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Heimtextil celebrates its anniversary: the 50th edition of the world-leading trade fair with a major focus on sustainability

7 Jan 2020

Half a century shaped by textile design: for the 50th time, Heimtextil will bring together the international home textiles industry. From 7-10 January 2020, 2952 companies from 65 countries will present their innovations at the world’s largest trade fair for home and contract textiles.*

‘There is hardly any other trade fair in the world that can look back on such an eventful and successful history. Ever since the first event in January 1971 with 679 exhibitors, we have invested massively over the decades in the quality of the fair as well as in the range of information and inspiration we offer the industry. We are looking forward to a very special edition of Heimtextil, which is in very good shape as it approaches its 50th anniversary’, says Detlef Braun, CEO of Messe Frankfurt.

keyvisual heimtextil 2020

The textile furnishing sector faces major challenges in the anniversary year of Heimtextil: the digital revolution – key word ‘Industry 4.0’ – is currently leading to fundamental changes in the manufacture and processing of home textiles. Not all companies can keep up, meaning that the past year has been dominated by business closures and insolvencies. Digitisation opens up many opportunities on the production side – on the retail side, however, it leads to a significant shift in purchasing flows, making specialist bricks-and-mortar shops dependent on new concepts in the medium term. Here, too, there has been strong consolidation and a decline in the number of specialist shops.

Sales in the retail sector continue to decline

The latest industry report by the IFH Cologne shows that spending on home and household textiles continues to slide. Although the years 2015 to 2017 were still top notch, sales have fallen by almost €1 billion within two years and are now back to the levels seen in the tough financial years of 2008/09. The reasons for this sales trend can primarily be ascribed to the sluggish economy. As a result, German industry is pinning its hopes on foreign markets and the high proportion of Heimtextil trade visitors from abroad (75 percent).

Varied measures for greater sustainability

Sustainability is the major overarching theme of the industry. At Heimtextil 2020, green aspects will be at the top of the fair’s agenda for the tenth time. With its range of measures, Heimtextil is promoting the industry's commitment to sustainability and giving green pioneers a platform. The tenth edition of the Green Directory, the exhibitor directory for sustainable producers, includes more pioneers and newcomers than ever before with 259 companies. The ‘Green Village’ is also enjoying growth. In the sustainability area in hall 12.0, which acts as a first port of call for all questions relating to green issues, recognised certifiers and seal awarders will present themselves. New to this area is the German government's ‘Grüner Knopf’ textile seal, launched in September, and the United Nations Office for Partnerships, which will present the global Sustainable Development Goals at Heimtextil. For example, Lucie Brigham, Chief of Office at the United Nations Office for Partnerships, will report on the Sustainable Development Goals and cooperation with Heimtextil at the opening press conference of Heimtextil. Two showcases will illustrate which sustainable approaches the industry is pursuing and how they are already being applied in practice: the Portuguese textile industry will present the ‘iTechStyle Green Circle’ in hall 12.0 and Pakistani manufacturers will present pioneering projects under the ‘Sustainable Pakistan’ umbrella in the foyer of hall 10.2.

Trend Space focuses on sustainable concept

Sustainable aspects were also at the forefront of the concept for this year’s ‘Trend Spaces’. ‘Together with our designers, we have set ourselves the goal of creating a sustainable show and have adopted a material manifesto for this purpose. The aim was to minimise the environmental impact by selecting materials in an intelligent way. This means: wherever possible, alternative, sustainable materials were used’, explains Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies of Messe Frankfurt. ‘Heimtextil thus invites you to a design show that not only talks about sustainability but also embraces it in practical terms and, thanks to this approach and its reputation, is unrivalled worldwide. With the motto WHERE I BELONG, visitors interested in design will experience around 1000 exhibits by international exhibitors in the “Trend Space” in hall 3.0 – integrated into a spectacular design concept by Stijlinstituut Amsterdam under the direction of Anne Marie Commandeur. The approach of the new Future Materials Library, part of the Trend Space, is also progressive and sustainable. Here, visitors can explore the nature and production method of innovative materials. The focus is on recycled fabrics and cultivated – so-called living – textiles, among other things.

Hotels etc.: contract furnishing in the spotlight

As another top theme, Heimtextil is focusing on the furnishing of hotels and public buildings under the title ‘Interior.Architecture.Hospitality’. The new highlight here is the ‘Interior.Architecture.Hospitality Library’, a textile materials library with 64 selected, high-quality products categorised according to functional properties especially for contract furnishing. With this library, Heimtextil clearly demonstrates the many and varied uses of functional textiles, in particular providing interior designers with a first-rate work tool. Every product on display is labelled with the name of the manufacturer, booth number and its functional properties. All information on this can also be accessed online throughout the year at Furthermore, the fair offers interior designers, architects and hospitality experts an extremely attractive programme in hall 4.2 – with superb product presentations in the ‘Interior.Architecture.Hospitality Expo’, a four-day lecture programme, guided tours and a special exhibitor directory, the ‘Interior.Architecture.Hospitality Directory’.

For better sleep: professional tips and product innovations

The topic of ‘sleep’ is of huge power and importance for both personal well-being and for the home textiles industry. Heimtextil will be dedicating itself to this much-discussed lifestyle theme for the second time. in “Sleep! The Future Forum' in the foyer of hall 11.0, a four-day programme of talks with a wider range of topics and numerous experienced sleep experts awaits interested listeners. These sleep experts include professional athletes such as Olympic luge champion Susi Erdmann and scientists from Berlin’s Charité, the Fraunhofer Institute and the German Sleep Research Society. Heimtextil has also been able to attract speakers from Ikea, Hästens and Auping to talk about progressive sleep topics. Numerous products aimed at greater sleep comfort will celebrate their première in the context of the ‘Sleep’ programme at the world's leading trade fair.

50th Heimtextil: design classics from the past five decades

To mark the 50th edition of Heimtextil, the trade fair will be presenting design classics from the past 50 trade fair editions in a showcase area in hall 9.0. Under the motto ‘Heimtextil Journey through Time – Celebrating 50 Years of Interior Design’, the fair invites visitors to take a tour through five decades of Heimtextil history. Four specially designed rooms incorporate colours, shapes, furniture and design objects from past decades. The showcase is complemented by a café that will be realised in cooperation with Schöner Wohnen, Europe's largest living magazine.

*For comparison: In 2019, 3,012 exhibitors from 65 countries took part (FKM figures, Gesellschaft zur Freiwilligen Kontrolle von Messe- und Ausstellungszahlen, Berlin)

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Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,600 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €733 million*. We are closely networked within our industries. We efficiently support the business interests of our customers as part of our business divisions “Fairs & Events”, “Locations” and “Services”. A unique selling point of the corporate group is its global sales network, which provides dense coverage for all regions of the world. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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* provisional figures 2019

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