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The Denim Industry Shows its Muscle in Barcelona

16 December, 2014

Denim by Premiere Vision / © Première Vision SA. Bianca de Vilar. Pierpaolo Sarra

Denim by Premiere Vision, the most important denim-industry event in the world, anticipates “staying in Barcelona for the long term”.

The world’s foremost denim fashion event took place in Barcelona in November. Four thousand sector representatives visited Denim by Premiere Vision. The industry’s benchmark event brought together 98 leading brands to demonstrate their creative, technological and innovative potential in each and every one of the subsectors they cover. “We have brought the most influential companies in the denim sector together in Barcelona, the ones that make up the hard core of the value chain around the world in denim production and manufacturing. At the latest event, weavers represented 48% of exhibitors, followed by manufacturing, washing and denim finishes firms. There was also a very important representation of accessory designers, fibre producers and technology developers,” said the director of Denim by Premiere Vision in Barcelona, Chantal Malingrey, who spoke to Barcelona és moda about the most recent edition of the event.

Economic potential

According to figures from Denim by Premiere Vision, the denim industry generates €51 billion per year in sales. This figure could reach €56 billion within the next three years, according to the show’s forecasts. It points to the strength of a sector which rethought the way to improve its positioning within the competitive fashion market during the years of the financial crisis. “During the downturn, the brands analysed their possibilities for selling good products at the right price and improved their positioning through innovation and new technology development,” Ms Malingrey said.

Considering that technological advances are fundamental for a competitive denim sector, it is no surprise that one of the highlights of the show is the exhibition of cutting-edge machinery and processes to weave, make and produce fashion items using denim. In that regard, Catalan companies which work in these fields were distinguished by their presence at the latest edition.

Iberlaser is one example. This Catalan multinational, which specialises in laser technology, used Denim by Premiere Vision to present is new machinery for cutting denim and making special engravings and finishes. Pinter Caipo, another of the Catalan firms present at the show, demonstrated its know-how in creating systems to produce special thread for denim, such as Core, Flamé and Multicount-Multitwist, among others.

Barcelona: denim capital

For Catalan companies, having the trade show in Barcelona has undoubtedly been an advantage. Last year, after holding it in Paris for 13 times, the show’s organisers, i.e., the company Premiere Vision, which is also responsible for other fashion fairs in France, decided to up sticks to the Catalan capital. “We took the decision about eighteen months ago. We plan to be here for the long term. On the one hand, Fira de Montjuïc is a trade show site that offers many incentives and Barcelona, with its culture, creativity and lifestyle, also perfectly captures the spirit of our show. The city has the values and codes that correspond to those of the international denim community,” the event’s director said.

“Having Denim by Premiere Vision in Barcelona is convenient and represents a much lower cost in travel and hotels. Also, thinking about international visitors, Barcelona is a highly attractive destination within the fashion sector, very modern and new. It has been held in Paris for many years. Having said that, if it were held in another country we would still go,” said Unitin CEO Javier Morera. This firm, which belongs to the business Indústries Morera, has taken part in Denim by Premiere Vision for the second time. It specialises in developing different denim-based products, although not “the classic jeans”, Mr Morera said, adding, “Our main contribution is denim knit”.

Mr Morera travels the world to open up markets for his family business which operates out of Avinyó, close to Manresa. From Colombiatex in Medellin, to Spinexpo in New York and Shanghai and Blue Zone in Munich, Unitin is present in the major international textile sector cities, putting its CEO in a good position to analyse the offer of today’s trade shows: “There are other events in the denim industry, like Kingpins in New York and Amsterdam, but none of them is as comprehensive as this one”.

The choice of Barcelona as the European denim capital is further shored up by the still-important presence of textile sector businesses in Catalonia. At the last event, around 8% of exhibitors were Spanish and of them half were four Catalan companies. In addition to Unitin, Iberlaser and Pinter Caipo, another firm to join the show this year was the company R.S.P. 51. Founded in Colonia Prat in Puig-Reig in 1986, it specialises in 100% cotton fabrics and items with special finishes and close to 70% of its collection is targeted at womenswear.

Micro-specialists

Expanding abroad and specialising in a very particular product within the denim industry has allowed companies that work in the sector to successfully evolve through to today. Unitin, for example, sells around 70% of its production abroad. “We specialise in fantasy denim and to be able to get the thread we need for this product we developed special machinery inhouse which today lets us stand out from the competition.” In that regard, Mr Morera says the key is to invest in innovation. He says that the textile companies which operate in this field and which survived the sector crisis in Catalonia “are all distinguished by being able to make a product that is very different and unique within the denim industry”.

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