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Messe Frankfurt explains its activities to promote textile sustainability in New York

7 Jun 2022

With its events for the textile sector, Messe Frankfurt makes Sustainable Development Goals transparent on a global scale. Accordingly, it cooperates with the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network and the UN Office for Partnerships. On 2 June, the international platform came together for its first annual meeting at the headquarters of the United Nations.

Under the name Texpertise Network, Messe Frankfurt has been drawing attention to sustainability at its global textile events for over 15 years by, for example, publishing special trade-fair guides, initiating panel discussions, offering guided tours to exhibitors with appropriate product portfolios, compiling material galleries with sustainable textile innovations and holding events such as Neonyt, which focuses solely on sustainable fashion. Since 2019, the fair and exhibition company has been collaborating with the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network and the UN Office for Partnerships to spotlight the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its textile events around the world and thus contribute to their achievement in the fashion and textile industry. Comprising representatives of the fashion and lifestyle sector, the media, governments and UN agencies, the international network came together for its first annual meeting at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York on 2 June. Among the participants: the Texpertise Network of Messe Frankfurt.

Considering the fashion and lifestyle sector’s significant impact on societies and the environment, the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network Annual Meeting will review how the platform is fostering transparent, inclusive, and transformative engagement of global stakeholders to drive urgent action for sustainability. Its key objective is to mobilize expertise, innovation, technology, and resources towards a sustainable and inclusive COVID-19 recovery, with the Sustainable Development Goals as a guiding framework.

In a panel discussion, Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies of Messe Frankfurt, Sara Kozlowski, Vice President Education and Sustainability Initiatives of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Sergio Fernández de Córdova, Chair of the PVBLIC Foundation, and Roberta Marcenaro, CEO of IMARK strategy consultants and strategy expert of POLIMODA, spoke about the importance of partnerships and cooperation for the achievement of sustainable development goals. The discussion was chaired by Lucie Brigham, Chief of Office of the United Nations Office for Partnerships and co-founder of the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network.

“The textile industry is characterised by stark contrasts. In the sector, one can find both traditional handicrafts skills and high-tech with fully digitalised and automated production processes. At the same time, delivery chains are more complex and interlinked on a global scale than in virtually any other industry. Sustainability can only be achieved in close cooperation with the right partners”, said Olaf Schmidt during the discussion. “As the organisers of fairs and exhibitions, we cannot directly cause the textile industry to become more sustainable. However, this is not the main aim of the Texpertise Network of Messe Frankfurt. Our aims are different: We offer platforms for networking and bring together the right partners at some 60 textile events around the world. We create visibility by providing a stage for the industry to spotlight its commitment to sustainability. We offer education and knowledge transfer at numerous conferences and discussion events revolving around the subject of sustainability. And we set a good example – with our worldwide campaigns focusing on the SDGs, we have reached an estimated 9,200 exhibitors and 195,500 visitors – and did so even during the pandemic.”

Together with Messe Frankfurt in New York were representatives of the following textile and fashion companies and organisations: Hugo Boss, Heiq, Ocean Safe, Lectra, Madewell and KTC Korea Textile Center. Other speakers at the event included Arch and Hook, Catcher in the Style, Calik Denim, DRESSX, Fashion Impact Fund, Fashion Revolution, Jakarta Fashion Week, Lenzing, Lycra, nft now, People Tree, Remake, Saheli Women, Sourcing Journal, The Business of Fashion, Timberland, Tech Crunch, Textile Exchange, Transformers Foundation, The Canvas Global, Vogue and WWD, as well as designers such as Anyango Mpinga, Gabriela Hearst, Patrick McDowell and Shivam Punjya.

The next opportunities to find out in depth about the textile value chain, including innovative textile materials, production processing and furnishing and contract textiles, as well as sustainable fashion, will be offered by the three leading international trade fairs, Techtextil, Texprocess and Heimtextil Summer Special, from 21 to 24 June 2022 and the first D-to-C edition of Neonyt, the Neonyt Lab in Frankfurt from 24 to 26 June 2022.


Information about the international textile sector and the textile trade fairs of Messe Frankfurt around the world:

Information about Heimtextil, Techtextil, Texprocess and Neonyt

Background information on Messe Frankfurt

The Messe Frankfurt Group is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. The Group employs approximately 2,300* people at its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and in 30 subsidiaries around the world. In 2021, the company had to contend with the challenges posed by the pandemic for the second consecutive year. Annual sales will be approximately €140* million after having been as high as €736 million in 2019 before the pandemic. Even in difficult times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we are globally networked with our industry sectors. We have close ties with our industry sectors and serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of the Group’s key USPs is its closely knit global sales network, which extends throughout the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are expanding our digital expertise with new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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* Preliminary figures for 2021