In The Market
Show Report

Rising Up Post Pandemic

Munich Fabric Start attendees enjoy the ability to touch and feel fabric innovations at an in-person fair.

Serving in the past as an accelerant after the long European summer holidays, Munich Fabric Start has been a favorite of mine. The fair kickstarted the show season and got me in the mood for work, especially before the onslaught of the supersize shows later in the Fall season.

Trade fairs have been hard hit, with none featuring in Europe until now. So, with bated breath, I decided to take the plunge to attend Munich Fabric Start and give myself a shock to the system, recharging on the creativity front and chit-chatting with like-minded textile pros.

Traveling through Europe was seamless, with everyone wearing masks. To be on the safe side I had three copies of proof of vaccination. I needn’t have worried as the only place that scanned my QR code was at the show. Once upon a time, you’d look for the press desk or registration desk signs, now you look for the ‘Screening’ sign to get approval to enter the show and a colored ID permanent bracelet.

Munich Fabric Start showcased a melting pot of ready-to-wear fabrics for Fall/Winter 22/23 entitled RISE, an apt description as we all rise up from the pandemic and move forwards. The key themes emerging were authenticity, tradition with a twist, and new realities in terms of finishes and prints in creating a mesmeric look. Walking through the trend area it felt like being Alice in Wonderland as I passed by the static boards draped with fabrics and trim that you could touch, feel the structures and play with the drape. But, most important of all, imagine what you would design with it.

Once upon a time, you’d look for the press desk or signs for the registration desk. Now you look for the ‘Screening’ sign to get approval to enter the show and a colored ID permanent bracelet.

Back to the Future was the theme at BLUE ZONE, the denim show housed in a separate building. The buzz and the chatter in that hall brought a smile to everyone’s face. Business is back; The denim mood boards, the developments in sustainability (noticed at all the mills) stood out. The difference with BLUE ZONE is the denim community, a tight-knit clan on a global scale. They live and breathe denim, and for them to get together once again, under one roof, the atmosphere was naturally electric.

Digitalization & Innovation

Munich Fabric Start launched FABRIC.iD, a process for the complete digitization of fabrics. The new texture scanner xTex and the color scanner, called can:scan, transform textiles into virtual data. The result: digital twins that reproduce the texture and color of the materials realistically and flawlessly, creating a digital trade show on-site. The scanned results offer realistic elements of the fabrics, offering the benefit of reducing samples being sent back and forth, and thus a more efficient and less wasteful supply chain. Combine this concept with on-site touch at the show, and you’ve got a winner.

Back to the past is never going to be an option, nor is the digitization of textiles going to take over the future. There has to be a balance made, where the creative collaboration can be seamlessly teamed with digitalization. Especially when it comes to textiles, because the touch factor is so important. What’s the first thing we all want to do when we see fabric or a garment? Touch it!

For me, the future of textiles has to be flexible. We have to pull from the past and team with the future in creating a new take on exhibitions. Munich Fabric Start has pulled this off and proved that it is possible to have a bit of old with the new in creating a harmonious ‘phygital’ solution.