For everyone involved in the textile manufacturing supply chain, the new year tends to start quite busy as several large textile trade fairs are scheduled during the month of January. Members of the Schneider Group team also made sure to attend the trade fairs and we summarised a small report for you with the key trends and impressions.
Heimtextil – Frankfurt, Germany – 07-10 January 2020
Heimtextil is the largest international fair for home textiles ranging from bedding, curtains, towels to wallpaper. This year marked the 50th edition of the fair. The attendance of exhibitors, as well as visitors, was lower compared to previous years. The organiser Messe Frankfurt explained the lower participation with the earlier date, consolidation of retail outlets and growth of e-commerce as well as a general economic slowdown.
As the years before, the major topic throughout the fair remained sustainability. However, retailers visiting the fair this year seemed to have had a more educated and deeper understanding of sustainability and well understood the difference between greenwashing and certified sustainable supply chains. To mark the commitment to sustainability for the entire home textile industry, Heimtextil partnered with the United Nations to jointly focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Another key focus lay on the topic of sleep. More and more natural materials find their way back into the bedroom as sleep or the lack thereof has been identified as a major health crisis. This focus on sleep is beneficial for wool as more and more research conducted by AWI and The Woolmark Company together with IWTO is providing evidence of how wool ensures a better night’s sleep.
Domotex – Hannover, Germany – 10-13 January 2020
Domotex, the largest floor covering exhibition, also had a decline in participants. Reasons for the lower participation being consolidation in the market as well as economic pressures. The theme of the fair was ‘Naturalness and Sustainability’ as retailers are looking for flooring products that contribute to a sense of wellbeing and staying healthy indoors. This trend is a result of the world becoming more chaotic and complex which makes consumers search peace and calm within their own four walls. While wool carpets obviously meet this mark, also synthetic and hard floor coverings presented their latest product designs and innovations that meet or create a feeling of naturalness and sustainability.
ISPO – Munich, Germany – 26-29 January 2020
The last show of the month was the largest international fair for sport and outdoor gear. Similar to Heimtextil, the ISPO fair celebrated its 50th anniversary focusing only on discussions about the future of the sport and outdoor industry and not on the past. The fair’s three themes were 1. Be Responsible, 2. Be Active and 3. Be Creative. This of course also meant that sustainability was one of the key topics throughout the fair; the logic being that if nature is destroyed there is no playground for sports and outdoor activities anymore and therefore no market for sports and outdoor industry.
Many exhibitors showcased their sustainable product innovations. Many brands presented wood-based (not wool) fibres as their biodegradable and sustainable solution or focused on recycled synthetic fibres. Of course, wool was also well represented as a sustainable fibre choice for many brands. More and more brands even presented not only wool base layers but also wool mid- and outer layer garments. This means a wider range of wool micron fibres finds their way into sports and outdoor apparel.
Wool was a key component of the 2020 product of the year. The Alpina Sports Prolan Vest included back protection made of new wool instead of plastic polymers. The vest is for freeskiers or mountain bikers to protect against serious injuries. The vest and the back protector are both made from wool and therefore ensure more comfort through better body climate and odour neutrality and sustainability.
On Monday afternoon, the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) had organised two hours of presentations and discussions, called ‘Meet the Wool Chain’. A woolgrower, shearer and broker showcased their work and answered audience questions. The session was well attended by fair visitors.
As our report shows, sustainability has been a key topic throughout all of January fairs, not only in 2020 but also during the previous years. However, the discussions about the topic have deepened and became more differentiated. At ISPO for example, we saw many brands emphasize that they have been acting sustainable for many years. This form of differentiation becomes necessary as all brands level up their game on creating more sustainable supply chains and products. A better and more differentiated understanding among brands and retailers of the individual sustainability topics will be beneficial for wool while at the same time will hold us accountable to deliver more detailed information about how and why we do the things we do.