Shenzhen, China – The fashion industry in South China is alive and well if the results of last month’s Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen are any indication. Located in China’s ladieswear hub, the fair underscored not only the energy in the local market, but also a number of trends in both the domestic and international apparel fabrics and accessories industries. “Once again this fair proved its high value to the industry, as its focus on the South China ladieswear market continues to pay off,” Ms Wendy Wen, Senior General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd explained. “With thousands of designer brands based in the city, ranging from small labels to large country-wide players, and more emerging all the time as online becomes more prevalent and companies look to expand their product lines to stay ahead of changes in the industry, this fair is the ideal place for ladieswear suppliers to exhibit at given this market continues to perform strongly in China. The fair’s timing, between the two traditional sourcing periods for the industry, also provides added value to exhibitors and buyers as fashion brands look to speed up their sourcing processes.”
While the buyer number dropped slightly this edition to 15,608 from 36 countries and regions, the organisers’ efforts to attract more buyers that match exhibitors’ targets are clearly paying off. Buyers from nearby Hong Kong – many of them representing international fashion brands who have sourcing offices in the city – rose 88% compared to 2016, while those from South China – the main target for most exhibitors given the strength of ladieswear in the region – rose 34%. Just some of the leading domestic and international brands that sourced at the 2017 fair included 6ixty 8ight, Anzheng Fashion, Ellassay, Embry Form, Giordano, Jeanswest, Marisfrolg, Metersbonwe, Miss Sixty, Ochirly, Peacebird, Ports, Purcotton, Skechers, Urban Revivo, Westlink, Yinger Fashion Group and Zara. In total, 721 exhibitors from seven countries and regions took part in the fair.
New exhibitors discover market’s potential and fair’s strong buyer profile
To grab a slice of the lucrative South China pie is no doubt a key goal for exhibitors of Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen, and the surge of quality buyers this edition as well as exhibitors’ pleasing results once again proves the potential of this market. Exhibiting for the first time, STYLEM, one of the largest Japanese players, highly valued this fair as a channel to meet new designer brands in China, and was thrilled with the results. Its President Mr Suetaka Yasuda commented: “80% of the visitors we met on the first day were new contacts to us, and we see strong business potential in them. The new generation of brand designers are fascinated with textiles and are always seeking new materials. They are very sensitive to fashion and have good understanding of the product quality.” Mr Yasusda also shared his optimism of the South China market, saying: “There are around 6,000 designer brands in China and many of them are located in Shenzhen, so the South China market contains abundant opportunities for us to seize.”
Looking to break into China, another new Japanese exhibitor Bon Co Ltd took their first successful step in the market at the fair. Its Sales Section Representative Mr Kenji Sasakura explained: “We’ve found quite a lot of new business opportunities here. We had around 200 visitors and conducted about 150 meetings. One of the big Hong Kong buyers we met was licenced to a French brand and also produces its own brand, while they own around 30 stores in China and 15 in Hong Kong.” Reviewing the buyers’ quality and feedback, Mr Sasakura said the company is even more optimistic about tapping into the China market: “This is a profitable market with robust demand for high-quality overseas materials and strong buying power. Two of our products – botanical dyed yarns and paper yarns – were very popular in the fair and received many enquiries even though they are relatively expensive. We found that the buyers here are more quality-oriented and have a good understanding of the value of our products. This is a good start to our business in China.”
Targeting Chinese garment manufacturers for high-end fashion brands, Korean knit supplier Walden Corp. was another first-time exhibitor. “I see huge potential in South China as there are many garment markers located here,” said Mr Oscar Shin, General Manager. “I’m glad to get in touch with many high-quality and name-brand buyers from both Hong Kong and Guangdong, especially because a number of them are likely to turn into further business cooperation.”
Also taking advantage of South China’s rising demand for overseas products was a returning exhibitor, Takashima Orimono from Hong Kong. Its Representative Ms Winnie Tam said: “The demand is constantly growing because the Chinese consumer is demanding higher quality products. Since we joined this fair, we’ve been able to meet with a number of high-quality buyers and brands from both Hong Kong and Mainland China, and this year is no exception.”
Timing and location of fair offer more opportunities to exhibitors
While the promising market situation and the fair’s visitor profile generated a profitable business backdrop for exhibitors, many fair participants, including buyers, said its timing and location added value to their business and sourcing. Exhibiting in an apparel textile fair for the first time, Taiwan’s functional apparel manufacturer Red Dragon Inc not only took advantage of the promising South China market and the fair’s strong industry reputation to explore new fashion brand customers, but also to discover new material suppliers. Its Project Manager Ms Lydia Lee believes having the fair between the two traditional sourcing seasons is needed to cater to the intensive product development and production process. “As an apparel manufacturer ourselves, we’ve experienced the accelerating product development and manufacturing in recent years. Unlike the past, many brands and garment makers are just about to design new products and find new manufacturing mills around this time of the year. As such, Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen is held at a good time which creates an extra platform to source and seize new opportunities.” Ms Lee also said they had found more than 20 potential genuine clients, including international brand agents and manufacturers from Hong Kong and some domestic fashion brands, which achieved the company’s exhibiting goals.
Ms Tam from Takashima Orimono shared similar thoughts, saying: “Sourcing is no longer limited to the two main seasons; brands and manufacturers today are launching new products throughout the whole year. Plus, the China market is huge, and the sourcing time for the South and the North is slightly different. That’s why having this fair in July offers an additional chance for us to capture more business opportunities.” She also praised the fair location: “The city’s reputation as China’s fashion capital attracts many important buyers to attend.” Also from Hong Kong, label manufacturer Cherson Technologies Ltd favoured the fair location as well, with its Representative Mr Eric Lee commenting: “It’s beneficial to locate the fair in Shenzhen. During these two days, we had a lot of visitors coming from Dongguan, Guangzhou and other South China cities, and got to meet with fashion brands of all ranges. Heilan Home, the famous Chinese company, was very interested in our products and had a long meeting with us.”
Mr JungIn Wee, Deputy General Manager of Korea Textile Center’s Marketing Department, agreed: “It’s very obvious there were more buyers coming from Shenzhen and Guangzhou including various foremost ladieswear brands, and international trading companies and buying offices. This fair has helped us to connect with several well-known Chinese brands, BBLLUUEE being just one of them.” Despite having a branch office in Shanghai, Mr JunWan Ryu, Representative of Korea’s Gyeonggi Textile Center, said it was still very important to exhibit in the Shenzhen fair because of its proximity to their key clients. Mr Ryu explained: “Thanks to the fair location, we could connect with many more brand buyers from Hong Kong and South China. These two groups of buyers are particularly important to our exhibitors from Gyeonggi.”
Fair’s timing in-sync with changes to buyers’ sourcing calendars
Confirming the success of the 2017 edition, buyers’ feedback echoed that of exhibitors’. Mr Gary Kellmann, CEO of KDK Technology Ltd, an apparel manufacturing management company, led his team from the Shenzhen office to source materials for their clients’ new product development. He said: “We are always looking to do something new, and we like that the fair isn’t held during the traditional sourcing seasons because it’s an advantage for us to be able to find something new, perhaps even ahead of our competitors.”
Visiting from Hong Kong, Ms Cindy L.S. Chan, Purchasing Officer of Wide Eagle Garment Mfg Ltd said the fair is increasingly important because: “Our clients are always requesting new materials and we need to source new fabrics throughout the whole year. As a result, having this fair between the traditional seasons is very beneficial and useful to us.” Sharing similar feedback, domestic buyer Mr Ma, Representative of Yuwei Apparel Ltd, said: “Although July didn’t use to be the peak season for the apparel and textile industry, it’s a good time to develop new products for the coming season. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to visit this fair to get some new ideas and make some small orders. The product range is satisfactory as I’ve found my target products.”
Sourcing all kinds of ladieswear fabrics, particularly for Zara’s ladieswear range, ITX Trading S.A. HK Representative Office’s Merchandiser Ms Amy Li was also delighted with her trip, saying: “We’re looking for new materials throughout the whole year, so it’s good to have this fair with the latest sourcing ideas. We’ve found around 20 new suppliers from Taiwan and Mainland China.”
The next Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen will take place in mid-July 2018 at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center again. The next Messe Frankfurt apparel fabrics and accessories fair in China is Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Autumn Edition 2017 which will be held from 11 – 13 October.
Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen is organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd; the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT; the China Textile Information Centre; and the Shenzhen Garment Industry Association.
Source: Messe Frankfurt