FESPA is proud to announce the expansion of its textile portfolio with the launch of Sportswear Pro, a new exhibition dedicated exclusively to sportswear manufacturing.

The first event will run alongside the flagship FESPA Global Print Expo 2020, from 24 to 27 March at Feria de Madrid, Spain.

With a focus on the latest technologies in on-demand and customised sportswear production, Sportswear Pro will bring together suppliers of solutions for three key areas of sportswear manufacture: design (CAD/CAM and 3D body scanning); production (CMT [‘cut, make and trim’], bonding and knitting) and decoration (printing, engraving, embroidery and laser appliqué systems), as well as developers of accessories, smart textiles and printed electronics.

Visitors to Sportswear Pro will be business decision-makers seeking the latest technological innovations as a means to streamline production processes, reduce inventory and waste, and enable on-demand and just-in-time production in response to shortening fashion cycles.

In addition to the exhibition, the new event will feature a dedicated conference programme reflecting the business priorities of sportswear manufacturers and designers, such as sustainability and automation.

Michael Ryan, Event Manager for Sportswear Pro at FESPA, explains the rationale for this addition to the global FESPA event portfolio:

“Our core FESPA community is heavily engaged in the production of sports apparel, with 80% of textile printers active in this dynamic segment, according to our 2018 FESPA Print Census. But what is clear is that, despite 7% growth in 2018, sportswear producers are not currently served by an event focused on how to optimise their processes and meet the global trends of customisation and speed to market.”

“We believe that FESPA, having established a commanding position as a leading European exhibition for textile and garment printing including direct-to-garment, can deliver an event that informs, educate and inspires sportswear designers and manufacturers with the opportunities being enabled by technology and materials innovation.”

With Southern Europe and North Africa being key regions for the design and production of fashion and textile goods, Feria de Madrid provides an ideal location for the first edition of Sportswear Pro, enabling easy access for decision-makers from Spain, Portugal, France and countries such as Tunisia and Morocco. The Spanish capital is also readily accessible for visitors from other major garment manufacturing centres.

The co-location of Sportswear Pro with FESPA Global Print Expo 2020 allows visitors to move seamlessly between the two events, taking advantage of the array of screen and digital printing exhibits within the FESPA textile halls, and also providing access to the Print Make Wear educational feature. This takes the form of a fast fashion factory, demonstrating a range of garment manufacturing technologies through guided tours, expert chats and catwalk displays.

FESPA CEO Neil Felton concludes: “FESPA’s long heritage in screen and digital printing gives us deep roots in the garment production sector, while recent insights show clearly that sports and active wear is one of the most dynamic segments of this industry. We’re confident that the introduction of Sportswear Pro will add value to our established community, while supporting a wider audience to evolve their manufacturing businesses for a fast-changing market.”

FESPA Global Print Expo’s status as the leading international exhibition for speciality print and signage remains unchallenged, as the May 2019 event welcomed 20,780 individual visitors from 137 countries over the course of four days (Messe München, 14 – 17 May 2019).

Consistent with previous events, the host country delivered the largest national delegation of visitors at 25% of the total number, with attendees travelling from across Germany, followed by Italy (7%) and Austria (5%). Overall, the exhibition attracted a diverse international audience from far beyond Europe, including visitors from as far afield as Israel, Turkey, China, Japan, the USA and Australia.

Total attendance including repeat visits reached 34,104, with almost two thirds of all visitors committing two or more days to the show. 1 in 3 visitors were final decision-makers, cementing FESPA Global Print Expo’s status as a key buying event in the print industry calendar.

FESPA Exhibitions Director, Roz Guarnori says: “The overall attendance figures indicate that there is a sustained interest in an exhibition like FESPA Global Print Expo. However, what has been most rewarding is the feedback on how the show has delivered in terms of ‘return on experience’, which suggests visitors and exhibitors are focusing more on the valuable insight and knowledge gathered from the show and its features, rather than thinking exclusively in terms of cost per lead or ROI. The response is encouraging, especially for an event that has always aimed to inspire and highlight the possibilities that speciality print has to offer.”

Digital print machinery was singled out as the key area of interest for 41% of visitors, followed by digital print consumables (31%). This is matched by the proportion of visitors interested in textile and fabric, demonstrating FESPA’s growing importance as an international meeting place for the textile printing and garment manufacturing communities. This is reflected in the launch of the new Sportswear Pro event, to be co-located with FESPA Global Print Expo in Madrid, Spain, March 2020.

Consistent with FESPA’s mission to support print businesses with education and best practice guidance, the FESPA 2019 event programme included a range of immersive features such as Printeriors (printed interior décor), Print Make Wear (garment printing and production) and Colour L*A*B* (colour management), as well as the popular Trend Theatre, FESPA Awards and the World Wrap Masters vehicle wrapping championship. Collectively, the features attracted thousands of visitors through a combination of creative displays, engaging speakers, guided tours and practical demonstrations.

A show of firsts

FESPA Global Print Expo 2019’s strapline, ‘An Explosion of Possibilities’, spoke to the array of opportunities for business development in speciality print. This was evident from the extensive line-up of product launches and enhancements introduced at the show. A total of 700 exhibitors filled six of Messe München’s halls, displaying a host of new equipment and colourful applications.

EFI and Mimaki chose FESPA 2019 as the platform to debut their new flatbed printers, the Pro 30f and the JFX200-2513 EX respectively, while Epson expanded its SureColor SC-S range with the addition of two new industrial output models, the SC-S60600L and the SC80600L. Roll-to-roll printing was another key area of innovation, with Canon unveiling its latest system, the Océ Colorado 1650, while swissQprint launched Karibu, its first roll-to-roll printer. Durst instead introduced its own modular software solutions – Durst Workflow, Durst Analytics and Durst Smart Shop – to provide customers with an automated production unit ‘from pixel to output’.

Elsewhere, textile print saw some significant hardware announcements, such as the debut of HP’s flagship 3.2m-wide S1000 Stitch dye-sublimation printer. Kornit Digital displayed for the first time the Kornit Atlas, a heavy duty system created for super-industrial garment decoration businesses, and the Kornit Avalanche Poly Pro, featuring the company’s NeoPolyTM Technology, the industry’s first digital, industrial process for high-quality printing on polyester.

Positive feedback

Exhibitors such as Canon Europe and Dataline commented on the strong volume of leads generated at the show. “FESPA is an occasion to meet with customers and prospects from all over EMEA to develop our sales pipeline and this year we exceeded our expectations for leads across all our products,” said Wouter Derichs, Sales & Marketing Director, Large Format Graphics, Canon Europe. “We could not have been at a better place at a better time, we even overshot all our targets with high-quality leads,” added Dirk Deroo, CEO at Dataline.

Other companies were keen to highlight the international scope of the visitor audience. Danna Drion, Senior Marketing Manager EMEA at Mimaki Europe commented: “We were particularly pleased to see the way in which FESPA is becoming an increasingly international exhibition. In fact, at FESPA 2019, we met visitors not only from EMEA, but also from the Americas, Asia and Australia, reaching the widest international audience ever.”

A number of highly satisfied exhibitors are already anticipating FESPA Global Print Expo 2020. Stephan Keimer, Sales Manager at Bickers said: “This has been one of the best FESPA shows for us. The quality of the visitors has been excellent – we've had productive conversations with decision-makers, some of which have even led to onsite sales. The FESPA organisers are doing a great job and we’re looking forward to be returning to Madrid next year.”

Louis Patruno, Director Marketing & New Business at DS Smith, a first-time exhibitor, was also particularly enthusiastic about the event: “The show has been a very insightful experience for us. From our talks with visitors and prospects, we’ve noticed three key trends: first of all, FESPA has built a truly international audience – the show can no longer be classified as a European show, opening up a host of new business opportunities for exhibitors; secondly, we have been very impressed with the quality of demand – visitors know what they want and now have very specific requirements that we need to be able to satisfy; and finally, sustainability has become a key priority, with an increasing number of customers keen to embrace green practices and we need to be able to deliver eco-friendly products. In that respect, the show has been an eye-opener.”

Roz concludes: “The wave of positive feedback from visitors and exhibitors in Munich has been nothing short of overwhelming. It’s invigorating to see that FESPA is increasingly viewed as the leading global showcase of technological innovation in digital, screen and textile print, as well as a key annual event for investment decisions. We look forward to building on this reputation in the years to come, starting with our 2020 Global Print Expo in Madrid.”

FESPA Global Print Expo 2020 will be held at IFEMA – Feria de Madrid, Spain, from 24 to 27 March 2020. Also taking place alongside the event will be European Sign Expo 2020 for non-printed signage, and Sportswear Pro 2020, FESPA’s newly launched exhibition dedicated exclusively to sportswear manufacturing.

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