The mood in the INNATEX community is on the rise – this was the conclusion as INNATEX closed at the Messecenter Hofheim Rhein-Main in Wallau, near Frankfurt, on 22 January 2024. Considering the economic situation in the sector, which remains tense, the 53rd edition of the international trade fair for sustainable textiles has been seen as a success.
“The fashion fair landscape is going through challenging times,” says Christian Hess of Glore Frankfurt, a buyer at INNATEX, summing up his overall impression. “This is due partly to economic developments but also to competition between the trade fairs. INNATEX is an exception to this because it remains consistent, grounded and broadly based. We at Glore Frankfurt come here because we can find lots of brands in one place that don’t exhibit anywhere else.”
In the Community Lounge, DESIGN DISCOVERIES came together with experts, labels, consultants and business founders. According to organisers MUVEO GmbH, the audience took a particular interest in the topics of storytelling, sustainable growth and digitalisation, each of which was covered by the panel in their discussions. Labels and the trade must now show themselves to be open to ideas and practical approaches for successful business.
“Digitalisation is currently changing the fashion industry,” says Prof. Ilona Kötter of the AMD Academy of Fashion and Design. “A simple line drawing is turned into a 3D model. A few clicks take you to personalised advice on style. Not only are the processes involved in creation and production becoming less complex and hence quicker, but consumers are also enjoying entirely new shopping experiences. I’m confident that small businesses will get easy access to such digital tools so that they can benefit from them and be fit for the future.”
Creative collaboration agreements similarly represent an important future-proofing strategy and are clearly particularly attractive at present. Label and trade can work together and find new sales channels such as those offered by, among others, the talk guest Janis Künkler with ‘reverse.supply’. Marketing and design both benefit from collaboration with artists, which exhibitor Living Crafts is using to address younger target groups. Pololo has teamed up with Disana to produce baby shoes from 100% recycled felt that were first presented at INNATEX.
Exciting materials such as soya fibres from ZD zero defects, waterproof hemp shoes and bags from 8000 Kicks and a size-inclusive dress in biodegradable Polyamide from C/OVER provide plenty to talk about. For Winter 2024/2025, street-inspired looks involving patchwork, visible seams and oversize silhouettes are on the agenda. Colour gradients and all-over patterns on coats, jackets and scarves break through the winter melancholy. Earthy and pastel tones, knit patterns ranging from fine to rugged, and layers with sleeveless sweaters and vests remain in the mix. The Kids segment was heavily represented, with playful details, appliqués and hand-drawn patterns.
“All in all, a well rounded fair,” says Alexander Hitzel, INNATEX Project Manager. “Great leaps and promises have never been part of our modus operandi; we prefer to rely on stability and cost-effectiveness. That has worked well for us with our loyal community, as we are seeing now. It makes us all very optimistic for the future.”
On 25 and 26 February, the Bern showroom will complete the winter order. The next INNATEX will take place from 20 to 22 July 2024.