November 15, 2010 — An immaterial UNESCO World Cultural Heritage is the subject of a special show
in the foyer between Halls 5.1 and 6.1. Over an area of approximately 100 square metres, the
German-african company, Bark Cloth, is showing textiles and composite materials manufactured
in an economical, ecological, socially sustainable way from tree bark. The German Commission for
UNESCO will assume patronage of the presentation. Dr. Verena Metze-Mangold, Vize-President of the
German Commission for UNESCO, will inaugurate the special show on 12th January 2011.
Bark cloth is an ancient material with a history dating back thousands of years. The bark of
the East African fig tree is harvested to produce it. The bark grows back extremely quickly and can
be used once a year without felling the tree. The cloth made from the bark forms the basis for a
broad palette of firm and flexible semi-finished products, which are produced in a low-energy,
partly CO2-free way. These semi-finished, Barktex-brand products are suitable for a host of
different industrial and craft applications, for example wall coverings and sun blinds, fair and
interior finishes, as well as shoes, clothing and other design-oriented products.
Seamstresses will be demonstrating how the bark cloth is made
Bark Cloth works with organic farmers in Uganda and is considered to be a pioneer in
bark cloth development and production. In 2005, UNESCO named the artisan production process a
“Magnum opus of oral and immaterial World Cultural Heritage. The admission to the “List of
immaterial cultural heritage” established by UNESCO’s agreement to protect the immaterial cultural
heritage took place in November 2008. Launched in 1999, the former development aid project now
provides hundreds of small farming families with a secure income.
Designers value the unique texture, tactility and expressive character of Barktex. It looks
like leather, is soft but robust. Each length of traditional, laboriously handcrafted cloth is
unique. At Heimtextil, Ugandan seamstresses will be demonstrating how the bark cloth is made. The
show’s sponsors include exhibitors Arte and Ann Idstein.
A lecture series, special shows and the Green Directory
In the “Let’s talk about it!” forum in Hall 8, a lecture series will be exploring the theme
of sustainability in depth. Speakers from companies like Tchibo and IKEA will give an insight into
business strategies and quality control in their major corporations. Moreover, an event entitled
“Making organic quality show” will be providing an overview of eco-textile labels. A special show
featuring sustainably manufactured textiles will be staged in Hall 11.1., too.
The first edition of a Green Directory is due to appear at Heimtextil. The Directory lists
exhibitors with product ranges of outstandingly high ecological quality or manufactured in a
sustainable way. The palette of these textiles includes products from almost every house and home
textiles segment. “The aim of this publication is to provide valuable orientation for the
industry”, explains Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textile Fairs, Messe Frankfurt. “At other Messe
Frankfurt textile events, this type of identification is already well-established.
The Guide allows buyers to find exhibitors with sustainable manufacturing processes and their
products more quickly and easily.”
Messe Frankfurt study – excellent prospects for eco-textiles
This year, Messe Frankfurt commissioned a study of sustainably manufactured home textiles.
Based on this study, the German market for sustainable bed and bath textiles is worth around € 40
to € 80 million and the European and North American markets around € 400 million. According to the
study, the bed and bath segments in this sector are expected to grow at a rate of around ten
percent per annum. Based on a somewhat conservative estimate, this would result in a potential
German market worth € 50 to 130 million by 2015, with Europe, led by Germany, France and the
Benelux, seen as the driving force in the market for sustainable home textiles.
Posted on November 16, 2010
Source: Heimtextil/Messe Frankfurt