|| In the throes of two wars - Conflict
in Iraq and the fight against SARS - Interstoff Asia went without
a hitch although, understandably, attendance was affected , with
a 25 per cent drop against last spring's show.
Interstoff Asia welcomed 7000 visitors to the spring event,
held from 25-27 march, and they weren't disappointed because
of the 266 exhibitors promised, only seven from Thailand and
one from Taiwan decided not to take the risk of attending. An
extensive programme of seminars, product presentations plus
trend forum all added up to a strong show, which attracted buyers
from international brands such as Burberry, Marks and Spencer,
Adidas, Victoria's Secret, Skechers and, of course, US designer
labels Calvin Klein, Donna Karen and Ralph Lauren, who where
out in full force.
Two of the 12 seminars looked at sourcing worldwide.
As one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world,
India's consumer market offers lots of sales potential for international
consumer brands. Devangshu Dutta made a presentation
on 'India's Textile and Clothing Industry Today and
Opportunities to Partner'. The seminar highlighted
the advantages of buying from India, from the lower
labour costs in the world, to a long textile history and the
convenience of English as its main business language.
The figure for exports from India in 2000-2001 reached US$ 12.10bn.
The government target is US$ 20.70bn by 2005. The US and EU
account for 70 per cent of exports. However there are
also disadvantages, such as a fragmented industry structure,
inefficient infrastructure and lack of trade pacts. Devangshu
Dutta's advice to companies interested in India was to develop
a well researched and solid stratergy.
' Global Sourcing and International competitiveness
in the Textile and Apparel Industry' by Dr. Gary Gereffi of
Duke University, predicted that China would replace Hong Kong
as a main product source for the US. However, Japan
remains the most advanced of the Asian countries with regard
to production of clothing, textiles, fibres and machinery. Mexico
and Turkey are also keen to get in on the action. Without
quota restriction, small exporting countries without an integrated
manufacturing set up will lose out against the big integrated
Environmentally friendly, natural products will become more
important in the future and Cargill Dow took to the Interstoff
platform for the Asia launch of its PLA corn based product Ingeo.
Tim Eynon and Dr.Jim Lunt of Cargill Dow described the advantages
of the recyclable and biodegradable product and envisage a large
amount of oil based PET will be replaced by PLA in the future.
Cargill Dow recently signed an agreement with Far Eastern of
Taiwan to supply Ingeo chips to make yarns and fabrics. India
and China will also be involved in marketing development in
the future. In Japan, Cargill Dow has been woirking with Unitika,
Kuraray, Kamebo and Toray for quite some time, and in Hong Kong
with Fountain Set since last year.
Another new natural product introduced at Interstoff Asia
was Luobuma , a fibre with a 5000 year history, collected from
the wilds of the Xinjiang Province. The plant has medicinal
and health boosting qualities, such as breathability, anti-bacterial,
UV protection, moisture absorbency, as well as stimulating circulation
and far-infrared benefits for cell repair and arthritis relief.
Luobuma also stands up to frequent washing very well, in fact,
tests prove that the qualities of the fibre actually improve.
The product is being promoted by the Xinjiang Green Health Luobuma
Co. The company currently produces 30 tons a year, which makes
up to 130 tons of product when mixed with other man-made and
natural fibres. At the moment, the plant can only be harvested
from November to March each year.
In addition to the various international sections, the product
pavilion featured the relatively new bodywear fabrics area.
The programme was introduced a few years ago, but has grown
considerably in size. This year the section boasted 30 exhibitors
and its own trends display area. Hyosung of Korea - producer
of elastane Creora - held court, exhibiting with seven of its
customers and holding fashin shows throughout the days. The
company used the show to promote its chlorine resistant Creora
H-250, antibacterial Creora C100B, heat resistant Creora C-300
and fluorescent H-100F. As leading supplier of elastane in Korea,
Hyosung holds more than 50 percent of the market share at home
and is now the second largest supplier in the world. Due to
high demand in China, the Shangai factory is expanding. Meanwhile,
outside the 'Hyosung zone', 19 companies exhibited under the
auspics of The Taiwan Textile Federation. Chifa Leather's busy
stand proved that despite a significant drop in the export of
man-made leather from Taiwan, it has managed to survive by going
upmarket, thus avoiding price competition with Chinese exhibitors.
The company has also diversified into functional performance
fabrics. Lower visitor figures were not an issue for another
Taiwanese exhibitor, Ruentex, as it had already presented its
new collection to main customers at Premiere Visionand Textworls
last February; although the company did manage to find new business
at the show. The collection incorporates UV protection, stain
resistance, quick dry and antibacterial functions into fashion
apparel fabrics, such as cotton, Tencel, rayon, ramie and linen.
Thai exhibitor figures diminished from 19 down to 12, due
to fear of the SARS virus, but Nan Yang was undeterred, promoting
its Dry-Tech Comfort System, in addition to stretch fabrics
with a cotton hand feel for sports, body and underwear. The
double layer Dry-Tech transmits, disperses and absorbs moisture,
resulting in a 50 per cent quicker dry time than cotton. The
Thai cottage industry is alive and well, in the form of Neoteric
Life Ltd. Specializing in handwoven cotton and silk fabrics
produced by villagers, the company offers advice and handles
the sales and marketing side. As the Japanese are always looking
for specialized, handcrafted items, it is the company's main
market at the moment.
It was only a decade ago that India and Taiwan were
the largest exhibiting groups, but this season it was the 100
plus companies from China, which dominated the show. Technology,
brought about through joint venture projects with foreign companies,
especially those from Japan and Taiwan, have improved the quality
of Chinese produced fabric and Chinese producers now attract
buyers on the lookout for value-for-money items. Although
most of the items were quite standard, there are some interesting
products to be found. Meisheng Cloth & Garments of Shaoxing
showed prints, bonding, embroidery and embossing on micro-suede
fabrics and Zhejiang Youlong Enterprises offered woven materials
with spandex. The company's dye cut moleskin was very popular
with European clients. Also from Zhejiang, Yong Tong Dyeing
and Weaving Co., exhibited a large variety of fabrics from denim
and flock to corduroy and embroidery. Japanese companies are
known for their strength in new product development. Kuraray
Trading carried a variety of new functional items, including
Airmint. Introduced last year, it is 40 per cent lighter than
polyester and is used particularly in sports, intimate and jeanswear.
Cool touch Sophista is excellent for innerwear as the quick
dry feature keeps the body cool; Space Master blocks harmful
rays and Panapak is anti-pilling, quick drying and is blended
with cotton in sportswear. Of the dozen or so European exhibitors,
Miroglio was busy right up until closing time, although Hans
Borrmann, area sales manager for Asia commented that it is usually
even busier. Eurojersey of Italy was hoping to catch the European
and American buyers, but not many came this time. Denim manufacturer
- Gap Guneydogu Tekstil - the sole manufacturer from Turkey,
returned again, as it found Interstoff Asia the best fair to
make contact with Asian Buyers. In general, exhibitors
who relied heavily on foreign buyers where affected, but many
companies were still able to meet old, new and potential clients.
The next edition will be held 7-9 Oct 2003.