One thing was made clear at this month’s Ispo Munich 2019 fair: The sportswear industry is getting serious about sustainability, and more and more brands are pushing the hot topic to the top of their agenda.
Taking place between 3-6 February, Ispo Munich offered exhibitors and visitors the best of winter weather this year, with heavy snow creating a white winter landscape between the subway station and the exhibition grounds that became a popular photo backdrop for trade fair visitors. But the snow wasn’t welcome news for everyone, with the aisles of the exhibition halls noticeably less crowded than usual - around 80,000 trade visitors from 120 countries came to Munich this month, about 3,000 fewer than last year. The countries with the highest number of visitors were Italy, Austria, France, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the Russian Federation. Exhibitor numbers were up, however, with 2,943 exhibitors presenting their products, a five percent increase from 2018. Eighty-nine percent of the exhibitors came from abroad.
It was clear to see this year that many brands, fabric manufacturers and associations had put sustainability at the forefront of their agenda, as the outdoor industry continues to work on the implementation of numerous measures to develop more sustainable products and processes, as well as bolster consumer awareness. The European Outdoor Group (EOG) Sustainability Charter, for example, says that almost 75 percent of its members have now pledged to use tried and tested procedures in the areas of corporate citizenship, responsibility and sustainability. "The industry has the opportunity to play a pioneering role and to set an example before legal regulations make that decision for us. In addition, sustainability today is simply also a business model," said Arne Strate, secretary general of EOG.
Amid great media interest, outdoor brand The North Face launched the its new textile technology Futurelight on the first day of the fair - a new type of laminate made of polyurethane, which is is naturally elastic and lighter than conventional waterproof materials. In addition to the functional improvements, the material doesn’t lose any fibres when in use and so doesn’t produce microplastics. The discussion of how to further develop products with regard to the microfiber problem was the hot topic of many brands and discussion rounds. PrimaLoft, for example, presented its new biodegradable fiber PrimaLoft Bio, and laminate manufacturer Sympatex in cooperation with research institutes and start-up company Planet Care presented new opportunities to reduce its input and to install new filters for washing machines.
Shoe manufacturer Ecco showcased its new DriTan technology which reduces the water consumption required for tanning leather. By introducing this innovation in its tannery in the Netherlands, Ecco will be able to save more than 25 million liters of water annually.
The new collections for the winter season 2019/20 were more colourful than ever. Bright reds, neon colours, and green and purple tones dominated the stalls. Brands promoting ski clothing, such as Mountain Force or Bergans of Norway, focused on pink and raspberry tones as well as lilac and bordeaux red. Young freeski and snowboard brands like Picture Organic Clothing and O’Neill preferred graphic prints with pastels or gaudy colour blocking, reminiscent of the 80s.
Multifunctionality also played a role in many collections. Black and white contrasts, grey tones and even gold was used, for example in the Mammut Delta X collection and by Scandinavian outdoor brand Houdini whose striking layered looks gave the outdoor segment a whole new aesthetic.
The next Ispo Munich will take place from 26 to 29 January 2020 in Munich. This year, Messe München will also be organising the first ever Outdoor by Ispo from 30 June to 3 July 2019.
This article was published originally on FashionUnited.de. Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.
Photos: Ispo Munich / Bergans of Norway