Heimtextil 2023 kicks off with a panel talk on sustainability transformation: How do manufacturers in the home and contract textiles industry have to rethink their supply chains in view of legally prescribed reporting standards? How can transparency become a competitive advantage? And how is sustainability considered right at the beginning of product designs? Diverse approaches and ideas for sustainability transformation were the focus of the opening press conference on the first day of Heimtextil 2023.
As one of the most globally interconnected industries, future EU-wide supply chain legislations will pose challenges to the home textiles industry while enabling market opportunities. With 2400 exhibitors, an exhibitor internationality level of 94 percent and participants from more than 120 countries, Heimtextil 2023 is the global stage where textile sustainability is holistically mapped – with products and innovations that show that scalable and sustainable innovations are not a contradiction in terms. “Over the next four days, Heimtextil is the place where supply chains are rethought, circular approaches are experienced and green innovations are condensed. This shows: Trade shows are a business model with impact. For global partnerships and for the environment,” said Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, in his opening speech.
Panelists Caroline Till, Director and Co-Founder FranklinTill Studio, Prof. Dr. Anabel Ternès von Hattburg, futurologist and Executive Director of the International Institute for Sustainability Management, and Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies of Messe Frankfurt, discussed the transformation towards sustainability from several perspectives under the moderation of Alexandra Bohn, Style Content Director of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Quarterly.
Heimtextil 2023 — Experiencing sustainability holistically
Materials, supply chains, social responsibility: the panel talk highlighted how sustainability can be experienced holistically as a cross-cutting theme at Heimtextil. Are entire collections produced in an environmentally compatible way? Do sustainability strategies include social responsibility? The one-hour Green Tours provide answers to these questions and enable an intensive exchange between visitors and exhibitors – led by independent sustainability expert Bernd Müller on behalf of Consulting Service International Ltd. The exchange with certifiers in the Green Village also enables buyers to think about sustainability in all its aspects. Textile certificates guarantee not only origin and quality level, but also proof that a product meets social and ecological standards. From 2023, the Green Village will also include companies that act in a holistically sustainable manner.
Heimtextil exhibitors are also increasingly focusing on transformation strategies that take into account multiple Sustainable Development Goals. These include innovative sustainable product designs – from fibers made of PET to linen in combination with other natural fibers such as hemp to bed linen made of cotton coated with cork. Photovoltaic systems to cover electricity needs from renewable sources are also examples – or filter systems that recycle wastewater generated by textile finishing.
“Long-term collaboration with trusted suppliers are important sparring partners on the path to transformation. Sustainability can only be achieved through close cooperation. That is why, together with the United Nations Office for Partnerships and the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network, we are placing the Sustainable Development Goals at the center of our global textile trade shows. And our Texpertise Network provides targeted impetus and, as a global network, promotes new partnerships,” says Olaf Schmidt.
Design process as the cornerstone for circular economy
Heimtextil Trends 2023 “Textiles Matter” by FranklinTill brings four ways of circular economy to life and gives the market impulses for sustainable development. In the panel talk, Caroline Till, member of the Heimtextil Trend Council, showed how the foundation for circular economy is laid during product development. This, she said, requires conscious decisions at the beginning of the design process and looking at waste as a resource. She also stressed the importance of collaborations between experts and keeping an open ear for different disciplines – from young designers to material engineers.
“Understanding the whole textile life cycle. Thinking about the next life at the beginning of the design process. Moving to a circular economy: Understanding where materials come from, how they are processed, and where they end up has a huge impact on the environment. Through Textiles Matter, buyers and manufacturers understand circular economy and find their own way to circularity,” said Till.
Sustainability transformation through whole-system thinking
How to initiate transformation within companies? How to engage employees and what role do new competencies play in this process? In the panel talk, Prof. Dr. Anabel Ternès von Hattburg highlighted the relevance of overall systemic thinking, digital sovereignty and the acquisition of future skills. The futurologist illustrated the role self-efficacy and bottom-up approaches play in engaging employees.
“It’s time to change not just narratives, but mindsets. Through whole-systems thinking, acting from the perspective of a world fit for grandchildren, and acquiring future skills. This requires new evaluation criteria and, above all, a new leadership that starts with everyone themselves,” said Ternès von Hattburg.
Highlights of Heimtextil 2023 at a glance
Heimtextil 2023 once again takes off with international strength, covering the entire range of home and contract textiles: from coupon business to retail volumes to high-volume orders.
Buyers – including retailers and wholesalers, furnishing houses, interior decorators, designers, architects or hotel decision-makers – can find new business contacts, redefine supply chains together with suppliers and experience a bundled holistic market overview of textile trends over four days of the fair.
In 2023, the leading international trade fair for home and contract textiles is responding even more strongly to the growing demand in the field of fibers and yarns by offering a dedicated section for the first time – including new suppliers who are expanding the global range of upholstery and decorative fabrics as well as leather and imitation leather.
In addition, Heimtextil will once again cover a wide range of functional contract textiles, such as those that are water-repellent, flame-retardant, recyclable, antimicrobial or thermoregulating, with the “Interior.Architecture.Hospitality” program aimed at interior designers, architects, planners and furnishers.
For textile professionals hungry for knowledge, there will be numerous LECTURES, special presentations and guided tours. This includes a new edition of the Interior.Architecture.Hospitality LIBRARY: a curated selection of exhibitor products that feature special functional properties.
Expert talks, selected exhibitor products and exchanges with the industry combine the new Interior.Architecture.Hospitality TALKS & TOURS. In addition to sustainability, the focus will be on design topics.
Another highlight is the continuation of the Heimtextil Conference Sleep & More. Topclass speakers will talk about the prerequisites for good sleep, about sustainable solutions in the retail sector and discuss digital gadgets.
Due to the positive response to the Green Tours, the SLEEP tours on smart bedding innovations will be launched and led by sleep expert Markus Kamps of Schlafkampagne.
The Green Village – the platform for seal providers and certifiers – will be expanded from 2023 to include exhibitors who are fully committed to sustainability.
A special highlight will be this year’s Heimtextil Trends on a topic that could not be more topical: Under the motto “Textiles Matter,” visitors can experience decisive approaches to circular economy. The construction of the entire trend area is based on the Heimtextil Material Manifesto: only local, environmentally friendly or borrowed materials will be used for stand design.
The green offering at Heimtextil is mapped by the Green Directory, which identifies sustainable exhibitors and their certified products online and at the booth.
The one-hour Green Tours bring trade visitors together with selected exhibitors and enable exchange on sustainable developments – guided by an external expert. Independence sets the Green Tours apart and brings an important outside perspective.
The special denim show “Tones of Freedom” by the Frankfurt School of Clothing and Fashion presents a young collection by students of the School of Design. The creations deal with the diverse aspects of denim and jeans in a cultural context. Ten models in collaboration with Heimtextil exhibitors show visions of “body positivity” in the special presentation “Embrace new horizons”.