By  on May 23, 2007

PARIS — French trade show organizers are betting that creativity, savvy marketing and increased services will lift their shows above the international competition, as will associating themselves closely with Paris' reputation as fashion's reigning capital city.

With business starting on a solid note this year, organizers said that their shows so far have clocked more buyers from regions such as Russia, Japan and other Asian countries, as well as the U.S. and Europe. But with an increasing number of shows, organizers agreed concentrating efforts on creativity was key to making Paris an essential stop on the retailers' trade show world tour.

"Fashion is going faster and faster," said Jean-Pierre Mocho, president of Prêt à Porter Paris. "Shows are no longer just about placing orders, they also must provide concentration of information in order to inform buyers who are seeking to discover new creations and directions," he added, noting France's ready-to-wear market reached $14.96 billion last year, with nearly 40 percent in exports.

"Today the young designer category is a commercial success; buyers from across the globe are coming to the Paris shows specifically for unknown brands and young designers," said Xavier Clergerie, organizer for Who's Next and Premiere Classe, contemporary rtw and accessories shows that run at the Porte de Versailles Sept. 6 to 9.

"We have to be in the business of today but you must prepare the business of the future," said Philippe Pasquet, Première Vision's recently appointed chief executive officer. To that end, Pasquet will introduce a "Creative Vision" badge that will be given to established designers as well as top students from the leading fashion design schools. "We must promote creativity across all

categories; young stylists will be our future clients," he said.

Organizers agreed that tomorrow's business also includes new markets. Première Vision, for example, concentrated its commercial efforts in Russia, applying a "door-to-door policy" when it came to making new contacts abroad. "There is a growing upper middle class in Russia with a continually increasing number of brands," said Pasquet, who noted that European textile manufacturers increased exports to Russia by 22 percent last year.

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