In addition, a garment factory in Honduras is able to deliver to the US in two days, a delivery from Vietnam requires twenty days. In the today so very fast fashion world, this is the main reason why Wal-Mart & Co. are ordering massive masses in Central America.

Until now, Central America has been supplying mainly cheap clothing for the US mass market, but, as a German machinery exporter is hoping, they will try to settle themselves against the Asian competition with higher valuable goods. For this the Central American manufacturers would need better technology, which preferable comes from Europe. In the view of other representatives Central America will need in future productive machines that are cheap at the same time. Chinese machines with European components are a big competition.

Machinery imports rising

Central America Imports of textile machinery and sewing machines have risen by one-third to over USD 130 million between 2013 and 2015. In addition, according to the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), Honduras has imported 170 round knitting machines in 2014 and 2015, Guatemala only 26, El Salvador 23 and Nicaragua ten. Germany was the fifth most important delivery country. Leading supplier was the USA. For Guatemala, with its many Korean-owned textile companies, Korea (Rep) was the main supplier.According to ITMF, Central America will shift its investments somewhat away from the clothing area towards the textile sector. Already today, the representative of a German manufacturer says: "We are currently selling very well in Mexico and Central America." 

Central America‘s1) imports of textile machinery (bn. US$) 2)

SITC Product group /Country / Country of delivery 2013 2014 2015 20163)
  total 97.5 116.0 131.6 70.8
72472) Machines for washing, drying, dying a.o. 25.7 27.9 35.4 9.4
724.35 Other sewing machines 21.0 24.2 29.2 18.8
7245 Weaving looms and knitting machines 21.7 23.7 28.8 20.9
7244 Spinning machines 11.5 21.7 19.8 11.6
7246 Auxiliary machines 14.4 12.8 13.8 8.1
72492) Parts 3.1 5.7 4.6 2.0
  USA 32.5 33.4 27.9 12.7
  Italy 8.8 10.6 20.8 17.5
  China 9.1 12.1 15.4 6.6
  Korea (Rep.) 6.2 9.5 12.1 0.5
  Germany 9.6 4.0 10.9 6.9
  Japan 3.9 7.2 7.7 6.0
  El Salvador 48.5 55.4 70.9 70.8
724.35   12.9 16.4 20.5 18.8
7245   7.0 11.7 16.1 20.9
72472)   11.3 12.0 12.9 9.4
7244   6.5 5.1 11.2 11.6
7246   9.4 8.6 7.9 8.1
  Guatemala 28.9 32.6 44.8 n.a
72472)   5.3 6.2 12.4 n.a.
7245   8.9 8.3 11.2 n.a
7244   3.5 4.9 7.2 n.a
724.35   5.8 5.9 6.8 n.a
7246   4.4 3.7 5.5 n.a
  Costa Rica 13.9 21.3 10.2 n.a
72472)   5.2 5.0 5.7 n.a
7244   1.4 11.4 1.3 n.a
7245   5.1 3.0 1.2 n.a
724.35   1.4 1.2 1.2 n.a
  Panama 6.1 6.8 5.8 n.a
72472)   4.0 4.7 4.3 n.a

1) without Honduras and Nicaragua; 2) SITC 724, without household sewing machines, (724.33), household washing machines, (724.71), machines for dry-cleaning(724.72), leather machines(7248), parts for household washing machines; 3) El Salvador only
Source: UN Comtrade