The turnout and excitement at this year's Munich Fabric Start matched pre-pandemic levels. What were the changes that you noticed in terms of buying practices? What were buyers looking for? Were they more circumspect? Were people taking more measured decisions?
Sustainability has become even more important than before. Many exhibitors have told us that the first questions buyers ask them are: Are your business practices are sustainable? Are your plants certified? Are your products recyclable? Those are no longer questions of marketing; they are questions of the market. Moreover, the conflict situation of skyrocketing energy prices, the current geopolitical unpredictability plus ever imminent shortages of some raw materials are necessitating fast and even further transformations towards more efficient technologies and processes. Everyone at every single position of the supply chain knows that they can no longer afford to waste resources. So yes, people are taking more measured, circumspect decisions.
Another main topic is the discussion about prices. Especially, Germany is a very price sensitive market. There are fixed retail prices brands do not want to change. Now that raw material and energy costs are rising, buyers and product managers are searching for solutions. This is quite challenging if they at the same time want to maintain their high quality and create collections with exciting, fresh and new looks, colours and materials.
This is also the first time Munich Fabric Start was held since the announcement of the EU Textiles Strategy. Were its overall and long-term implications already reflected this year at MFS? How are companies gearing up?
Many mills and manufacturers are in the midst of or have already shifted to processes that are in accordance with the EU Textiles Strategy. Many denim manufacturers, for example, have adopted dyeing and finishing technologies that work with no or little to no water and entirely without chemicals. Whether it be Muze’s drop dye, Sharabati’s recycling system, Wiser’s oxygen-based, pumice free bleaching process—many have already taken steps to fulfilling the EU’s requirements. In terms of recycling and recyclability, we see that lot of new ideas come up to join forces to use consumer waste as new raw materials to create fashion in circularity. Many countries are looking for solutions. There is a lot to come.
The other thing that has happened, and is still happening, is the Ukraine war. Has it had any impact on Munich Fabric Start in terms of visitors? What was Russian participation like in the earlier years?
To be honest: in this specific case, the first thing we as trade show organisers care about is the people, not our performance indicators or visitor numbers. For sure, this war has an impact on all of us on a way deeper level. During the last couple of days, I had several talks to long-time friends who are affected on a personal level by having relatives in regions that have turned into a war zone, or knowing business partners who had to flee, or just personal memories of travels to places that have now become battle fields. Hearing those stories is heart breaking and it frightens me. On a personal level as well as a professional. Our industry is an exceptionally international one—conflicts are never good for globalisation; armed conflicts and wars even less so.