With Emptier Aisles and a New Head, Première Vision Seeks a Fresh Direction

PARIS — Textile trade show Première Vision is in transition, with new head Florence Rousson rethinking its strategy and adding services to counter emptier aisles.

Rousson will unveil Première Vison’s full strategy in September.

In a press release, PV said 8,000 companies from 115 countries inspected new developments from some 930 exhibitors on June 30 and July 1. It did not give a specific attendee count as in previous editions.

Organizers had anticipated a slower show, in part due to travel hiccups ahead of the impending Olympics, as well as the impact of general socioeconomic concerns for the market, Rousson said.

“At the end, it was not the Olympic games that were a problem, it’s that it is more complicated for the market. The buyers and the exhibitors have difficulty with a medium- and long-term vision and difficulties to plan their activities,” she said.

The scene at Première Vision at the temporary Grand Palais structure in Paris.

The scene at Première Vision at the temporary Grand Palais structure in Paris.

Alex Galossi

Rousson, who took the helm of the trade show in March as chair of the board of directors, has continued initiatives and new services first trialed earlier this year. Those include a space called The Cube, which is an appointment-only service headed by associate fashion director Ariane Bigot, to help facilitate brands’ sourcing, as well as a matchmaking program to connect brands and exhibitors.

The one-on-one consulting in The Cube aims to provide an opportunity for companies to understand brands’ needs, especially for luxury labels looking for high-end and exclusive materials. Houses including Kenzo, Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton were among those that took private appointments over the three-day trade show, while the matchmaking program facilitated 1,900 meetings between exhibitors and brands this session.

To bring brands to the fair and optimize their time, Première Vision also expanded a hosting program with a substantial 2-million-euro purse that offered airfare, transport, hotel accommodations, as well as organized meetings to approximately 250 buyers from around the world.

U.S-based brands including Calvin Klein, Lane Bryant, Nordstrom, Tom Ford and Vince were among the corporate players invited, while smaller designers receiving the five-star treatment included Alice + Olivia, Bode, Dion Lee, Kith and Trina Turk. Chinese megabrand Icicle also participated.

“This program also gives us the possibility to contact the key buyers of the different countries. We have numerous offices all around the world and we’re pretty close to the [different] markets — just to target the right buyers and to help them to come to Paris,” Rousson said.

It’s also the first time Première Vision has partnered with the French Finance Ministry’s promotional and investment arm, Business France.

“We work for the buyers, but also for the exhibitors,” said Rousson. “[The programs] also give the exhibitors at the convention a better return on their investment in the show.”


A buyer inspecting prints at Première Vision in Paris.

Alex Galossi

Numbers are still lower than pre-pandemic, and the executive does not expect them to return to prior levels anytime soon.

“We can see that the market has changed, and the companies have changed,” she said, citing some closures and the resulting consolidation of companies. Instead of focusing on increasing numbers, Première Vision wants to have the right mix of buyers and exhibitors moving forward.

But the emptiness of the aisles and uncertain atmosphere is making exhibitors rethink their strategy, said Lucrezia Seu, founder of Shanghai-based strategy and marketing agency Plush Consulting.

Seu represents Italian heritage mills Piacenza 1733 and Lanificio F.lli Cerruti, which skipped Première Vision this time around. They chose to exhibit this year at the smaller Paris Preco fair, which took place in June.

Milano Unica, set to take place next week, also offers a smaller and more curated offering that appeals to luxury suppliers.

“Before those suppliers would come here as well, and now they think it’s redundant to do both, so they just have focused there,” Seu said. Another longtime exhibitor, speaking on background, was set to unveil a new product, but three of their four partners decided to skip Première Vision this year in favor of Milano Unica.

“There is a movement that is happening,” the longtime exhibitor said, to attend smaller, more curated shows. They also noted that Première Vision mixes its high-end exhibitors next to those that are “targeting commodities” such as cheap cotton, instead of luxury or innovative fabrics.

“In Première Vision, if they came, then they would be next to somebody supplying a lower price range or polyester” which can be off-putting for luxury suppliers, added Seu.

Attendee Ultrasuede will return, due to its long-standing presence at the fair, adopting a new perspective. “Perhaps it’s not really a place to develop new business connections, but more so to see old faces and just show their presence in Paris,” she said. However, Seu said her Chinese client NAO will likely skip next time and is considering attending the Shenzhen edition instead.

“This has also made me think about alternative solutions in terms of showcasing products and meeting clients, and perhaps these big-scale fairs are not the only way to go these days, there can be more curated solutions that are done by the brand,” she said.

Attendees suggested the fair should focus on innovation, particularly in the talks and demonstrations, create curated sections grouped by price point or quality, and better explain the role of the regional editions in New York and Shenzhen.

PV1 FD 0024

A color display at the Première Vision fabric fair in Paris.

Alex Galossi

Designer Feng Chen Wang, who was searching for textiles for her fall 2025 collection, found innovation in natural materials. In particular she cited new, lighter blends of wool that are taking innovation cues from sportswear incorporating more technical aspects, that will work on tailored pieces without bulking them up, and also hit sustainability marks. New iterations of faux fur with Biofluff and Ecopel exhibiting also caught her eye.

“That is something that is linked to sports and innovation,” said Wang. The new materials will move the market past the quiet luxury trend that has been defined by traditional shapes and stiffer items such as coats, blended with the post-pandemic comfort dressing.

“It’s not always about a great, beautiful surface to design, but actually about functionality,” she noted. “People will consider more about how to really make yourself comfortable.”

The smaller size of the fair wasn’t necessarily off-putting for Wang. “It is smaller, which from my point of view makes your life easier. We are missing some suppliers, but sometimes you don’t need that many [exhibitors], you just need the right ones,” she said. Wang noted that suppliers are now more willing to work with smaller houses on volume and minimum order size in order to build long-term relationships.

Bringing in those smaller houses and young designers is a key position for Rousson.

Première Vision’s long-standing partnership with the International Festival of Fashion, Photography, and Fashion Accessories in Hyères where it has awarded the Grand Prix du Jury de Mode will end this year. Rousson said the trade show will still welcome the winners in some capacity, though they are rethinking how to best support young designers.

She highlighted the organization’s partnerships with fashion schools, including Paris’ Institut Français de la Mode and Milan’s Istituto Europeo di Design and Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti. It is considering a variety of educational partnerships or design programs to support young talent with more to be announced, she said.

“We need to imagine a new model, have some new proposals, renovate the existing model, take into consideration what the DNA is and our pillars, imagine how we can move these pillars to create new added value,” said Rousson.

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