Interview with Michael Scherpe

Michael Scherpe
Michael Scherpe
Board President/CEO
Messe Frankfurt France
Messe Frankfurt France

Demands for personalisation will grow stronger
Messe Frankfurt supports exhibitors by opening up international markets for their products. They are one of the largest show organisers serving 178 countries around the globe. By keeping standards high-be it for events, infrastructure or services-they safeguard their quality, flexibility, stability and global growth. They concentrate on being more effective in serving the needs of the sectors and industries in which they have longstanding expertise. Michael Scherpe, Board President/CEO at Messe Frankfurt France tells Fibre2Fashion about the organisation's plans and vision.

Please take us through your journey of more than three decades at Messe Frankfurt.

When I began to work at Messe Frankfurt in 1981, we were about 190 employees and our trade fairs occurred exclusively in the exhibition grounds of Messe Frankfurt. During the previous 35 years, we evolved on the Frankfurt location, from 1983 to 1988, with a first renovation programme of the exhibition grounds of 750 millions of Deutsche Mark. Thereafter, we continuously renewed and extended our park. Even today, we are building a new hall (hall 12), and thereafter we will refurbish hall 5. On the international side, we made our first trade show outside Germany in 1987 in Hong Kong.
Now, Messe Frankfurt organises 417 events in all continents (except Australia) which gathers around 90,800 exhibitors and about 4.2 million visitors. India is in the third row of the top 10 exhibitor countries. Nearly 40 per cent of the turnover of Messe Frankfurt is made abroad. This success is based on our 2,500 collaborators, with all of them specializing in organising trade fairs. I was lucky enough to be a part of this fantastic progression of Messe Frankfurt, and I am proud to rely on this exceptional structure to succeed our Parisian trade shows.

What is the success formula of Messe Frankfurt as an organisation?

Messe Frankfurt derives from a 777-year history. The know-how of Messe Frankfurt was transmitted from generation to generation and is always known to be compatible with its era. This great know-how of the collaborators entwined with their experience of running the Frankfurt's exhibition grounds led to real inheritance of managing expertise in events. Our DNA is based on this requirement, and I have to say that it is a German tradition.

How many textile exhibitions are conducted by Messe Frankfurt across the world in a year? Which are the most successful ones of the lot?

Regarding textile and let's say fashion, Messe Frankfurt conducts 50 trade shows. All of them are quite successful in their own market and fields, that's why you will find them, apart from Germany, in France, the US, China, Russia, India, Japan, South American countries, African countries and Dubai. They cover yarn, fabrics, goods, ethical collections, technological services for fashion, apparel manufacturing, home textiles, technical textiles and leather. I am quite enthusiastic about all the fairs we organise in Paris (Texworld, Apparel Sourcing and Avantex) because Paris is the capital of fashion; it's where the European and worldwide fashion is recognised. Our Parisian trade fairs present a very creative, slightly hedgy offer made for international fashion brands. 

Fashion is changing by nature; so it is a real challenge for every exhibitor, organiser and visitor to be able to discover what the consumers' wishes are. That's why we developed Avantex two years ago and will organise Texworld Denim in next September because jeanswear is evolving strongly as a different way of considering clothes. I like the Ethical Fashion Show / Green Showroom in Berlin because ethical, green, sustainable, recycling, up-cycling are the future paths. Intertextile, of course, the biggest trade fair in the world with 4,500 exhibitors continues to have high performances in the Asiatic market. Leather World in Dubai is quite interesting too, it is a fashion related trade-show but the story differs completely. A leather good is planned to have longer life. It has to last more than a collection; it can be also an emblem of status and most of the materials come from animal origin; so the sector is a little bit more intricate and this makes it quite interesting.
Published on: 14/07/2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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