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The Designer's Guide to Sourcing at Interfiliere for Lingerie and Swimwear

Interfiliere is a leading trade show for intimates and swimwear fabrics, trims, and suppliers. It's a treasure trove for designers seeking to elevate their collections with quality materials and innovative accessories while creating smart and sensible supply chains. 

Whether it's your first trade show or you've been around the trade show block a few times, we've found some great learnings to incorporate and make the most of your time at the show. Take a peek at our tips below to best navigate this bustling marketplace to find the perfect components to create your lingerie and swimwear designs:

Black and nude mesh longline bra and highwaisted panty hanging on a gold wire hanger

Pre-Show Prep: Your Blueprint for Success

Planning is the crucial pre-game step before you make it to the vibrant halls of Interfiliere and Salon International De La Lingerie. It's always best to understand what you need before you arrive. You must identify your brand's needs, from lace and embroidery to high-tech fabrics and even ideal supplier qualities. The time is now to set clear goals: Are you looking for eco-friendly materials, the latest trends, or unique textures that set your brand apart? Whatever you're looking for, the most crucial part here is that you actually KNOW what you're looking for before you step foot on the tradeshow floor. Of course, you can always go without much in mind, but if you've got a burning desire to find the right material to fill a void -- knowing something about what you're looking for is half the battle, so don't come without a game plan.

If you need guidance with planning out the types of fabrics you should be sourcing, check out our blog post, Choosing the Perfect Fabric for Lingerie & Swimwear Designs: Unraveling the Mystery. 

Exhibitor Deep Dive: Curating Your Must-See List

Map of exhibitors at Interfiliere

Interfiliere is jam-packed with many exhibitors, but the list of vendors is available before you arrive. Spend a day or two researching beforehand to know which suppliers align with your brand's ethos and aesthetic. Are they known for their sustainable practices, or do they carry that exclusive lace you've dreamed about and longed for? Create a list of must-visit booths to plan your route to maximize your time. If you know a few suppliers you must visit while you're there, be sure to contact them beforehand and schedule a chat with them. Many companies attend this set of shows, so knowing you've already got a calendar appointment with a critical vendor will keep you easy-breezy. Remember, a pre-scheduled chat can be the difference between a fruitful connection and a missed opportunity.

Selective Sourcing: A Focus on Excellence

When sourcing fabrics and accessories, focus on quality over quantity. You don't need to visit with every vendor, just the ones that matter most. Remember that this show is interactive, so it's always a good idea to touch, stretch, and test materials to ensure they meet your standards. Request hangers of the qualities you can use to create something fabulous. Remember, the quality of your materials reflects your brand's reputation, so go for the best--within reason, of course. You don't need to go overboard to get a good assortment. Sometimes, having too many options can cause overwhelm, so it's best to stick with requesting just the items you truly love.

Black mesh and lace bra with a mesh midi skirt and high waisted panty underneath on a dress form.

Pack a snack, water, comfy shoes, and extra accessories!

The days are long, and the venue has so many delightful sights that you'll want to stay all day to see as much as possible, especially if you're only popping in for one day. Wear comfortable, cute shoes, and remember to pack a few small snacks like trail mix or an apple. Bring a water bottle you can refill if you can. The venue might make you dump the water before you go in, but there are usually water bottle-filling stations at most trade fair venues, so you can get some H2O without the high price tag. You'll also want to pack a spare phone charger so you can be sure to continue taking pictures all day long. A measuring tape and a tote bag to carry any physical materials you might receive while you're there might also be handy. 

Peach polka dot mesh puff sleeve off the shoulder bra and matching thong panty on display on a wire hanger.

The Art of Networking: Cultivating Connections

Interfiliere isn't just about sourcing; it's about building relationships and networking with your people! Bring plenty of business cards and be prepared to mingle. There are often after-hours events, and people also sometimes go out to dinner or cocktails with their vendors -- especially if you've made contact well in advance. Now is the time to be bold -- engage with suppliers, attend workshops, and connect with other designers. These relationships can become invaluable as you grow your brand. Don't forget to follow up on the relationships after hours as well, it's always a great idea to add people to LinkedIn while they're still fresh in your mind and while you are in theirs!

Trendspotting: Balancing Innovation with Identity

While staying true to your brand's identity, keep an eye on emerging trends and how they're being presented, too. There are often whole sections of the show dedicated to showing off the latest and greatest in beautiful visual displays that excite and entice! Interfiliere is also known as a hotspot for innovation in textiles. Don't forget to take pictures and keep track of items that intrigue you or might lend some inspiration your way--this is a HUGE part of the reason to attend in person. Visit any and all of the trend seminars, absorb the atmosphere, and consider how new materials can be integrated into your future collections.

Vendor booth for lingerie brand, Studio Pia, at Interfilere

Documentation: Your Post-Show Treasure Map

Trade shows come and go quickly, so be sure you're taking notes, collecting samples, and snapping pictures (with permission). You'll appreciate your organization once the show is over -- good documentation will help you recall which materials caught your eye once you're back in the design room, making it easier to make final decisions.

Post-Show Follow-Up: Sealing the Deal

Strike while the iron's hot - reach out to the connections you've made, express gratitude, and plant the seeds for future collaborations. Prompt follow-up shows professionalism and helps cement the relationships you've built. It's also a great reminder for your suppliers, as they've probably met many individuals and businesses during the show, so being a proactive party is always appreciated on their end.

Reflection and Strategy: Weaving Insights into Action

After the fair, add time to your calendar to intentionally reflect on your findings and strategize. How will these new materials integrate into your existing lines, and how might they inspire new ones? Plan how to use the knowledge and resources acquired to take your lingerie and swimwear designs to the next level. You might also want to do this more than once. Usually, you will get some hangers sent to you a week or two after the show once your vendors have returned to home base and put in the order for what you'd like those hangers to add to your library.

Sourcing at Interfiliere can be a game-changer for lingerie and swimwear designers. With its global range of high-quality materials and unparalleled networking opportunities, it's an event that can shape the future of your collections. Prepare diligently, engage passionately, and source responsibly to maximize your Interfiliere experience. Your next groundbreaking design begins amidst the hangers of mesh and lace, the sheen of satins and microfibers, and the latest fabric technology our industry offers.

Get ready for Interfiliere and find the ideal materials for your fashion brand! Grab our Fabric + Trims Sourcing Guide to level up your sourcing game. This handy guide will give you the lowdown on fibers and textiles, help you curate a collection of fabrics and trims you love, guide you through 8 essential criteria to choose the right materials for your products and unveil the ultimate fabrics for your fashion brand. Don't miss out on this essential tool for your fashion journey!

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