The 28th edition of Munich Fabric Start continued to grow the show’s influence in the textile world, with 730 international fabric and textile accessories manufacturers converging on Munich’s M.O.C. for the three-day event.

The show, widely considered a traditional appointment for German apparel and textile insiders, also registered visits from new foreign countries. Fashion insiders from as far as Finland and Ireland were also present for this edition. That is a clear indication that the event is widening its approach to include more offerings from manufacturers, offer better timing, and even eco-friendly initiatives as its “organic selection” continues to grow its popularity.

Significantly, some 60 specialists in jeanswear including denim manufacturers, fabric finishers and laundries were on site to showcase their offerings in the Zenith Hall, otherwise known as Blue Zone.

Previews for S/S 11 began, particularly for Blue Zone, on a quiet note, then grew more lively in the following days. According to insiders, the event remained significant to exhibitors and insiders for a number of reasons. “Participating in Blue Zone is always fruitful for us,” said Juan Josè Lopez from Tejidos Royo’s product department. “When we fix 40 appointments at this trade show, we have 40 orders coming in. It is quite different from what happens at Denim by PV. There, you receive more visits, but seldom you can write orders,” he said.

That said, the denim business is transforming. It is no coincidence that fewer European companies attended Blue Zone and that more Asian and non-European ones were there. “Blue Zone shows that the denim business is undergoing reorganization,” said a fair spokesperson, “and collections are looking to sharpen their profile in order to virtually head back to the roots. One of the principal themes and hallmarks of the denim elite and its suppliers is that creativity must be paired with substance, which means that the industry needs to guarantee good fabric quality.”

Among the Japanese manufacturers Nihon Menpu Textile presented a widely, innovative collection. It offered organic cotton denims, cotton-hemp denims, chambrays with linen optics, double-face chambrays (checked on the one side and plain on the other), as well as denims with viscose color contrast wefts for outstanding surface effects. It also presented special applications of prints and materials such as aged, paper-like fabrics. Hellenic Fabrics offered a series of vintage crease-effected denims, while Royo focused on a new range of stretch fabrics with up to 15% elasticity. It’s also developed Softcell, a soft, drapy series of denim-like fabrics containing Tencel.

Isko, supported by the arrival of its new global brand manager Marco Lucietti, believes in the importance of brand value and image enhancing through increased visibility and wider product offerings. “We have chosen to create a new, ‘joined up’ and coherent branding strategy with the aim of remaining aligned with the top end of the market. Above all, we believe in the important values in terms of quality, style, innovation our products offer the client. That’s why we want to enhance our role as ‘quality ingredient brand’ through marketing communications initiatives that can add brand value to product value.” Among some of Isko’s new developments are super lightweight denims (6-1/2 oz.) meant for jeggings that are comfortable and well suited to every woman’s body. Also new is special comfort stretch for men and an “Indigofera Cult” finish that adds indigo coating to denim for new vintage effects with a modern twist.

Proving that the denim market is evolving, Italdenim announced the appointment of John Katsianis, formerly at Hellenic Fabrics, as its new GM.

Said Thomas Disslich, CEO, Vicunha Europe, on the industry’s apparent recovery: “I think that we are all conscious of the fact that the industry is on the road back to something normal. Many companies have reduced their stocks and are not producing so much as in the past. Moreover, the higher prices of cotton [has resulted in fewer] products around. In general, nobody wants to run too much risk and people rather prefer to put their ‘chips’ on proven formulas, also in terms of trends.”

According to Disslich, resin and wax treatments will continue to be key, as well as power stretch (8-10 oz.) and lightweight fabrics (5-7 oz.). In terms of long-term trends, Disslich believes that true jeans has somehow disappeared in recent times and thinks that might come back in the next seasons.

“I think that in a moment when brands are suffering and vertical chains are getting significant market quotas, I think we might see a true jeans reawakening, as a counter trend. And trendwise, after all the gray and black more fashion-driven denim products, there might be a comeback to blue as well as a return to heavier rigid denims,” he said.

In the meantime, accessories companies aiming at the jeanswear market at MFS offered new complements such as Madeira's stitching and embroidery yarns and a wider series of yarns in various metallic shades that do not ruin or leave color marks on denim or leather even after multiple washes. It also developed a special wool-synthetic fiber mix yarn for a rustic effect and yarns blended with material obtained from tree barks for more ethnic decorations. MIC, the sewing threads manufacturer meanwhile, presented a special shiny thread that, too, after a heavy wash, maintains its luster.

—Maria Cristina Pavarini