Optimism pervaded the latest edition of Munich Fabric Start and BlueZone from Sept. 1-3 at Munich’s M.O.C. (Munich Order Centre) in which fabrics for the f/w 2010-11 season were unveiled. Though official results have yet to be confirmed, the fair’s atmosphere was lively and the event crowded with visitors.

Following a quiet first day, the BlueZone denim-dedicated section became busier from the second day on and was visited mostly by German fashion, jeanswear and casualwear insiders as well as several international ones, including Acne Jeans (Sweden) and Next (UK). BlueZone hosted 57 exhibitors, nine of which were newcomers, such as Swift, the French denim weaver.

Visitors and exhibitors of BlueZone were glad for the slightly improved global economy. It saw a slight restart in orders from the US as well as several Asian countries.

Despite this, the European and Mediterranean denim industry continue to suffer at all levels – brand names, full-package manufacturers and denim weavers are registering stagnancy in consumption and orders.

Several denim manufacturers see some light on the horizon. “I don’t think there’s euphoria around, nor are we out of recession days, though systemic panic seems calm and the economic system is back to work,” said Thomas Disslich, CEO Vicunha Europe. “After cutting orders, production and productive capacity we are all going back to activity. Already by the end of the year, creativity will be lively again and the next trade show appointments will return to be inspiring.”

Chandrkant Huddar, Deputy General Manager of Sales at Raymond Uco Denim, added: “Business is gradually growing again and we expect this development to continue in the coming months. Denim still sells better than all other ready-to-wear segments.”

Sebastian Klinder, Managing Director Munich Fabric Start, showing his appreciation for the show’s results, explained: “Once again this time the hall is fully booked and exhibitor structure is stable. Not only the number of exhibitors but also stand sizes have remained constant. And the fair can be relied upon for its functionality and quality standards.”

Among the new trends and products, several items in particular were a hit. There was power stretch, a superlight stretch denim weighing 6-1/2 to 10 oz and employing up to 40% elasthane for skinny jeans. Its strongest appeal was achieved with black and blue stone-washed denims. Hellenic Fabrics and Bossa Denim noted that companies appreciated this product.

Also new was a wide offering of gray denims by Hellenic Fabrics and a group of easy-to-age brown and green denims by ITV. Vintage denim is back for ITV with a series of archive denims and indigo jerseys looking like denim. Tejidos Royo launched its new Hybrid Denim range of 55% cotton and 45% Tencel eco-friendly denims made to be treated and look like authentic denim but with softer hands, all achieved by using natural substances.

And among the new services offered by Munich Fabric Start was the new Organic Selection forum. This sourcing area presented inside hall 3 showed 320 certified articles among fabrics and accessories produced by 30 different manufacturers. Each product has been analyzed and “labeled” with distinct “organic icons” indicating how environmentally-friendly they are, according to raw material and productive standards. The new service is meant to suggest how company can smartly upgrade their products to face aggressive low-cost competitors with better quality, healthier and more forward-minded products. Environmental friendliness cannot be copied so easily.

There was also a full-packaging area hosted inside the Asia salon pavilion. This new section presented some full-package providers with international experience.

Midway through the trade event was a special dance and show designed to bring everyone together. Dancers, martial artists and trapeze created a spectacle at Kesselhaus, with special wind machines in particular powered by artists to make fabrics come alive. Another group of multitasking artists and African drums made for a unique night out.

—Maria Cristina Pavarini