Revamped areas for denim and technology are among the highlights planned for the 41st edition of Munich Fabric Start taking place Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at the MOC Munich Order Center. The three-day event will present collections for the Autumn/Winter 2017-2018 season alongside comprehensive forums dedicated to trends and color organized by fashion stories.

The show welcomes more than 1,000 international exhibitors from 37 countries–a record—and once again, is completely book. In spite of the growing interest and high demand, Claudia Gossen, Munich Fabric Start director of marketing and communications, says the show has worked hard to maintain the high standards of the trade fair.

An extensive portfolio of new and improved innovations, inspirations and exclusive developments in wovens, wool, silk, cotton, blends and synthetics will be presented. The spectrum ranges from high-quality basics to fine haute couture fabrics to raw denim.

Additionally, leaders from the denim industry, including representatives from Candiani, Lenzing, Archroma, Tonello and more, will gather on the first day to discuss ways companies can build sustainability into each aspect of their supply chain.

“We go into great detail with the different product segments and are striving to install individual forums, each with a specific, product-oriented lifestyle ambience,” Gossen said.

RIVET: How would you define your visitor target group?
Gossen: The more than 20,000 visitors per season include buyers, product managers and designers from Germany and abroad. We are proud to repeatedly welcome strong companies and brands with their teams.

Many Munich Fabric Start visitors seek information on initial collection programs at the early View Premium Selection in July and December of each year, so that they can return to Munich well-informed and prepared approximately two months later. That speaks not only for the premium offerings, but also for the appropriate timing of both events.

RIVET: What are the strengths of the event?
Gossen: One of the strengths of Munich Fabric Start is unquestionably its unique format. This trade fair has never been a simple presentation area—it has also always been a communication and service platform for our suppliers. We see ourselves as an interactive communication area with highly innovative and future-oriented potential for the creation of solutions to current market challenges—always with a world-class level of service and performance.

An additional strength is certainly the fact that we, as a family business, are able to make decisions quickly. Then there’s the great advantage of the location, which, with its structural development allowed for the expansion of Munich Fabric Start from five to seven halls in very little time.

RIVET: What denim-relevant events or highlights should denim buyers and designers know about?
Gossen: With 100 denim and sportswear vendors, the Bluezone area is more booked than ever, and will now fill two halls due to the high demand. As usual, 75 brands will show their latest developments for denim and sportswear in hall 7 at All Star Mills, rounded off with flats, cords, washed and dyed variations, as well as sophisticated branding spanning trendy closures to labels. In Catalyzer, the new hall, 25 exhibitors will present their product portfolio with a focus on heritage, passion and sustainability. In addition, there will be an extensive supporting program featuring lectures and live workshops.

RIVET: What’s new about the presentation form at Bluezone?
Gossen: New is, for one thing, the expansion into two halls. We had already revamped the stand concept for Bluezone a season ago. The design is lighter, brighter and more transparent, with a mix of modern and traditional elements. We have now optimized this design and made it even more open, creating an aesthetically perfect space for communication and exchange and, at the same time, for intensive business.

Catalyzer is impressive with its unique architecture. A massive stonewall meets lightness by way of generous sky domes and open steel beams. What remains is the unique original division of the space.

RIVET: Describe Keyhouse and the benefits the area offers to attendees.
Gossen: In Keyouse (the new hall 5), progressive suppliers and global players from diverse fields stage an epicenter of creativity and innovation.

On 1,000 square metres, trendsetting smart textiles, future fabrics, and technologies will be presented. Next to macro trends, new technologies and solution processes, the portfolio positioned here consists of sustainable and future-proof products and projects. Moreover, expert workshops and round table discussions, as well as trend seminars and lectures, will take place here. We will also be presenting the High Tex Award for the first time here. The award recognizes the most innovative fabric developments.

RIVET: What level of influence did Panos Sofianos bring to the development of Bluezone?
Gossen: We are very happy to have been able to add Panos Sofianos and his high level of expertise to the Munich Fabric Start team. His comprehensive know-how regarding denim, as well as his proven market knowledge, are a valuable contribution to us and have a lasting influence on the performance of the Bluezone. Of course, the layout and structure of Catalyzer also greatly benefited from his expertise.

In the end, however, it is the overall performance of our international team of creatives and experts that we have to thank for their enormous commitment. And very special thanks go to our creative director, Frank Junker, for the truly ingenious and impressive area and hall design.

RIVET: Why is the right time to shine a spotlight on denim?
Gossen: Munich Fabric Start is extremely diverse in the various segments of textile offerings from fabrics to accessories. A clear division of the different segments is part of our corporate strategy. This also means a strengthening of the respective product groups.

One of these product groups is denim and sportswear. Even in the past, Bluezone has always had a strong presence and was initiated as the first of the denim-dedicated trade shows. It is and has been a permanent objective for us to give this dynamic and explosive market a young, progressive platform. By expanding Bluezone with Catalyzer, we have reacted to the current market trend and the great demand from the vendors. We see it as our duty, however, not only to react, but also to provide impetus and set new courses that promote business and ideally support our partners.
We are extremely happy that the media is showing such great interest in this restructuring and giving it so much coverage. It shows how important and appropriate it is to have the courage to change and to consistently turn the resulting innovations into extraordinary formats. We have done so with our characteristic self-conception of perfection and uniqueness.

RIVET: Are there other areas that visitors will enjoy?
Gossen: As mentioned, we place great importance on the profiling of the individual segments. You will find a broad spectrum of accessories and trims. At the upcoming event, 280 well-known trims companies will show their product line for the A/W 17-18 season.

Once again, the spectrum of functional and performance fabrics, such as jacquards, prints, embroideries, as well as innovative fabrics and stitch structures, from the 85 producers in Asia Salon is very impressive. The group of Chinese vendors has a strong presence for the upcoming season.

The Design Studios, with their modern studio ambience, are also well booked for the upcoming show. Twenty well-known international design studios and trend offices will show their ideas and implementations for unusual prints, patterns and designs for the A/W 17-18 season.

An additional segment that we are always drawing attention to is the Organic Selection, now located in Keyhouse for the first time. This modern sustainability area for innovations is augmented by expert partners from the leading certification and non-profit organizations, who will be present on site to discuss individual solution approaches.

The Trend and Colour Forum areas have also been expanded in size. The presentation of trends and samples, including the latest menswear inspirations, now covers the entire foyer, arranged thematically according to the three major trend and styling directions of the season, and complemented by individually designed Colour Forums. An additional, expanded installation is located in the new Keyhouse.

Last but not least, there’s our largest and most important segment, Fabrics for Women and Men. Following the successful start of View Premium Selection into the A/W 17-18 season, Munich Fabric Start presents the final collections from some 800 international fabric manufacturers, spread over two halls and three stories of the MOC.