Neil Felton, CEO of Fespa, provides a taster of what is in store for garment decorators at this year’s Fespa Global Print Expo in Madrid

Neil Felton

How many exhibitors will be showing at this year’s expo and how many visitors are likely to attend?

We are expecting over 600 brands to be represented at Fespa Global Print Expo, European Sign Expo and Sportswear Pro 2020 and we anticipate there being 18,000 visitors in Madrid this year.

What percentage of the exhibitors are focused on garment and textile decoration?

Textile exhibitors, so far, will occupy 40% of the floor plan.

Why did you choose Madrid to host this year’s event?

We work closely with our exhibitor and visitor community when selecting prospective new venues for the Global Print Expo and Madrid was highly requested. It’s an extremely attractive destination and gives us a great opportunity to engage with visitors from across the Iberian Peninsula.

Sportswear Pro is new this year: what is it and at whom is it targeted?

Sportswear and apparel production is the leading industry sector for sublimation printing, one of Fespa’s key exhibitor groups. The most recent Fespa Print Census revealed that 84% of respondents are involved in textile print, including garment printing, and the top performing garment segment is sportswear.

While there are some incredible technologies and materials that are revolutionising how sportswear is made, there is no event dedicated to sportswear manufacturing and future trends within the industry. We want to deliver an event that speaks directly to sportswear manufacturers by focusing primarily on sportswear design, production and decoration, while also highlighting the latest technologies in these areas.

What other attractions will visitors find at Fespa 2020?

Colour L*A*B*, Printeriors, Print Make Wear, as well as the Trend Theatre and the World Wrap Masters competition will all feature new content and creative elements. Colour L*A*B* will offer a comprehensive overview of all the individual elements that contribute towards professional colour management, while this year’s Trend Theatre programme features over 40 sessions on topics such as workflow automation, colour management and sustainable practices, and provides an overview of the current market trends in all areas of specialist print.

Are there any hands-on demonstrations for garment/textile printers?

This year’s Print Make Wear edition will recreate the live end-to-end production process for sports and athleisure garments, starting with planning, design and prepress, progressing to printing, drying, cutting, sewing, welding and embellishment and finishing with packing and retail display. There will be two ordering kiosks and visitors will be able to customise a men’s running shirt or a women’s racerback vest.

What sets the Fespa Global Expo apart from the many other trade printing shows?

We asked some of the world’s leading printers about why they attend Fespa’s events. What was interesting was how many of them put a strong emphasis on the power of discovery – the chance to find out what they don’t know, or spot a new technology or solution that they didn’t know existed, or that is suddenly more advanced than they expected. Some people could argue that there are other ways of doing this – in the age of the smartphone we all have an incredibly powerful research tool at our fingertips.

This means that the true value of an event like Fespa Global Print Expo should be about the wider experience – making human connections, networking with like-minded business people, being inspired, discovering things you couldn’t find out with a quick Google search or by visiting a supplier website. As an event organiser, we must channel our energy and effort into giving visitors the best possible ‘return on experience’.

Why should Images readers attend Fespa 2020: what’s in it for them?

The chance to see so many suppliers under one roof in one or two days is a significant advantage for any business manager that is pressed for time. It’s also a great opportunity to make contact with suppliers that might not have been on their radar. More importantly, we are confident our visitors will leave Madrid feeling invigorated and fuelled with inspiration to put their new ideas into action.

With the introduction of Sportswear Pro and the co-location with European Sign Expo, the event goes beyond print processes/production, so visitors are able to see the complete sportswear manufacturing processes as well as a host of exhibitors in the non-printed signage market space.


The Fespa Global Print Expo 2020 takes place in Madrid, Spain, from 24-27 March. Visit the event website to register and use code FESM214 to gain free entry.