By David Gill
From the downbeat atmosphere of the 2009 show to the cautiously optimistic mood at last year's event, the 2011 Heimtextil is ready to take place this month with a textiles-industry surge apparently within sight.
At least, that's what the executives with Messe Frankfurt, owner and manager of the world's signature textiles trade show, are reading from the exhibitor numbers. As of mid-December, more than 2,500 companies had committed to exhibit at Heimtextil, which will take place from Jan. 12-15. This would top the exhibitor numbers at Heimtextil 2010, according to Olaf Schmidt, vice president of textile fairs for Messe Frankfurt.
To Schmidt, the rising number of exhibitors is an indicator of not only an upbeat Heimtextil, but of a rosier view for the global textiles economy for 2011. "After the financial and business crisis of recent years, we now sense an upswing in the market," Schmidt said.
The market has "registered positive signals," Schmidt said, "all of which means that the sector can once again concentrate on subjects directly relating to home and contract textiles."
For Heimtextil 2011, Messe Frankfurt has realigned the home-textiles segment. In Hall 3.1, the wall-products area will be on display, where it is expected to complement the floor-products group. Hall 4 will be transformed into a center for window and upholstery products, and will include a meeting place for manufacturers and contract vendors in these segments.
Textile designers will be moved from Hall 1.1 to Hall 4.2, where they will be adjacent to the CAD/CAM and home-technology segments. Hall 4.1 will serve as the center for contract exhibitors. Sun blinds and non-textile curtain accessories will be located in Hall 5.1. Non-textile and coated tablecloths, foils and art-related products will move from Hall 5.0 to Hall 9.0, where they will be near the table-linens section.
Schmidt said, "We are responding to developments in the industry with a reworked hall layout. We are convinced that the changes and redefinition of some areas will unlock new momentum and major synergies between the product areas."
Sustainability will be one of the key themes that will be highlighted during the show. Heimtextil 2011 will mark the debut of the Green Directory, which lists exhibitors with product ranges of high ecological quality or manufactured in a sustainable way.
"The aim of this publication is to provide a valuable orientation for the industry," Schmidt said. "This guide allows buyers to find exhibitors with sustainable manufacturing processes and their products more quickly and easily."
Another part of the spotlight on eco-friendly products will be a special section in which Bark Cloth, a German-African vendor, will display textiles and composite materials manufactured from tree bark, using economical, ecological and sustainable practices.
As described in a Heimtextil statement, the cloth that serves as the main ingredient in these products is taken from the East African fig tree. The bark from this tree grows back extremely quickly, so that it can be harvested once a year without cutting down the tree. It will be displayed in a grouping of semifinished products that will be marketed under the brand name Bartex.
In another offering in the sustainability category, a lecture series in Hall 8 will explore business strategies and quality-control practices conducted by companies such as Tchibo and IKEA. A session called "Making organic quality grow" will provide an overview of eco-textile labels, and a special show area will feature sustainable textiles in Hall 11.1.