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Munich Fabric Start: new classics, sustainability and digitisation

By Regina Henkel


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The 45th edition of Munich Fabric Start, which ended on 6th September, presented the trends for the fall/winter 2019/20 season. The conclusion: a new record number of exhibitors and the biggest Bluezone ever. In addition to fabric trends, sustainability and digitisation played an increasingly important role.

Munich Fabric Start presented itself in the best light for showcasing the new fabric trends for fall/winter 2019/20: All signs point to growth. Thus, the event recorded another record exhibitor number with approximately 1,050 exhibitors and around 1,800 collections in the areas fabrics, additionals, denim and sportswear. The denim area in particular recorded growth and required additional space on the Zenith site. With approximately 20,000 visitors, the number of visitors remained constant compared to the previous year.

Fabric Trends: opposites dominate

For several seasons now, the fashion industry has been searching for strong opposites and contrasts, sometimes with colours, sometimes with materials and structures. Even style breaks are still very popular: From High Fashion vs No Fashion, from Futurist vs Realist, from Optimist vs Activist. What does not fit together creates the greatest emotions; what does not seem to fit is interesting because of it. That's what the creators intended. The new trends seem as complex as they are progressive.

Womenswear: It’s all about the right mix

Focused on individual topics, the new womenswear fashion changes between romantic folklore looks and emphasises classic and sporty influences. There is a lot of mixing; folkloristic motifs can hardly be assigned to a specific region. Fake furs and fleece are trending as well as woollen fabrics. Classic cuts and fabric patterns such as plaids demonstrate a departure from fast fashion and become the new fashion statement. But always casual and often combined with denim, which will not lose any of its relevance even in the winter season after next. Athleticism is expressed above all through technical materials. Calvin Klein celebrates reflector ribbons as worn by road workers in his collection - other designers utilise the trend for FW 2019/20 as striking or more subtle as well. Workwear fabrics are considered a trend topic. Dark colours are trending and show themselves as dark purple, brown, gray and petrol. The most important colour stimuli are created by green tones, also in shades like bottle green or jade. Neutrals are still dominant. The opulence of past seasons weakens.

Menswear: Classic meets rave

As is the case with the women's collections, it's the combinations that determine the look. Many classic fabrics such as plaids and beige and brown shades play an increasingly important role in the fashion segment. Modernity is expressed, for example through oversized rapports and 3-D surfaces, through technical zippers, hoodies or velcro. New lengths dominate the new menswear: pant hems are moving upwards, as well as those of tops and anoraks. Coats on the other hand reach below the knee. The Acid Jazz theme and a revival of the 1990s follow a more athletic approach: There is a lot of potential here in individual pieces and in bringing strong opposites together. Denim remains important as a contrast and key accent for men. Key colours are shades of brown, curry, olive, as well as different shades of gray and bright accents in blue or red.

Bluezone: Denim & workwear

The current Bluezone was the strongest and best frequented since its existence. More than 120 leading international denim and sportswear brands show their latest seasonally overlapping fabric innovations, many of which have already been converted into trend-setting samples with innovative finishes and washings. The fair emphasised the comeback of workwear and presented the history of working clothes and their influence on workwear as part of the conference program. Particularly eye-catching were trendy pieces like denim overalls, which were presented at many booths, as well as oversize jeans and jackets from the 80s. Denim experts also expect a strong comeback of black denim. Many discussions revolved around new performance qualities in denim for soft touch and sporty looks, but also for the reinterpretation of rigid and raw denim for authentic heritage looks. Above all, however, sustainability in denim production was the topic, which was discussed in numerous presentations and panel discussions by manufacturers as well as the fashion industry.

Also, new sustainable technologies were presented, such as from Hyosung. "For 2019/20, we see sustainability and performance as key trends in the denim market along with new designs," said Mike Simko, global marketing director of the Hyosung Corporation. With creora, Hyosung is the world's largest spandex manufacturer. At the fair, the textile expert presented the new creora Fit2 with improved performance for trendy denim. In addition, Hyosung presented the sustainable creora eco-soft elastane line, which is manufactured at low heat, as well as the latest denim styles.

Sourcing is changing

In addition to fabrics, the fair also provides a forum for new technologies. Selected companies presented their manufacturing sourcing products and services in exclusive sourcing showrooms. On the first and second day of the fair, industrial partners from Central and Eastern Europe provided information about new products and production processes. ReSource, a new meta-sourcing platform, unites innovative and sustainably produced fabrics and additional materials and showcased the latest trends in the fields of eco fashion and fair trade.

But sourcing starts with design. The fashion industry is undergoing a technological revolution - more and more garments are digitally designed using 3D software. A realistic representation of colour and materials makes it possible to significantly reduce the number of prototypes - and that saves time and money. At Munich Fabric Start, Assyst and its partner companies Color Digital, Epson, X-Rite Pantone and Peter Buedel Accessoires showed how the Vidya software can reach the next level of 3D simulation by integrating digitised materials. "Sourcing is an immensely important topic that moves the industry. As a trade fair and initiator, we see a clear mission to provide a platform for the growing demand for sourcing opportunities in Munich. We will accelerate and continuously expand this concept approach, "said Wolfgang Klinder, managing director of Munich Fabric Start.

New sustainable technologies

"Our goal is to constantly give new impetus, new suggestions and to keep the industry moving. Sustainability is a holistic concept that does not work on its own. We all have to pull together," said Frank Junker, creative director of Munich Fabric Start.

An appeal was also taken up at the Keyhouse at the fair. It presented projects to encourage material experts to think and act sustainably and to motivate them to break new ground. Sophisticated designs create unconventional materials with environmentally friendly factors. For example, new dyeing processes with bacteria that are free of chemicals and save water and resources.

Photos: Munich Fabric Start

This article was originally published on FashionUnitedDE. Translated by Simone Preuss.

Munich Fabric Start