Every country that produces textiles has something that sets it apart from others. What is behind the hype about exhibitors from Japan at Intertextile? Iwashita Yuichi, director of the textile newspaper Sen-i-News, sees four key reasons for the popularity in China of textile suppliers from Japan: higher expectations among consumers in China, the demand for craftsmanship, flexible order services and reliability. Both Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen (4–6 July 2019) and the 25th Autumn Edition of Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics (25–27 September 2019) will dedicate a regional pavilion to Japan. Looking back at Intertextile Pavillion Shenzhen 2018, Wendy Wen, Senior General Manager Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, states: 'We were delighted to see an over 10% jump in the number of international exhibitors which was due to the growing participation from Taiwan and Japan, including the new Fine Japan zone. This growth proves the rising importance of the South China textile market.’
How does a designer brand stand out on a saturated fashion market? Textile producers worldwide are having to address this question. At last year's Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen, Ken Kanatani, Fabric Division Manager of Stylem Intl (HK), identified a shift: ‘In the last four years, the Chinese market has changed. Buyers don’t just want mainstream products – they want trendy and unique items, and they want them quickly so they can stay ahead of the trends.’ In order to stand out, designers are therefore increasingly turning to Japanese fabrics. What makes these materials so unique is impossible to imitate: traditional craftsmanship. Knowledge handed down through generation has now become a decisive selling point. Two fibres developed exclusively in Japan have attracted attention due in particular to the trend for sustainability: Triacetat and Cupro. Cupro is an environmentally-friendly fibre made from cotton linters, produced since 1931 by the Japanese supplier Asahikasei as its Bemberg brand. Soalon, a triacetate filament, is also produced exclusively in Japan; Mitsubishi Chemical Co. Ltd. started production in 1967 and since then it has been regarded as a game-changer in the industry. Both companies have in the past used Intertextile as a platform to promote their fibre brands in China.
At the Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen 2018 both domestic and overseas exhibitors noted a demand in today's fashion industry for smaller and quicker orders – a demand that the specialised companies in Japan are able to meet. 'In the past, we used to source all the fabrics we need in the beginning of the season, but now, we have divided the seasons so that we are more responsive to the market trends. Therefore, we often look for suppliers that accept small quantity orders. We have been sourcing more from the Japanese companies,' explained Ms Anne Chou, Creative Director of Design Esta Studio, Macau. Suppliers from Japan also offer excellent customer services and are thus regarded as reliable and responsible by brands from China.
This year both Intertextile trade shows provide first-class platforms for Japanese exhibitors looking to meet high-end Chinese fashion brands, as well as high quality overseas trade buyers. Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen will take place from 4–6 July 2019. The 25th Autumn Edition of Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics will be held from 25–27 September 2019 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai). Both trade shows are organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd; the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT and the China Textile Information Centre.
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