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International Trade Shows: Change of Pace

Altering the landscape at Brazil’s biggest fashion fairs.

The organizer that recently consolidated control of Brazil’s two fashion weeks promises to shake up their formats.

In September, InBrands, a local fashion-brand holding company, bought control of Luminosidade, organizer of São Paulo Fashion Week. Then, in late April, InBrands signed a 10-year licensing agreement with Firjan, the organizer of Fashion Rio, whereby Luminosidade would run that fashion event, too.

Luminosidade is planning format changes for both events, although changes at SPFW are not expected until January 2010.

Some 100,000 visitors are expected to attend SPFW from June 15 to 22 at the Bienal Cultural Center in Ibirapuera Park to view summer 2010 collections from approximately 50 designers. Around 60 foreign buyers are expected, nearly double the number in prior years, because organizers are inviting many French buyers as part of a trade and cultural agreement between the two governments titled “2009 — The Year of France in Brazil.”

At the January 2010 edition, Luminosidade plans to set up a buyers’ salon near the Bienal center. SPFW organizers had discontinued an in-house buyers’ salon after its June 2007 edition, because more exhibitors wanted space inside the Bienal than organizers could accommodate.

Luminosidade will make a big format change at the next Fashion Rio, a biannual event that offers more mainstream apparel compared with SPFW.

To accommodate a growing number of designers, exhibitors and sponsors, the show will move from Gloria Marina to an 868,000-square-foot event space at the Mauá Pier. Runway shows will take place there inside three 113,000-square-foot, remodeled warehouses and the Fashion Business buyers’ salon will occupy a 97,000-square-foot tent on the pier.

Like the previous year’s edition, the June 5 to 10 event will feature collections from approximately 55 stylists, and should draw 90,000 visitors and 90 to 100 foreign buyers. Fashion Business will host nearly 100 exhibitors.

Luminosidade expects stronger sales at Fashion Rio and stable sales at the next SPFW. Last June, Fashion Rio’s domestic buyers placed 443 million reais, or $276 million at current exchange, in orders and foreigners bought $16.3 million worth of fashion. Last year, the off-site showrooms of SPFW designers and those of stylists without runway shows brought in 1.5 billion reais, or $652 million.

Luminosidade’s optimism is, in part, due to better pricing. The global economic crisis has caused the U.S. dollar to gain 37.5 percent against the real since last year, and caused the euro to gain 15 percent against the real, making dollar- and euro-based fashion exports cheaper and more competitive.

“Sales at the next Fashion Rio should rise by 15 percent because foreigners are not just getting better prices, but can now count on shorter delivery times and better service,” said Luminosidade director Gustavo Bernhoeft.

Organizer Reed Exhibition Alcantara Machado has canceled this summer’s edition of the Fenit fair for textiles and casual-, beach- and athleticwear. A company spokesman said, “We are studying how to remodel Fenit.”