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The Rupp Report

The Rupp Report: Heimtextil: The Greatest Show For Home Textiles

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

As ever before Christmas time, one of the ever-successful sectors of the global textile community is preparing for its biggest event: Heimtextil Frankfurt. Next year, the Frankfurt edition of the International Trade Fair for Home and Contract Textiles will take place Jan. 8 - 11, 2014. Last year, 2,616 exhibitors welcomed some 66,000 visitors, and the organizers are expecting even more participants on both sides for 2014.

The fair occupies 19 exhibition halls, in which it presents the complete portfolio for commercial textile interior design and textile furnishings. It also offers visitors and exhibitors an informative complementary program.

Highlight Trend Show and Forecast
In Hall 3.0, the Deco Team including several member companies from Germany will once again offer a comprehensive presentation. Several returning decorative and furniture fabric specialists from Belgium and Italy will present their products in Hall 4.1.

For more than 20 years, and without any doubt, the ultimate highlight of every Heimtextil is the superb traditional Trend Show and its accompanying lecture program in Forum 0, where many new design ideas will be shown and the latest design issues will be discussed. For 2014/15, six international design studios have teamed to present the most important themes from among the many trend currents seen worldwide. The trend forecast features two main categories: The first — "Progress!" — is subdivided into the themes of "Generate Collision!" and "Engineer Nature!" The second — "Revive!" — features the themes of "Exalt Purity!" and "Rejuvenate Craft!"

Focusing On Contract Business
Contract is a major, if not the most important, sector in the entire textile furnishings business. For this sector, on January 9, Heimtextil will team with the German Hotel Association to highlight the latest developments in the hotel business and discuss opportunities and potential applications.

During the show's first three days, lectures at Contract Square in the foyer of Halls 5.1/6.1 will highlight issues relating to modern architecture. The lectures, organized in cooperation with AIT architecture magazine, will begin at 1:00 p.m.

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Larger Program Of Lectures
At Lecture Square in Galleria 1, Heimtextil at the same time will offer a program covering e-commerce for retailers and information technology (IT) developments in the hotel business.

Online trading and marketing are currently very much in the focus of every business sector, and particularly for apparel and textile products such as home textiles. Heimtextil's Webchance Academy, a special two-day lecture series on January 8 and 10 for retailers and e-commerce users, will inform about online selling and marketing opportunities. E-commerce experts will report on the latest developments in online marketing, and retailers will discuss their web activities. The presentations are interesting for trade visitors, especially small and medium-sized retailers and interior decorators.

The Woolmark Company will offer its first trend guide to wool for interiors and design products, and present wool's large range of positive qualities for design purposes. In her workshop titled Wool Lab Interiors, Ingrid Oomen from Woolmark International will discuss research and promotion of wool, Lecture Square on January 9 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m..

Sustainability And Fair Trade
With apparel, home textiles and furnishings producers paying more and more attention to the resource-friendly use of materials and to product life cycles, Heimtextil will also highlight upcycling along with the work of committed young designers.

The Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) will participate in a seminar at Lecture Square beginning at 10:00 a.m. on January 10. FWF is an independent nonprofit organization that works with companies and manufacturers to improve the conditions of textile workers and in textile factories, and is the main partner of the WellMade project. The seminar will present specific solutions for eliminating workers' grievances on the production side.

Increased Number Of Exhibitors
The Rupp Report talked to Olaf Schmidt, vice president, Textiles & Textile Technologies, of Messe Frankfurt, about the current status of the exhibition: Schmidt said that Heimtextil has again an increase in exhibitors — up to nearly 2,700 companies — for 2014. "Heimtextil is continuously growing, now for the fourth year in a row," he added.

With a considerable number of registrations already received, Heimtextil is now entering its final stage. "The great response and the return of many prominent European manufacturers shows that the textile industry continues to rely on Heimtextil as a vital source of new impulses," Schmidt added.

In terms of exhibitors' internationality, Heimtextil achieved in 2013 a record high of 88 percent, with participants from 62 nations. For 2014, Schmidt expects the same level of internationality. "These figures show the importance of Heimtextil, which is the global meeting place for textile interior design. In terms of internationality and diversity of products, Heimtextil is second to none," he said.

"The Czech Republic will be represented with a national pavilion, as will Egypt and Croatia. The United Kingdom will have a strong presence around the Art Café in Hall 4.1. Renowned suppliers will present their innovations in the sectors window and upholstery. Italy too with its Consorzio Tendaggio Italiano is very well positioned," Schmidt commented.

Growing Importance For Digital Printing
Regarding the setup or the layout of the halls, there is nothing new. "However," Schmidt said, "we have a higher utilization rate for the halls. On the other hand, we recognize a strong growth in the product group Digital Printing in Hall 4.2. The booth space and the number of exhibitors for digital printing will significantly increase."

Visitors and exhibitors can also look forward to a spectrum of information on the subject of textile printing.

Market Situation
How does Schmidt judge the economic situation in the area of home textiles for 2014?
"Well," he said, "for the German textile and fashion industry, the weak start for 2013 is almost forgotten. However, we are still not yet over it. Sales continue to grow in both segments including incoming orders, as we learn from the German Association of Textile and Fashion, and the signs and the index are promising that we will have a positive year end and a good start into 2014."

Are there any changes in the significance and importance of the global home textiles market? Or, to ask the question the other way around: In which regions of the world are the strongest production sites for traditional home textiles such as bed linens, towels and such? The answer by Schmidt is somewhat surprising: "In the last two years, we have recognized at Heimtextil a strong return of European companies, including well-known brand names that use Heimtextil for their export opportunities. Regarding the production of bed linens and towels, Portugal is currently of great importance. There are advanced companies that operate with an impressive array of machines and their own design departments with CAD. This is even more remarkable if one considers that the home textile industry in Portugal is mainly composed of small and medium-sized enterprises. But, of course, the Asian continent also is very much on the move, and, apart from fashion, includes the classic home textiles industry.

Place For Newcomers
For several years now, Heimtextil has provided in Halls 8, 9 and 11 a special New & Next exhibition space for newcomers, putting the spotlight on the next generation of designers. This space has gradually developed into a major highlight within the trade fair program. Among the participating startup companies are, in particular, a large number of European designers. The platform will be full of creative product ideas for bathroom, bedroom and dining table textiles and is said to be the source of fresh design ideas.

The Rupp Report sends its readers Season's Greetings and wishes all a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

December 17, 2013