“Ecology,” “Denim” and “Design” were the key concepts of the “Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics- Autumn Edition 2014” held from Oct 20 to 23, 2014.

At the All about Sustainability zone, exhibitors lined up recycled and natural materials and were accompanied by 35 consulting companies with knowledge on sustainability. An educational section and EcoBoutique lining up ecological products were also available.

“Messe Frankfurt has been focusing on sustainability these past six years. With favorable feedback on last year’s presentation, the zone dedicated to the theme was expanded by 148%. This year’s presentation showed the entire manufacturing process of products using ecological materials to reach out to all players of the industry. With the improvement of techniques, quality is becoming better and costs are becoming lower. We believe that this sector will continue to grow,” explained Bernd Muller of Messe Frankfurt, the organizer of the fair. The zone is also scheduled to open at the spring fair this March.

From Japan, Chori Co., Ltd. exhibited its eco-conscious dyeing process and functional materials with a mix of triacetate, manufactured from cellulose. At the EcoBoutique, sportswear designed with 100% recycled polyester fibers by Unifi from the US, and winning works of the EcoChic Design Award organized by the NGO Redress since 2011 were introduced.

Bluesign Technologies is a consulting firm headquartered in Switzerland, which provides proposals on sustainability policies. Its original Bluesign system is adopted by many corporations. According to the Asian rep, many of the outdoor and sports brands have already implemented the system and the number of companies interested from the apparel industry is on the rise.

At the international conference held during the fair, reps from each group stated that ecological and organic textiles may be the solution to the slowdown in economic growth of the Chinese apparel industry.

The Verve for Design comprised of design studios was enlarged by 56% in comparison to the previous year given the increase in demand for quality in the design of textiles. A total of 21 design studios from Italy, Spain, the UK and Australia took part.

“In order for Chinese brands to develop into high-end global brands, high quality designs that differentiate them from others are essential. Designs fusing print and embroidery as well as those following Europe and America’s trends are most popular,” said a rep from London-based Circleline Design Studio. The designs provided by this studio were more expensive in comparison to the others but that did not make them any less desirable.

Likewise for the Beyond Denim booth, the section was expanded by 25% given the rise in demand for denim. The new hall designed by the NellyRodi Agency from France showcased the latest trends and processing techniques pertaining to denim.