Indications of what the textiles-apparel-fashion industry would look like in the next decade would be seen at the week-long ITMA 2019 which gets under way later this month.

Every four years, the global textiles-apparel-fashion industry converges at ITMA. If there are a number of #mustattend events out there, this would be the mother of them all. It is an event that in many ways not only shapes the future of industry, but just living as well.

And as the ITMA Services, which is organising ITMA 2019 at Barcelona this month, says on its website: "ITMA is the trendsetting textile and garment technology platform where the industry converges every four years to explore fresh ideas, effective solutions and collaborative partnerships for business growth." Nothing could be more succinct. But still, this does not fully capture the import of the event-for many, this is almost like a four-yearly pilgrimage.

Yet, the zest, the exuberance and even that tinge of desperation of participants / visitors is in many ways reflected in the scale of the event: there would be 19 exhibit areas showcasing integrated solutions for the entire value chain; over 220,000 sq m of advanced technologies and live machinery demonstrations; 1,600 exhibitors who are original manufacturers, among others.

What close to 120,000 visitors would get to see can be summed up thus: the future of manufacturing. Crystal-gazing is what you do sitting in your home, or maybe office. At ITMA, you can see the future unfolding right in front of your eyes. You wouldn't want to be-well-sitting at home.

Much of what would be the future has a word for it today: innovation. ITMA 2019, therefore, sums it up with its catchline: innovating the world of textiles.

The Future Lies in Innovation

In an industry with such a long-winding value chain (ITMA 2019 would have as many as 19 exhibit areas for the chain), innovations would mean different things to different people. Yet, there would be some that would be key to the direction that industry takes. Could there be that one innovation that might be the disruptive force that industry might be looking for? If at all?

CEMATEX president, Fritz P Mayer believes, "Digitalisation promises to bring increased automation at all stages of the textile production chain, from the raw materials right to the consumer product, and to effect much better communication and interaction at every stage. At the same time, it will provide much greater transparency, traceability and ultimately accountability. So, sustainable claims will certainly have to be genuine going forward, or manufacturers can anticipate negative reactions.