The major European ingredient sourcing show for the sports industry, Performance Days, has been constantly growing since it started 15 years ago. Just before the Covid-related lockdowns, it transferred to its new venue, Messe Munich, to meet the demand for an even larger exhibition area. This season’s Functional Fabric Fair took place in hall A1, with the third installment of the Journey to Carbon Neutrality theme, “Time to score.”


Source: Performance Days

Visitor numbers up

274 exhibitors from 37 countries were represented at the show, whilst another 100 brands had a virtual presence via The Loop platform. Attendance was up from the previous show, with 2,685 visitors from 56 countries for the two-day event.

The Performance Forum was as busy as ever. Over 1,000 fabric samples submitted to be judged were distilled down to 109 best of class (in 13 major groupings from 3-layer outer fabrics to insulation, to baselayers, via Gorpcore). Representing this year’s theme, swatches ranged from carbon capture yarns to new permeable waterproof membranes via bio-plastics from sources like bananas, pineapples, and mushrooms, as well as a whole generation of recycled yarns that had been extracted from waste car tires.

Two fabrics were singled out for particular praise. The Performance Award went to Green Threads Incorporated of Japan for its lightweight woven nylon, and the Eco Performance Winner was Chai Her Industrial Co from Taiwan for its Bananatex and Tencel shirting fabric. The judging panel was joined this year by Darren Shooter, design director at The North Face’s European headquarters.

Alexa Dehmel provides the Judges' view of the Performance Forum

Source: Charles Ross

Alexa Dehmel provides the Judges’ view of the Performance Forum

19 live expert talks

The presentation stage had its longest-ever sessions, with 17 hours’ worth of information being delivered, split between the two days. Of particular interest were the three hours’ worth of discussion prompted by the changes happening to the breathable waterproof solutions, with the default substrate being phased out due to new sustainability legislation. All activity on stage was recorded and will be uploaded to the Performance Days website before the end of the month for playback by those who were unable to follow it live.

Another notable session was the panel hosted by Dr. Mark Taylor of the School of Design at the University of Leeds, who led the conversation between several membrane manufacturers, however, panels from Green Room Voice’s Anna Rodewald and Sophie Bramel on the subjects of ReGenerative Agriculture and man-made cellulosic fibers also stirred up plenty of public interaction. Two other standout sessions came from the European Outdoor Group’s Katy Stevens on supply chain decarbonization and Ana Kristianssen’s presentation on designing for longevity.

In between all the action, there was still time to relax, with Drirelease providing an opportunity for more informal networking and discussion at the end of day one.

The next Performance Days are scheduled for Oct. 4-5, 2023. Currently, 49 percent of the booth space has already been sold.