Manufacturers, dealers and designers from around the world launched countless new innovations at Heimtextil, which is the largest and most important international trade fair for home and contract textiles.
The fair, which takes place every year in mid-January, was attended by a record number of exhibitors and visitors this year. At Heimtextil 2017, there were nearly 70,000 visitors over the course of the fair and 2963 exhibitors from 67 different countries. Heimtextil facilitates billions of dollars of global sales as it serves as the main international buying and selling platform each year for exhibitors and visitors alike.
“Heimtextil grew once again in 2017 in terms of its visitor and exhibitor numbers, but it’s no longer about quantity,” says Detlauf Braun, CEO of Messe Frankfurt. “It is about the high quality of the products exhibited as well as the intensity of discussion between purchasers and exhibitors.”
Quality and innovation were seen throughout the fair, which spanned across eight different immense halls. Exhibitors ranged from embroidery company Rahmig & Partner of Germany that meticulously sews fiber optic and LED lighting into textiles, to Akara of India, which makes innovative, hand-woven floor coverings, including a new line of stain resistant Tencel carpet and Zorluteks Tekstil Ticaret of Turkey which makes hand-cut and hand-dyed curtains.
One of the highlights of the fair is the discovery of emerging trends, which are displayed at Heimtextil’s “Theme Park”. Here, examples of trends that have been identified by experts are on display featuring more than 2,000 different textiles. This year, the French trend agency, Carlin International, under the management of Excalis, forecasts the trends in a variety of themed worlds.
With a motto entitled “Explorations”, visitors were taken on a journey through such themed displays as “Virtual Explorations”, “Planetary Explorations”, “Natural Explorations” and “Cultural Explorations” that showcased a variety of environments ranging from home and office to retail, hospitality, technology and transport. Within each display, there were examples of textiles featuring designs related to the themed area, each of which is predicted to be an emerging trend in the not-so-distant future.
According to Thimo Schwenzfeier, director of marketing and communications at Messe Frankfurt, Heimtextil exhibitors were provided with exclusive access to the emerging trends well in advance of the fair, so that they were able to use them to develop new fabrics, materials and other products in time to showcase them at Heimtextil. “Our exhibitors are always state of the art,” explains Schwenzfeier. The materials created by the exhibitors are vetted and curated before being showcased in the Theme Park.
In the planetary exploration section of the theme park, textiles featuring crystals, iridescent, reflective materials were featured. “These textiles have a reflective effect, with a shimmery touch, such as that of a moonstone,” says Flavie Bernard of Carlin International. The color range in this category will range from brilliant white and dark ashy tones.
There were also examples of textiles that were reminiscent of landscapes, such as lava, volcanic rock and a variety of minerals. One wall covering on display looked like the surface of the moon.
Natural explorations and back-to-nature will be in vogue, with different colors seen in the forest, from greens (reminiscent of moss) as well as different shades of wood. There will be a trend to mix greens, says Lisa White, head of Lifestyle and Interiors at World’s Global Style Network (WGSN) a world trend forecasting service, “as people will want to mimic nature.”
Indeed, nature was a recurrent theme and there were textiles on display in which plants or natural material were integrated into the materials.
Another innovative product on display was a beautiful wall covering on display in which real, cultivated butterflies, were adhered to the surface.
Cultural explorations were evidenced by displays that showcased a multi-cultural world. Here, there were examples of textiles in which different themes were mixed together. “There will be a focus on basketry with rattan, wicker, and woods,” predicts White. This theme spilled over into wall coverings with examples of wood-inspired wallpapers on display. Shades of brown, red and orange were featured.
The virtual exploration display featured a range of aquatic-inspired colors, such as coral and a range of blues with shimmery, pearlescent transparent fabrics that mimic the glint of light in an aquatic landscape a recurring theme.
Technology will continue to have a large impact on textiles and design. There were several examples of textiles in which LED lighting or fiber optic lighting were integrated in wall coverings.
Bed and bath products were also featured at Heimtextil, with a variety of mattress manufacturers launching innovative new designs and bed covering manufacturers launching bed coverings. One emerging trend seen this year was a proliferation of dark colors in the bedroom, as sleep has become more of a focus, according to WGSN’s White.
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge