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The Rupp Report: Home Textiles - Still Going Strong

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

It's getting close to the end of the year, and therefore, it's getting close to the summit of the global home textiles industry: Heimtextil. The gathering will take place at the Messe Frankfurt fairground in Frankfurt Jan. 9-12, 2013.

Increased Turnover In 2011
At a recent press conference, show organizer, Messe Frankfurt GmbH, revealed some interesting facts: The German textile industry recorded a turnover of 11.7 billion euros in 2011 — a plus of 7.7 percent compared to 2010. The sector enjoys a good atmosphere generated by increased exports and a recuperation of jobs. Furthermore, the home textiles producers are profiting from positive developments in the construction sector.

On the European side, the turnover rose 5 percent to 88.8 billion euros compared to 2010. However, imports from non-European Union countries jumped by 13.9 percent to 25.4 billion euros. Exports to these non-EU countries totaled 20.3 billion euros — 8.23-percent more compared to 2010. For 2012, Messe Frankfurt is rather convinced that there will be a further increase of 3 percent, compared to 2011.

Since its beginnings, Heimtextil has been the first event of the new year and season for the home textiles industry, as producers, the processing industry and the trade. The event has reported impressive figures: At the 2012 show, there were more than 2,600 exhibitors and approximately 70,000 visitors from 132 countries.

Heimtextil 2013
For next year, the organizers report there will be many new as well as returning exhibitors. A trend to notice is a revival of mattresses. It seems that many mattress-producing exhibitors from IMM Cologne — another home and contract furnishings trade show that takes place in Cologne, Germany, later in January — are coming back to Frankfurt instead of exhibiting in Cologne.

Further trends include a comeback for wallpaper and a strong increase of exhibitors that are producing furniture and decorative fabrics.

A key factor of the success of Heimtextil is always the number of lectures and presentations that are given during the exhibition. Main topics will be luxury living, future hotels and sustainability.

From one side, it is quite significant that this sector of the textile industry is also fostering sustainability. According to a Messe Frankfurt survey, 78 percent of all German consumers are interested in buying sustainable fabrics and products. In this context, another issue is gaining importance: upcycling, referring to new, higher-value products made with recycled material.

Trends 2013-14
From the beginning, the trends from Messe Frankfurt have played an important role for the home furnishings sector. The show organizers ask the manufacturers to send samples to be presented in a wonderful array of fabrics. However, some visitors note that the producers do not show every new design, which is quite understandable. The trend presentation serves as a teaser for the visitors — first, to give some information on new design and color trends; and secondly, to lead the visitors to the exhibitors' booths for further discussions.

For 2013, Messe Frankfurt hired a complete new team of international designers to define the trends for 2013-14. Rarely, in the last 20 years or so, has better and more precise trend information been presented than at this year's press conference. The pictures and colors are superb. Here are the four basic trends, as abstracted from the descriptions by Messe Frankfurt's designer team:

The Historian
This personality sets great store by enduring values and discovers new ways of bringing the past into the present. He gains inspiration from the late 16th and the 17th century. Expressive ornaments, luxuriant decorations and wonderful details radiate an aristocratic dynamism. The historian likes luxury with a sense for quality. Thus, textiles with a layer look are part of this, as are net fabrics and artistic embroidery. The home is brightened by shimmering gold, bronze and copper, as well as sophisticated reflections from material surfaces. The colors in rooms tend to be subdued and dominated by mysterious shadings.

The Eccentric
His passion is for extravagant discoveries combining timeless qualities with decorative character. The eccentric searches for unique items, curiosities and original articles distinguished by exotic or ethnic influences. At all events, what he finds must be traditional and authentic. The modern Dandy and Bohemian loves elegantly made textiles, such as hand-colored silk, extremely lustrous artificial snakeskin, upholstery fabrics inspired by suit fabrics or oriental jacquards. In his home, we find patterns with ethnic blossoms. The wall coverings take their inspiration from textiles. The dominant colors have an Asian touch and interact in an extraordinary way.

The Inventor
To develop things that make life exciting — that's the inventor's challenge. He works on concepts that combine function and fun, as well as wellness and pleasures. Fabrics are literally brought to life: they sway, flutter and grow as flowery ornaments — extremely sensuous and tactile. The inventor experiments with extraordinary upholstery fabrics, openwork weaves and meshwork. Foamed textiles create an airy depth and give rooms and furniture a new look. Technical veils, iridescent films and latex are also used. Feather-light constructions play with light and reflections. Lively colors ensure extraordinary contrasts and awaken curiosity.

The Geologist
The nature lover appreciates and protects the earth and all its treasures. He knows the quality and origins of a product. He is fascinated by the irregularities of geological surfaces. In his environment, natural structures are upgraded by colorful marl aspects and winding, viral patterns, as well as rough graininess, bark-like textures and rustic leather, skin or natural cork. Blotch effects bring otherwise sober surfaces to life. Broken, mysterious brightness flashes from the materials. The color series reflects the enigmatic dark side of nature. Intensive colors are rounded off by shades of virulent intensity and metallic luster.

Contract Creations And Coupons
Two other offerings that are very important for the textile furnishings industry are Contract Creations and the Coupon Business Finder. Through Contract Creations, the target group of architects, hotel managers, interior designers and such may also attend lectures and podium discussions during the event.

Also important for the trade is the possibility to buy in small quantities. More and more, it is becoming very difficult to find manufacturers that are able — and, even more, willing — to sell small quantities, for example, one piece of a design or color. Visitors will have the possibility with the Coupon Business Finder to find such exhibitors.

More information is available at www.heimtextil.messefrankfurt.com.

October 9, 2012