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Colloquium 2 October: Ben Wubs on European fashion textile fairs

Interstoff FrankfurtAt the next Translantis/AsymEnc colloquium, Ben Wubs (Erasmus University) will compare the historical evolution of two competing fashion textile fairs: Première Vision in Paris and Interstoff in Frankfurt.

Date: Thursday 2 Octber, 15.30-17.00
Place: Janskerkhof 13 (room 0.06), Utrecht

Abstract – Building Competing Fashion Textile Fairs in Europe, 1970–2010: Première Vision (Paris) vs. Interstoff (Frankfurt

In this presentation, Ben Wubs will present work on European fashion textile fairs that he has carried out together with Thierry Maillet.

After the Second World War, two European fashion textile trade fairs became the most important temporary gathering for the European textile industry, i.e. Interstoff and Première Vision. Interstoff was launched in Frankfurt in 1959 as a new venture by the public company Ausstellungs- und Messegesellschaft mbH (in 1983 renamed to Messe Frankfurt GmbH). It has been recognized as the number one textile fair in the world for almost 40 years. However, it lost its prime position in the European fabric fair business at the end of the 1990s. Simultaneously, it gained new positions in textile fairs on a global scale, including Paris. In Frankfurt it still organizes successfully home and technical textile shows (Heimtextil and Techtextil). In 2012 Messe Frankfurt managed 23 textile fairs around the world, including Intertextile apparel fabric shows in China’s mainland, which number of exhibitors dwarf all earlier fabric shows ever organized in the world before. Even though Interstoff was acclaimed as the best place to exhibit textiles, high-end French silk manufacturers estimated that the fair did not offer the selective environment their products deserved. In 1972 fifteen silk entrepreneurs from Lyon therefore decided to launch a selective gathering to present their novelties to specific clients, mostly from Parisian haute couture houses. Première Vision was launched as an associative venture in Lyon which moved two years later to Paris. Since 1985 the trade fair combined fashion prediction and fabric sales, mainly focused on European manufacturers, and contributed to their competitiveness, while reducing marketing and selling costs for small and medium sized European textile manufactures, in particular Italian firms. The weakness of this strategy was that it became largely dependent on the latter. Since the 2000s, the Parisian fair also pursues a global strategy and organizes shows on several continents. This paper compares the historical evolution of Interstoff and Première Vision. It addresses the following questions: To what extent were these two fair businesses embedded within the industrial sector? What were the origins and the results of their diametrically opposed strategies? What was the role of the ownership and management structures?


Thursday 2 October, 15.30-17.00, Janskerkhof 13 (room 0.06), Utrecht

 Translantis/AsymEnc colloquia are organized by the digital humanities research projects Translantis – Digital Humanities Approaches to Reference Cultures: The Emergence of the United States in Public Discourse in the Netherlands, 1890-1990 (www.translantis.nl) and Asymmetrical Encounters: Digital Humanities Approaches to Reference Cultures in Europe, 1815–1992 (www.asymenc.eu). Upcoming colloquia are 23 October (Peter Verhaar, Leiden University) and 13 November (speaker tba).


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