What a pity! It took me nine years (and nine editions) of Future Fabrics Expo (FFE) until I paid this fabrics’ event my first visit this January.
Why a pity? Because the London showcase initiated by non-profit organization The Sustainable Angle would have been definitely worth a visit before. For different reasons.
Here it’s all about materials and accessories-from silk to wool, from cotton to leather, from (fake) fur to linen, from sequins to trims-with a clear focus on a more sustainable product sourcing and therefore obviously future-oriented.
It’s not only the sustainable approach that makes FFE a must-visit. It’s also the mix of technically and sustainably innovative products curated by The Sustainable Angle team, the range of exhibitors from all kinds of segments (including also big denim mills and manufacturers such as Kipas, Advance Denim, Anubha and Bossa) and the educative seminars and panels (that made visitors queue up to get a seat). The full load of information is presented in a very condensed yet comprehensive way.
And on a side note: it doesn’t hurt sometimes to see so many friendly faces in a very opened-up atmosphere.
From the start in a room at the London College of Fashion to moving to the 22,000-sq.-foot location at London’s Victoria House last year is quite a development. The historical and intricate building creates an intimate setting, though the location has clearly reached its capacity-and on the afternoon of the second day had to limit the number of entries for security reasons. For the upcoming edition the organizers consider moving to a bigger space–to host more visitors and eventually also more exhibitors than the current 40+ (including the main sponsors and partners Avery Dennison, Lenzing, Parley and Mirova).
It seems that the fashion future is young and female–at least when one has to sum up what the biggest part of visitors looks like. What a refreshing change to all other events where old and male dominates! But joking aside: it would be absolutely crucial that not only the merchandisers and designers or students (and also consumers) attend an event like FFE, but also more of the bosses and decision-makers.
What can instantly be observed is the high engagement that visitors show: “It’s an amazing event. People are really interested. They ask many questions and read all the information we provide”, says first-time exhibitor Silvia Rancani of The Denim Window.
“We see this as a journey,” says Johnston, “R&D is something that takes time and just now we start to see the results of fabric innovation developments that started ten to 15 years ago.” Though FFE’s approach is a very serious one, it is not about morals: “Everyone has to start at some point to produce more sustainably, and it’s our aim to encourage, educate, inspire and inform about new materials.”