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Textile and Apparel Trade Shows Hit Hard by Global Coronavirus Outbreak

Another textile and apparel trade show has been shuttered due to coronavirus anxieties.

The Innovate Textile and Apparel (ITA) Asia show, which was originally scheduled to take place in Singapore this May, has been called off in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak that has brought China to its knees. As the disease continues to spread throughout Asia and even Europe, the fashion industry is bracing for impact to its business operations and supply chain, and taking steps to mitigate fallout.

The World Textile Information Network (WTiN), which organizes the show, has said that a virtual conference will be held in its stead. Delegates will have access to the scheduled presentations through internet-connected devices, allowing them to experience some of the show’s educational resources remotely.

The ITA Online presentation will hit the web on May 5, and will be available through June 30, organizers said. About 23 presentations will be recorded in advance and linked to presentation slides. There will also be an opportunity to pose questions to presenters during “virtual networking” events.

“The WTiN team is following the development around the coronavirus closely, and the health of our delegates and employees is of paramount importance to us which is why we made the decision to cancel ITA Asia for this year,” Chinky Tyagi, head of business development at WTiN, said.

Rather than cancel the event altogether, the organization is taking the proactive step of pivoting to a new, virtual format. “The online event will give attendees the opportunity to access all presentations in one go,” Tyagi said. “They can watch presentations at their own pace with no extra cost of travel or accommodation; the virtual format aims to provide all the functionality of the in-person event including the networking.”

The event’s programming will focus on emerging manufacturing technologies, material innovations and business models that are set to deliver the “next wave of opportunity” for the global textile and apparel manufacturing community, WTiN said in a statement.

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Registrants for ITA Online’s textile programming will be able to stream presentations on topics including blockchain, supply chain efficiency, the “digitally connected circular economy,” 3D design and development and digital inspections. Those who are interested in the materials offerings can partake in presentations covering the future of smart textiles, e-textiles, product development processes for smart garments and more.

WTiN’s announcement about its reimagined Asia show comes amid a host of cancellations throughout the fashion industry. In early February, the Sourcing shows in Las Vegas saw just 40 percent of its registered Chinese exhibitors in attendance, while Portland’s bi-annual Materials Show, due to take place a week later, was “postponed until further notice.”

Premiere Vision Sport, another industry trade show that falls under the events management company’s umbrella, continued as planned in Portland on Feb. 12-13—but Chinese exhibitors were barred from attending. “Due to the recent decision of the U.S. Department of Health, we feel very sorry we cannot welcome our Chinese friends for this edition,” Premiere Vision Sport said in a statement before the show.

Organizers of the Denimsandjeans and Kingpins trade shows, taking place in Japan and Hong Kong on March 4-5 and May 13-14, respectively, cancelled their events in light of the growing global health emergency. Both shows have been rescheduled for later in the year, providing that the situation improves.

“We are very concerned about the situation in China and understand that many of our exhibitors and attendees are dealing with extreme difficulties and uncertainty due to efforts to contain the spread of the virus,” Kingpins Show founder Andrew Olah said.