Cutting-edge materials and technologies, automation, digital innovations and sustainability: these were the highlights of this year’s edition
Since its launch in 1951, ITMA has been recognised by the industry as the world’s largest innovation launchpad for the textile and garment community. This year’s exhibition in Milan saw the industry demonstrating remarkable post-pandemic resilience with an impressive participation rate that brought cutting-edge technologies back to life.
As a matter of fact, this year’s edition counted good figures, both in terms of exhibitors – 1.709 – and visitors – around 111.000 –, all hosted by the huge Milano Rho fairgrounds, covering a total space of more than 200.000sqm.
Main theme of the fair has been recycling, in the drive towards a more sustainable global textile industry. Among developments in this area, new fibres that can be made from 100% textile waste, innovative energy saving spinning systems and chemicals-free processing.
Also in the limelight at ITMA 2023 were news about software, driving the digitalisation, automation and global connectivity of the textile industry. This is particularly the case in the fast-rising digital printing sector, which is now enabling hundreds of new small-to-medium companies (SMEs) to rapidly establish fully connected, produce-on-demand digital platforms that are turning into a serious template for trading and a valid alternative to ‘fast fashion’ and all the waste it entails.
After digital printing, digital dyeing and finishing is poised to follow, with new systems developed by many big names of the sector, promising to deliver huge resource savings in what has to date been an energy and water-intensive sector.
The exhibition has certainly lived up to its goal of successfully showcasing the development of the aforementioned topics. What was perhaps most surprising at ITMA 2023, given the generally gloomy analyst forecasts for the immediate future of the textile industry, were the number of new sales being announced and the upbeat atmosphere. Many exhibitors across the supply chain expressed genuine astonishment at the readiness of many textile manufacturers to invest at this precarious point in time, but sometimes human optimism just wins out.
The next edition, which will be even smarter and more sustainable for sure, has been set to take place in Hanover, Germany, in 2027.