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Interstoff Asia Essential - a successful event

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Exhibitors, buyers and designers alike unanimously agree – after 25 years Interstoff Asia Essential continues to be the region’s pioneering fashion, functional and eco textiles trade event leading Hong Kong’s industry in terms of design and innovation. Ending on 16 March 2012, the spring edition welcomed 7,625 visitors worldwide, an 8% rise from the previous year.

To commemorate the show’s silver anniversary, Hong Kong designers Dorian Ho, Chen Dao and fashion brands Modele de Prudence and WHOSTHAT presented their Spring\Summer 2012 collections to nearly 1,000 guests and press on days one and two of the fair. This season, 14 exhibitors supplied their fabrics including Prosperity Lace from Taiwan who worked with both Dorian Ho and Modele de Prudence.

During the welcome ceremony before the fashion shows, Mr Zhang Yan Kai, Vice President of the China Textile Industry Federation optimistically said: “This fair has always been at the leading edge of the textile industry, especially nurturing design talent and enhancing exchange and industry development between Hong Kong and Mainland China.”

In addition to the fashion events, a key attraction was the forum on Trends and Developments in China’s Apparel and Textile Industry with nearly 200 attending delegates.

One of the guest speakers at the forum, Mr Ray Lau, Director and Deputy General Manager for Jeanswest International HK Ltd shared his views on how to cope with the current industry developments between the two neighboring regions. “25 years in the industry is indeed a remarkable achievement and I am honoured to have been invited to discuss practical information as well as offer a fresh perspective.”

Equally as important were the new partnerships with the Hong Kong Institute of Textile and Apparel (HKRITA), China National Textile & Apparel Council (CNTAC), Taiwan Textile Federation (TTF) and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), who jointly organised the Technology Zone, a display area highlighting new garment applications and innovative spinning, finishing and foam dyeing technology products.

“We are proud to represent Hong Kong and we treasure this opportunity to showcase our innovative products – this collaboration is a value-added service for textile industry, who have given us genuine feedback and we hope to work with some of the buyers we met on-site,” commented Mr Barry Tai, Business Development Manager of The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel.

“It’s certainly a great achievement for us to collaborate with a number of industry heavyweights in China and Hong Kong, helping us forge towards further building Interstoff Asia Essential’s positioning parallel to the region’s industry needs,” stated Mr Detlaf Braun, Member of the Executive Board for Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

A positive trend recorded was the increase of participating trading companies and buying offices and a growing number of buyers fromChina. Ningbo Huayi Garments, K-Boxing, Septwolves and Shenzhen Eeka Fashion were among the domestic Chinese brands sourcing at the fair.

“After meeting many Chinese sportswear brands, we are confident in joining this fair again in the future,” commented Mr Kim Heon, International Division Manager of Quantum Energy Co Ltd, a high performance and functional fabrics supplier from Korea.

Among the top ten visiting countries were Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Japan, the US, Indonesia, Thailand and India. Overall, close to 50% of attending buyers were from Hong Kong. Meanwhile the remaining buyers represented garment manufacturers, designers, wholesalers/retailers and press.

Representatives of major fashion labels and high-street retailers came in their droves to see what new and innovative products were on offer. Buyers recorded on-site included American Eagle Outfitters Asia, Ann Taylor Sourcing, Adidas, Benetton, Burberry, Charming Shoppes, Columbia Sportswear, Cortefiel Commercial SA, Debenhams HK Ltd, Eddie Bauer, Esprit De Corp, Esquel Group, Forever 21, Fornari International, H&M , Hanes brands, L.L. Bean, Marks & Spencer, Macy’s Merchandising, Moiselle, Otto Int’l, Perry Ellis, Phillips Van Heusen, Puma, Tommy Hilfiger, Quicksilver, Rebecca Taylor, Reitmans (Canada), S.Oliver, Sears Holdings, Tangs Department Store, Victoria Secret, Tesco, Target Brands, Toppy, Triumph International, Zara and many more.

“It’s been better than expected! I’ve met with buyers from All Saints, DKNY, Lacoste and Li & Fung already,” said Florence Kwok, General Manager for Toray Industries HK Ltd, a knitted fabrics and woven fibre supplier from Japan.

This year 246 suppliers from 13 countries and regions showcased a wide variety of fashion, functional and eco textiles as well as accessories on 8,000 sqm of exhibition space. Participating companies and designers represented Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Kenya, Macau, Mauritius, Pakistan as well as special six country and region pavilions from Africa, China, India, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

For the first time, eight companies from Africa showcased a variety of organic and fair trade cotton including Craft AID (Mauritius Co Ltd, Enterprise Mauritius, Palmer Limitee Knits, Palmer Limitee Wven, Star Knitwear Group Ltd, Tamk Textile Ltd, Texto Limitee and World Knits Ltd.

“We have all been very happy to see some well-known buyers and are pleased to make our debut in Hong Kong as we’re hoping to offer buyer more African sourcing opportunities globally,” said pavilion organiser, Mr JC Mazingue from USAID, a US agency providing assistance to countries in need worldwide.

Buyers also responded positively to the debut pavilion: “I am impressed with the Origin Africa pavilion. This international landscape is at the core value of what all textile trade fairs should possess – not just a sourcing point for new products but also an opportunity to explore diversified business possibilities worldwide,” praised Ms Flora Lai, Director of Ralph Lauren Sourcing Company Ltd.

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