By  on May 23, 2007

TOKYO — Japanese trade shows are working to stand out in a world where retailers can choose to attend any show in any country they wish. Tactics employed include adjusting schedules to better accommodate the seasons, introducing unique and imported merchandise and offering shorter lead times and flexibility to the market.

At its next edition, to be held July 18 to 20, the International Fashion Fair will offer a new import area called Terroir, showcasing approximately 60 overseas brands.

Included among them are a number of Turkish labels, approximately 10 European kids&' brands and lines from France and Italy, including bags and shoes. U.S. brands exhibit only in January under the coordination of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"By introducing imported brands of good quality, we will [improve] this exhibition," said Hiromi Kudo, IFF division manager. IFF aims to be the best show in Asia, and introducing the European brands is the key to attracting Asian buyers, Kudo added.

One of the more popular offerings at IFF is Creator&'s Village, where new designers and small businesses exhibit original and creative brands. Buyers are looking for something new, and "CV is the corner that answers the demand of the buyers," said Kudo.

Buyers agree that shows need new and exciting elements to draw crowds.

"A large-size exhibition is good to have an entire look at the industries effectively," said Takatoshi Ogawa, buyer and representative of Japanese specialty store Nara. "Buyers need the chance to meet new talented people. I will keep visiting the exhibitions from now on."

IFF expects to have 700 exhibitors and 29,000 visitors at Tokyo Big Sight in July. Asked about the possibility of moving show dates to better reflect the global fashion cycle, Kudo answered that, due to the availability of the venue, IFF must continue to be held in July and January. However, a new show, called Plug In, will be staged in April and October at EBISU 303 to better meet the demands of the fashion industry. "The April show is for fall-winter and the October show is for spring-summer. We started [Plug In] in March 2006 and the reaction is good," Kudo said.

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