Interview with Detlef Braun

Detlef Braun
Detlef Braun
Member of Executive Board
Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt

In which countries has Messe Frankfurt already organised trade fairs related to eco-friendly textiles or events that encourage ethical business activities?

Working closely with the respective professional associations, trade fairs help to provide stimulus within the sector. Hence, sustainability is a key area of focus at all our leading world events – both our own and those we host - and is becoming an increasingly important one, for example, in those sectors concerned with energy efficiency, recycling, water management, waste disposal and eco textiles. Sustainability is a major topic at our textile and fashion fairs. We also organise trade fairs with an ecological business slant in countries such as China and America such as, say, the Water Expo China and the Canadian Waste and Recycling Expo.

How can trade fairs help manufacturers of sewing and apparel technology to show that they are actually involved in ethical and sustainable business practices?

As a world market leader in the field of textile fairs, we offer this dynamic growth market a forum for issues relating to sustainable clothing and clothing production. We continue, systematically and ever more strongly, to support the development towards greater sustainability in the textile industry. It is a major theme at all of our international trade fairs. At Interstoff Asia Essential in 2006, we began to highlight sustainable production in Asia. In the meantime, visitors at all our textile fairs are increasingly coming across green products and meeting issues of future concern within the sector. Moreover, since 2010, we have established dedicated fairs specifically for the sustainable fashion industry - the Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin. Both events are proving to be very successful.

How do you plan to promote sustainability among the home textile and luxury apparel brands?

As the leading international trade fair for home and contract textiles, Heimtextil has for years been importantly concerned with the topic of sustainability. In the future, we shall be offering dedicated lecture series, special areas, indexes and other relevant features. At the same time, with the Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin, we offer Europe's leading platform in the field of ecological and fairly produced fashion. Here too we are planning to extend our commitment and strengthen the position of both shows. And finally, we shall continue to monitor carefully the growth markets in these segments worldwide to see where can best position ourselves and our textile brands.

How difficult is it to attract companies when organising eco-friendly themed events? What kind of response do you usually receive from them?

Because of our position as the world's leading provider of textile fairs, we have always enjoyed very good relations with our international exhibitors. Many of our exhibitors are also aware that an appealing and inspirational presentation at the trade fair can engender and stimulate enthusiasm with both long-standing customers and new ones alike and so they are quite prepared to afford the sums of money that are appropriate. In addition, we get a lot of interest for our green fairs, the numerous special areas and dedicated exhibitor indexes related to sustainability.

What kind of issues does the international garment industry need to tackle in the immediate future - what we might call the 'needs of the hour' for the industry?

Whether we look at ecological farming, socially acceptable production, fair trade, the use of natural materials or sparing use of resources – there are many places to start in the textile industry. At our fashion fairs, there is currently a lot of interest in social standards in production. At Techtextil, on the other hand, it is more about recycling, compostability and the re-use of clothing materials. Energy efficiency, too, and sustainable sourcing are important topics. All these are important aspects that the textile and fashion industries will have to work on in the coming years.
Published on: 20/02/2014

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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