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Survey of the European fabric fairs for autumn/winter 2023/24
published in Issue 216, December 2022
The European fabric fairs for the autumn/winter 2023/24 season were held in a hesitant spirit, reflecting economic uncertainties affecting the whole of the textile and clothing industry. The industry has faced persistent disruptions to supply chains caused by lockdowns imposed in major textile and clothing producing countries in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, the war in Ukraine has introduced additional challenges--including difficulties in procuring raw materials and sharp increases in fuel and energy costs. At the same time, calls for the European textile and clothing industry to take action to reduce the damaging impact of its operations on the environment have intensified. It was evident at the European fabric fairs that many exhibitors had acknowledged these calls in the development of their product ranges. Many had turned to eliminating dyes which contain harmful synthetic chemicals from their ranges while some had collaborated with innovators in the development of dyes which contain natural pigments, plant-based materials and, in some cases, fermented foodstuffs. For some exhibitors, it was important to replace finishing treatments containing toxic chemicals with finishing treatments which contain natural substances. For others, traceability and transparency were the key considerations in the design and development of their ranges. In terms of colour, fabrics at the fairs were rich and earthy--although there were some exceptions to this trend--and grey was prominent. In terms of print and pattern, fabrics at the fairs featured eccentric and fantastical graphic designs. As such, there was a notable trend away from delicate and modest print designs.
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