Darrell Kirk, Managing Director of North America, from the Quickfeat Seattle team had the opportunity to attend the Functional Fabric Fair Portland in-person November 17-18. He was excited to meet with several customers and suppliers during the two-day show.
“I’m glad we have stayed connected during the pandemic via Zoom, but it was fantastic to meet in person and catch up after more than two years,” said Kirk. “The pandemic has changed so much in our industry, but it has also brought us so much closer together as we have all been impacted somewhat equally. We’re all doing what we can to keep the partnerships and friendships in place.”
It was a whirlwind trip to Portland, while at the same time attending the Textile Exchange show in Dublin, Ireland virtually. The pandemic made attending two shows, in two different countries, at the same time a reality. It has also changed the way we are sourcing with our long-time partners. Zoom, email, and other communication platforms are making us more efficient and allowing us to react quickly. Still, we long for the day when our teams in Hong Kong and the U.S. can come together with our friends in the industry face to face.
“Both the Functional Fabric Fair and the Textile Exchange shows took a deep dive into sustainable fabrics and technologies and I believe we are reaching critical mass in seeing big changes across the apparel industry in this arena. Customers are asking for and demanding for these changes,” said Kirk.
The next Functional Fabric Fair will take place on April 4-5, 2022, in Portland and Kirk looks forward to attending again. The mornings were busy with attendees fully engaged in sourcing the latest fabrics and technology and attending various hybrid presentations with presenters both live and in person, and on Zoom. Again, the pandemic has changed everything, and Zoom has expanded the reach of presenters. Attending trade shows virtually has been very difficult over the last couple of years, however the live presentations at the show with both virtual and live speakers were very effective.
“We know we have a lot of challenges ahead of us, but there have been some incredible innovations. New paradigms are changing our industry and I look forward to a bright future,” said Kirk. David Parkes of Concept III Textiles presented in-person at one of the panel discussions and said it best: “This is a very good industry with very good people.” Parkes encouraged the youth to consider the outdoor apparel industry as a career. We can’t agree with him more.