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In My View: The State of Industry Gatherings 2021

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What a difference a year makes. Online is the new in-person, trade shows last for weeks not days, and textiles are presented to customers without the ability to touch or feel fabric. These COVID-influenced 2020 business trends have not served the textile industry particularly well. Not yet, anyway. But in my view, we’re now on the cusp of the next wave of innovation that bodes well for the materials world. Just last week I (virtually) attended three different events each signaling a better way forward.

During an Interfilière Connect seminar titled “Will the Digital Revolution Hit the World of Fabrics Today, or in the Future?” Jos Berry, CEO, Concepts Paris, held up a piece of fabric in front of her screen and asked her panelists, “How can you improve this situation?” It was funny, and got right to the desperate need to enhance the experience of selling textiles online. Execs from VIZOO and ProSoft VR provided information how 3D tech and advanced software solutions are coming to the rescue.

In an online discussion hosted by Quartr, a mobile-based, affordable platform that provides feedback from a targeted consumer base, wool experts weighed in on results from a recent Quartr survey on footwear, with particular focus on wool as a footwear material. It was an original and engaging way for textile suppliers to reflect on how consumers relate to material in footwear purchases and wool in general.

Last but not least, is the return of Struktur, a hugely popular event that took a hiatus for a couple years. In its new online version, not only does the community spirit of previous in-person Struktur events shine through, but the valuable networking opportunities also shine through, along with an agenda that combines design, music, art and lifestyle in a conference with roots in active/outdoor. A big kudos to Struktur founder Michelle Rose for figuring out how to step into the virtual world authentically and creatively.

(Details on these events will appear in the March/April issue of Textile Insight online and in print.)

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