The Woolmark Company and the IWTO co-hosted the Wool Arena at this year’s Heimtextil trade show.
Heimtextil confirmed a strong showing of wool in interior textiles, with exhibitors welcoming strong growth and interest in their products.
Frankfurt’s Heimtextil is one of the world’s most important trade fairs for the interiors, with 69,000 visitors and more than 2700 exhibitors – a strong increase from 2015.
The Woolmark Company once again led the way with the Wool Arena, co-hosting the hub with Woolmark licensees and the IWTO presenting the latest in wool bedding, wool carpets and wool furnishings. Bringing together Woolmark partners Baur Vliesstoffe, Bönning + Sommer, DBCwool and Jaspa Herington, Wool Arena was the epicentre for all things wool and attracted tens of thousands of trade visitors.
“The Woolmark Company once again put on a great show which offers the wool industry a valuable meeting point at Heimtextil to discuss and engage with customers,” said IWTO Secretary General Elisabeth van Delden. “At the same time it is a great opportunity to educate fair visitors about the natural benefits and properties of wool.”
The demand for natural products such as wool in bedding continues to increase, with innovations such as sliver knits attracting consumers and asking them to actively think about what they are sleeping on or under. New collections and product ranges for babies and children were seen at various bedding producers. Other trends include wool waddings for mattresses and wool balls for filled wool bedding were in high demand.
“Underlays have been a stronger offering than normal, particularly with European customers,” said Jaspa Herington National Sales & Marketing Manager Janine Bisset. “We also produced a baby quilt, which we haven’t had before. We’ve always had a comprehensive offering for adults about the perfect bedding solution, but we’ve always left out children, and customers have embraced this great opportunity really well. We are also expanding our quilt range to include a beautiful lightweight wool quilt, suitable for warmer months and climates.”
DBCwool Sales & Marketing Director Dominique Blandiaux agrees that innovation is imperative to continue to attract new customers. She said this year saw an increase in visitors to their stand, with new countries showing an interest in wool bedding.
“In Europe, we’ve had a lot of interest in wool balls - balls made from washed wool,” said Ms Blandiaux. “This innovation is helping many people who have never used wool before. It’s very easy to process, even without special machines so it’s a good way to introduce wool into products.”
Wool industry members also reported that wool for acoustics is becoming increasingly important. Contemporary architecture’s widespread use of concrete, glass and steel may result in stunning looks, but these materials spell disaster for acoustics. Wool carpets and wool felt panels are being integrated into the interior designs of offices and public spaces. In addition to the acoustical benefits, wool panels offer great colours and the ability to filter air pollution and odour.
“There’s some interesting things going on with rugs; some big heavy weaves sometimes mixed with other fibres,” explains Wool Room Managing Director Chris Tattersall. “Thick weaves and indeed some of the finer weaves allow for a very natural, coarser-type look, which adds texture to the appearance.”