7 tips to help you get the most from your sourcing trip
Where to go to find fabric suppliers
Welcome to the Litmans Textile Trade Show Guide. An important part of the fabric sourcing process is attending the various trade shows that take place across the globe throughout different times of the year. It may not be possible to attend them all; in fact you may have to narrow it down to just one show. As a starting point, we would suggest Premiere Vision in Paris. This show takes place for 3 days every February and September and is the largest, most well known trade show on the fashion calendar. 1 pass gets you into the event for 3 days and spans 6 shows: Yarns, Fabrics, Leather, Designs, Accessories and Manufacturing.
The show is in 4 halls with each hall containing hundreds and hundreds of stands. There is no way to visit every single stand during your time at Premiere Vision, especially if you are attending for less than the full 3 days. This may seem impossibly daunting, but it doesn’t need to be! With our handy guide, we will explain how to get the most out of your trip so that you can ensure you see all of the companies you want to as well as soaking up the unique atmosphere of the trade show. Although we will use Premiere Vision Paris as a focal point and reference, this guide can be applied to any show and these hints and tips will serve you well on every sourcing trip you make.
1. The Basics
Once you have decided to attend a show, get your travel and accommodation booked and do this as early as possible. As soon as show dates are announced and become widely available, hotel events teams will increase prices accordingly, so the sooner you arrange your accommodation, the better. You can check on the show website (in the case of Premiere Vision, look under ‘agenda’), to find the upcoming dates. Booking well in advance and paying up front will secure you the best deal. The hotels that are popular for the shows will fill up and become fully booked quickly so securing your room will mean there is one less thing to be concerned about.
Don’t get caught up with how nice your hotel is, or how large your room is. Trust us, after a day walking the halls of Premiere Vision, the only thing you will care about is a comfortable bed. So look for the best deal and get it booked! Charles de Gaulle Paris hotels all have access to a free shuttle to take you to the show.
Of course, you might decide to round off your business trip by enjoying the rest of what Paris has to offer, in which case we recommend booking a hotel in central Paris and boarding the Super Shuttle at Charles de Gaulle once the show is over!
2. Do your research
Okay, so now you know where you’re going and when, the next step is to start doing your research. Check the show’s website and have a look at the exhibitors who will be attending. Once you have compiled a list of companies you are interested in visiting, you can look at each individual company website to get a feel for their fabric collection and price range. Check these companies to see if they have an events page where you can usually find out more information about the representatives who will be attending the show. Some companies may even accept appointments. Once you have made a list of all of the stands you’d like to visit, add a few more just in case.
Think about exactly what you’re going to be looking for, and stick to it. Make a list of all the fabric you’re sourcing and don’t deviate from the list otherwise you can lose valuable hours and not get the results you’re looking for.
3. Map it
There is no way to understand the scale of the show until you’re actually there; but it’s huge. Hall after hall, packed with stand after stand. You’re going to need a map! Maps are provided at the show, but you can get ahead and plan in advance by downloading the map from the website or using the interactive online map. You can search by supplier name and find the companies on your shortlist and start to put together a game plan for your first day. To give you an idea of the size of the show, here is the map for Hall 5. You will definitely want to plan all of this down to the finest detail.
4. Go prepared
The stands at Premiere Vision are all usually quite hectic for the duration of the show. You will be limited for time, so go in with all of the information relevant to your sourcing request – ensure you have everything ready: business cards, flyers, cuttings of fabric, images etc so that the supplier can understand what you’re looking for and point you in the right direction. Once you’ve found something to match your sourcing brief, allow for some time to browse the rails. You never know what fabrics you might find to inspire your next collection or take one of your designs to the next level.
If you stumble upon a new supplier you haven’t included in your research or show plan and you don’t have time to spend on their stand, always ask for a business card/compliment slip/flyer so that you can go away and look them up later. Make sure you leave a business card with them too, as they will likely contact you to follow up.
5. Understanding buzzwords
Suppliers want to see as many customers are possible and they might just rely on speeding things up by using abbreviated phrases used in the fashion industry. You may not understand or have heard these before, which could leave you confused and unsure. In order to understand fashion jargon, do your research online ahead of time and this will ensure that you and the supplier are on the same page and understand one another. For example: MOQ – minimum order quantity, BOL – bill of lading, FR – Flame resistant, etc. It may also help to understand shipping incoterms if you are dealing with suppliers based outside of your country. Here’s a useful link: INCOTERMS.
Being prepared will save you time and help you to understand the sourcing process better.
6. Making the most of your surroundings
At Premiere Vision there are several fashion forums for you to look around, all of which highlight the fabrics selected by the show for being particularly on trend.
At Premiere Vision, photography is not allowed unless you are on a stand. With this in mind, make sure that you have a blank notebook with you in order to make a note of style numbers, suppliers and stand locations. Taking cuttings is strictly prohibited.
Make the most of the shops/stores at the show, which are usually packed full of fashion magazines and brochures containing trend predictions, inspiration, images and ideas. These will be so useful after the show and are invaluable tools for the creative fashion design process. Pantone usually exhibit at the show and a trip to their stand is highly recommended.
7. Your survival pack
Here’s a list of what we would suggest you take with you on the day of the show!
» Plenty of cash – there are cafes dotted all around Premiere Vision and you will need to keep up your strength and energy levels to make it through a full day! Make sure you bring enough money for food, drink and any transport, plus money to purchase any literature/books that catch your eye. Here’s a rough idea of what to expect: Baguette €7-8, Coffee €3-3.50, water €2.50-3.00.
» Comfortable shoes! You really will need these, as seats are few and far between and you will be on your feet for most of the day.
» Notebook & pen – Essential for making notes of designs, suppliers, stand numbers, etc. As previously mentioned, taking photos is prohibited.
» Mini Fan – It gets so warm at the show. Stay cool with a mini battery operated hand fan and make sure you also drink plenty of water!
Come and see Litmans at the show
We exhibit ever year, twice a year and you can always find us in the same location – Hall 5. We have water & snacks and seating available on the stand. Come along early in the day and find us and we’ll help you get set for the rest of your day, as well as (of course!) offering you a fantastic selection of fabrics. You can choose from over 500 designs which include lace, nets, mesh and tulle, embroideries, linings, key fabrics, novelty fabrics and trimmings. Our fabrics are suitable for women’s fashion, childrenswear, bridal, display, costumes, dance and theatre, prom, cocktail and evening wear and much more. The collection is backed by over 2 million metres of stock and we offer next day delivery on orders for full rolls to UK destinations.