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Interview with John Kelley

John Kelley
John Kelley
Event organiser
Textile Events
Textile Events

Online platform not a threat for industry trade shows

Textile Events is one of the largest textile fair in the United Kingdom, with over 450 exhibitors of textiles and accessories/trims. John Kelley, event organizer, discusses the relevance of textile trade fairs in his country during testing times.

How have trade events evolved in the last couple of years and still stay relevant in times of B2B trade platforms like Alibaba? What has been the growth story at Textile Events in the last two years?

Trade shows play an important role as they represent the unique opportunity for all industry professionals to meet, network and discover new trends for the following seasons. Also, the buyers always need to see and touch the fabrics, as it is often difficult for them to evaluate a collection without seeing it. Personal contacts are still very important to build long term trade relationships with suppliers, especially within a fast changing and turbulent environment as it is now. 
The fashion market is fast changing and it is always recommended for manufacturers to be present at top industry events. We don't see online platform as a threat for well-established industry trade shows and we expect our shows to confirm their positive trend for the years to come.

Our shows have been steadily growing in the past three years. The London Textile Fair is now at full capacity (475 exhibitors) after the opening of two new rooms dedicated to fashion fabrics. 

Texfusion, launched in 2014, has now more than 100 exhibitors with five halls dedicated to international fashion fabrics and accessories, garments, technical fabrics, home textiles and denim (to be launched in March).

The London Print Design Fair is the leading event for print studios in the United Kingdom, with around 60 exhibitors per edition. Due to the close relationship with our print studios, we launched a new show in New York last August, where the top British studios presented their design to the American market. The first edition went well, and we will organise two other such shows there in May and August.

What are the key highlights at all the three shows - Texfusion, London Textile Fair and the Print Design Fair? How many brands are participating and how many exhibitors are expected?

The London Textile Fair (TLTF), with around 475 exhibitors, is the biggest textile show within the United Kingdom and one of the top international events within the industry. The show provides manufacturers and their agents with the opportunity to showcase their products to the most influential British buyers and designers. 

The fair is predominantly European, with 98 per cent of the exhibitors coming from Europe and Turkey, and has been running for over 10 years. Within TLTF, there are four halls: fashion fabrics, accessories, vintage and print design. Exhibitors present their pre-collection for the upcoming season. At the January 2018 edition we had 5,720 visitors with a 4 per cent increase compared to the previous edition; we expect to keep these rising figures for the years to come. Next edition dates are July 18-19.

Texfusion is TLTF's younger sister and is the leading show in London for non-European manufacturers. 

Texfusion is held at the same time as The London Print Design Fair (TLPDF) at the Business Design Centre. Due to the synergies between the two sections, the shows had 2,420 visitors in October 2018, confirming the rise in numbers over previous editions. Next edition dates are March 20-21 and November 1-2 this year. 

TLPDF, with its 9th edition in March, is the leading industry trade show showcasing a unique offer of print design, embroidery, knit and vintage garments. With around 60 international exhibitors attending twice a year, the fair is extremely successful.(HO)
Published on: 13/02/2018

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 Fibre2Fashion.com.

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