Performance-and-Active Sourcing Arrive in Portland at Functional Fabric Fair
Launching in Portland at the Oregon Convention Center Oct. 22–23, Functional Fabric Fair—powered by Performance Days unveiled its performance-specific trade-show model on the West Coast. The United Kingdom–headquartered Reed Exhibitions introduced the show to fulfill a need for an event focused on the specific desires of active and performance apparel makers who want a more-intimate space to explore innovation along the supply chain.
As the event manager for Functional Fabric Fair, Stephen McCullough noted that there is a difference between the fashionable-sportswear focus of the New York edition and the priorities of the attendees who visited the first installment of the Portland show.
“In Portland, this wasn’t where people were looking to expand their merchandise plans into performance fabrics,” he said. “Brands such as Nike and Adidas and all these guys are performance. We provided them with more suppliers, and they loved that we brought this quality of show to Portland.”
For exhibitor and show sponsor David Parkes, founder of the Red Bank, N.J.–headquartered performance-textile manufacturer Concept iii, the show was an opportunity to develop the event’s reach within a region that has been committed to outdoor and performance styles for the active consumer. During the show, this history of performance apparel was exhibited through an archive displayed on the show floor that included the era-specific designs of different brands such as Arc’teryx, Carhartt, CB Sports, Columbia, Filson, Patagonia, Rab and Sierra Designs.
“It was exciting because it was focused on performance textiles. Performance Days in Munich has adopted that model very successfully, and now we have our own performance-textile show in the States,” Parkes said. “The performance-textile industry needs a show of this nature. The outdoor and active industries are huge industries in the States. When you look at brands like Patagonia, the North Face, Adidas and Lululemon—it’s huge.”
As sustainability has been trending across apparel-industry categories, McCullough noted that an eco-friendly approach is at the core of the event.
“We always say sustainability is expected,” he explained. “We wouldn’t have you in this show if you didn’t practice sustainability in your everyday life. You have to pass certain criteria to be at the show.”
While this was the first Portland edition of the show, McCullough reported numbers that exceeded expectations. He is already looking to next fall to plan the second installment of the event.
“Doing shows like this should affect the way that you source. The days of going to Taiwan and China for two weeks at a time are coming to an end when shows like this can bring these to your neighborhood,” he said. “Each booth is offering something a little different, unique, and these guys are at the top of the food chain. I built the show that I wanted to go to.”