After many previous visits, my last trip to Paris for the February textile show opened my eyes to things I've never noticed before. And it was surely different from my trip to Shanghai last October.
The Premiere Vision show,Worldwide clothes designers show, in Paris started in 1973, and it is still one of the most European shoes for the clothing sector. The show in Shanghai started just few years ago due to the demanding market requests for a new bigger source and lower prices outside EUROPE.
The Premiere Vision takes place in the PARC DES EXPOSITIONS, PARIS NORD VILLEPINTE, about 45 minutes outside the heart of Paris, while Intertextile SHANGHAI APPAREL SHOW takes place in the new International Expo Center.
On the train from the center of Paris to Villepinte, after a great croissant and a caffe' creme, I started looking around me to discover all these new designers,various international garment brands, a new fashion generation trying to develop trendy womans clothing that will surely need to compare prices and offers with the ASIAN market immediately after their stay in Europe.
Back in the days, the show was more about the beauty, fashion trendy clothing, and the novelties rather than the current price issues and all the production limits connected to it. The requests, the products, the production numbers, many things changed since then (cotton textile production ,apparel manufacturing articles, raw material costs, apparel fabric manufacturers prices..) . I was fresh in the textile business when I started to travel to the Paris show about 10 years ago, but I still remember the different feeling and the more optimistic attitude of the Italian mills exhibiting there with the stands full of customers and the pages of the book notes full of sample yardages requests.
Today the Italian mills, and italian apparel manufacturers are very worried about and discouraged by the Asian competition. Many of them shut down entirely. Still, I read on the review that there were 43,278 visitors in Paris this time with a 73% increase, as well as 713 exhibitors. Good results, but do we all have an idea about the new ASIAN NUMBERS today? The SHANGHAI show , many of apparel manufacturers in China Included, can contain 2,033 Exhibitors and 52,000 visitors from 97 Countries with 33% increase... It is a very international vision! The show ticket in Paris costs 49,00 Euros at the entrance, while the SHANGHAI show is free of charge. Walking inside and looking at the nice and very interesting European trends, apparel design and wholsale agents, I asked to myself, how long can the creativity of these little mills keep on holding the confrontation and advantages that Asia is able to offer?
While Asia has their fast brand new trains, cheaper hotel rates, and more affordable restaurants, the Paris show remains as one of the most expensive shows and business trips in the industry.
As a textile agent selling in NYC, I honestly felt that for now it is still very important to keep both visions very updated. European and Asian markets,and the process of manufacturing fabric together, keep on confronting the possibilities and knowing the products offered very well. Still, I find it important to be able to go back and forward between the special European finishing and the big capacity and price value offered in Asia, but I am very interested in seeing what is going to happen next. And most importantly, how soon will it be?
Lilia Di Lauro