Philosophy Hasn’t Changed at Munich Fabric Start; It Reinvents by the Season

Inspiring new products, innovative content and future-oriented themes is what Munich Fabric Start promises, even in these times of uncertainty. Frank Junker, Creative Director & Partner, Munich Fabric Start Exhibitions GmbH elaborates in this one-on-one with texfash.com.

Long Story, Cut Short
  • In a generally tense situation, Munich Fabric Start, Bluezone and Keyhouse are all booked.
  • MFS is a platform offering partners of the industry the opportunity to present their new products that they think are relevant to the market.
  • ReSource is a dedicated sourcing platform for sustainable and responsibly produced fabrics, apparel and trims. They have to prove that they are sustainable.
As an international fabric trade show, Munich Fabric Start works to create high-quality formats and offerings  – from a broad and relevant exhibitor portfolio, to top-class lectures and panels, to trend outlooks and numerous opportunities to connect.
Raising the Bar As an international fabric trade show, Munich Fabric Start works to create high-quality formats and offerings – from a broad and relevant exhibitor portfolio, to top-class lectures and panels, to trend outlooks and numerous opportunities to connect. Munich Fabric Start Exhibitions

What’s the focus at Munch Fabric Start this year? How would it like to differentiate itself from the umpteen other such trade shows? But seriously speaking, how difficult is it to ensure that each show is different in some ways at least from the earlier events?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained — especially now. The conditions are currently changing, and this requires openness to new things and the courage to move forward. Not exuberantly, but with care and deliberation. This is also reflected in our motto for Spring.Summer 2024: Dare & Care. Changes are taking place on all levels: from a new sense of community to the struggle for freedom with protests to hedonism and the celebration of the moment; not least the need for islands of tranquility, for joy and above all for real, human encounters. In these topics and controversies, apart from all the uncertainty, lies an immense potential for inspiration and the power to dare something.

Our aim is to always be surprising, innovative and at the same time market- and solution-oriented. We keep reinventing ourselves a little season by season. Once again, we have succeeded in this. As an international fabric trade show, we are creating high-quality formats and offerings at Munich Fabric Start this season – from a broad and relevant exhibitor portfolio, to top-class lectures and panels, to trend outlooks and numerous opportunities to connect.

From the time that Munich Fabric Start was held for the first time, how much has the underlying philosophy changed over the years? Do you still look at it the way you did even ten years earlier? What are the factors that keep weighing on your philosophy?
Our philosophy didn’t change much during the years — it is very important to us to always ensure a high level of service and care, to meet the industry as a partner in order to create new experiences and form a platform for business, trends, innovation and information. Reliability, flexibility and trust are values that have been standing for our philosophy since the very beginning. Apart from that, it is crucial to innovate and adapt to the market. With our team and service partners, we are lucky enough to be flexible in doing so.

What has changed in recent years is that the industry has become much more cooperative. There is closer collaboration. Not just us as a team, I'm talking in particular about our network in the industry. New formats, new offers and presentation opportunities – or even our new show dates for the summer — many things arise from the community. This proves that we are perceived as a reliable partner. For us, that's an important quality feature. Bringing all of this together makes us so special. And, being special pays off.

The demand for more sustainable products is rising over the whole of Munich Fabric Start and Bluezone, not just in the dedicated sustainable areas like ReSource or the Sustainabe Innovations forum. This is reflected in a bigger offer of sustainable fabrics, additionals and processes.
In Demand The demand for more sustainable products is rising over the whole of Munich Fabric Start and Bluezone, not just in the dedicated sustainable areas like ReSource or the Sustainabe Innovations forum. This is reflected in a bigger offer of sustainable fabrics, additionals and processes. Munich Fabric Start Exhibitions

But then, philosophy would also mean the way one looks at the world. How does Munich Fabric Start look at the global textiles-apparel-fashion world today? There's conflict (Ukraine, etc), there are no-holds-barred trade wars (US-China, etc), overlapping trade deals (CPTPP vs RCEP etc), supply chain bottlenecks, among other things. How much are these things affecting the industry, and also the business at MFS?
The industry is facing huge and complex challenges. Many factors of the textile value chain cannot be planned ahead and have become insecure. Demonstrating reliability, relevance and consistency is what matters now. As I mentioned before, it is more important now than ever to be a partner for the industry and to cooperate. We are continuing the positive, motivated and ambitious mood that is evident at the current Munich Fabric Start with inspiring new products, innovative content and future-oriented themes. 

In a generally tense situation, Munich Fabric Start, Bluezone and Keyhouse are all very well booked. We are very pleased that around 900 selected international producers will once again be joining us in Munich in January to show their latest trends and innovations on a total exhibition area of around 42,500 sq m. Even in times of uncertainty, we have the courage to think big.

What is your screening process like now? What are the parameters that you followed this time? Are you planning to be more stringent in the future? Most important: where does one draw the line? For example, PFAS should be on their way out now. So, what would you do if a brand that uses PFAS in its products wants to exhibit at one of your shows?
Munich Fabric Start is not a certification body. We are a platform offering partners of the industry the opportunity to present their new products that they think are relevant to the market. The demand for more sustainable products is rising over the whole of Munich Fabric Start and Bluezone, not just in the dedicated sustainable areas like ReSource or the Sustainabe Innovations forum. This is reflected in a bigger offer of sustainable fabrics, additionals and processes. We as Munich Fabric Start have the power to support this development and make it even bigger by offering special areas, presentation opportunities, marketing and communication.

Talking about ReSource — this is different. Exhibitors wanting to showcase products at ReSource, our dedicated sourcing platform for sustainable and responsible produced fabrics, apparel and trims have to prove that they are sustainable.

Our philosophy didn’t change much during the years — it is very important to us to always ensure a high level of service and care, to meet the industry as a partner in order to create new experiences and form a platform for business, trends, innovation and information. Reliability, flexibility and trust are values that have been standing for our philosophy since the very beginning. 

Do you use certifications etc, as a benchmark for screening? After all, there are too many certifications around, many of them conflict or overlap, and some have also generated controversies. How do you look at the subject? Does it bother you?
For ReSource with more than 2,000 responsibly produced and certified articles we have a specialised expert team at Munich Fabric Start that checks every single fabric and development for relevant and valid certificates. For textile innovations this is not always possible, in this case we need a proof or verification as evidence of the sustainability of the product to classify them in the ReSource categories. This takes a lot of time. And yes, there are a lot of certifications around. 

This is why we involve certifications bodies and institutes directly. They support us at ReSource with their expertise and they are sending their experts to Munich Fabric Start to consult and inform — either with a presence at the exhibition or within the conference programme. This is very much welcomed by our visitors such as buyers, product developers and designers to make more conscious decisions for the products of the new season. This season ReSource by the way is even bigger and right in the centre of MOC, in hall 2, for the first time.

What is the focus on startups that promise sustainability, biodegradability and more? What is your screening process for them? Are there special packages that encourage startups? Do you facilitate a matchmaking process?
Startups are featured in many different ways. We love to work with startups because this is where a lot of innovation comes from. For startups and global players we created Keyhouse, the innovative hub for new textile technologies. On more than 1,000 sq m, trend-setting smart textiles, future fabrics and new developments and technologies will be shown with a maximum of integration in textile products and high fashion and in the context of cross-industry macro trends.

Startups are staged in an interactive think tank and are presented in future-oriented showcases such as the Sustainable Innovations forum and lots of different workshops, panel discussions and keynotes. They get a huge physical and social media attention. The Keyhouse is the perfect match-making platform. We know many startups, showcasing at Munich Fabric Start for the first time, achieving big deals with leading brands and fashion houses.

As an international trade show for denim, street and sportswear, Bluezone is one of the global key events for the denim industry. True to the motto ‘Denim beyond seasons’, around 100 international denim mills, weavers, manufacturers and finishers show their latest innovations, share their know-how and the latest trends with the growing blue community.
Happy Blues As an international trade show for denim, street and sportswear, Bluezone is one of the global key events for the denim industry. True to the motto ‘Denim beyond seasons’, around 100 international denim mills, weavers, manufacturers and finishers show their latest innovations, share their know-how and the latest trends with the growing blue community. Munich Fabric Start Exhibitions

Sometime back there was a study showing how much emissions fashion events generate. But those were limited only to fashion weeks. Have you undertaken any analysis to see what kind of carbon footprint the various MFS shows generate? Is there something that you can share, please? Again, all events generate a lot of waste. What is the kind of waste that a typical Munich Fabric Start event/show generates? How do you ensure that waste is recycled, and what is your official policy on this?
We so far haven’t measured our carbon footprint. This would easily be possible with one of the multiple service providers. But what do you gain in the end? Everyone doing trade shows for years knows the impact and what can be changed to the better. Let me give you some examples what we are doing: for years, we have been investing in high-quality stand construction systems in order to be able to use them over a longer period of time. In the entire exhibition complex, you will mainly find LED lamps. 

Our carpets are cleaned and recycled after the show to be re-used as e.g. felt slippers. In order to protect our flooring against construction dirt, we use a very thin and paper-based protective film. At the Trend Forums, we work with recyclable wood whenever possible. In addition, we generally use acrylic colors, e.g. water-based paints without solvents. For the printing of our communication media, we order environmental-friendly recycled paper. In the catering area, we pay attention to regional products and to the distribution of drinks on reusable glass bottles. 

Exhibitor and visitor badges are provided only as digital tickets, no paper anymore. Thanks to our tightly timed bus shuttle service between Munich Airport and the exhibition centre, we reduce the number of individual journeys. These are just a few of the measures we implement in our daily work routine. There of course can always be done more and we are constantly working on it. Measuring our carbon footprint might be one.

What will be special at Munich Fabric Start this time? What are the trends and innovations that we expect to be launched / unveiled? Over 900 exhibitors over a 3-day event! If I were to visit, I would have to make that 300 booths/stalls every single day. That's not humanly possible. So, how do you ensure that visitors can stay focused, and such that the show does not become a logistical nightmare?
Haha, what do you suggest? Presenting only 15? I’m just joking… We are trying to make the research and upfront preparation as easy as possible with our online brand research tool, our catalogue clustered into product groups, segments, sustainability and performance codes. We provide our visitors with the MFS App. Trend forums represent global trends — they are highly inspiring but perfectly structured at the same time and do give a very good overview. Our conference program with more than 50 speakers, timings and locations is all online and is definitely worth a visit.

And for just having a drink and a nice but hopefully valuable chat – join our Munich Fabric Start Club Night party on Tuesday night. Does this sound like a nightmare to you? Hopefully not!

Our aim is to always be surprising, innovative and at the same time market- and solution-oriented. We keep reinventing ourselves a little season by season. Once again, we have succeeded in this. As an international fabric trade show, we are creating high-quality formats and offerings at Munich Fabric Start this season – from a broad and relevant exhibitor portfolio, to top-class lectures and panels, to trend outlooks and numerous opportunities to connect.

Frank Junker
Frank Junker / Creative Director & Partner / Munich Fabric Start Exhibitions GmbH

Subir Ghosh

SUBIR GHOSH is a Kolkata-based independent journalist-writer-researcher who writes about environment, corruption, crony capitalism, conflict, wildlife, and cinema. He is the author of one book, and has co-authored three with others. He writes, edits, reports and designs. He is also a professionally trained and qualified photographer.

 
 
 
  • Dated posted 17 January 2023
  • Last modified 17 January 2023