By and  on August 3, 2007

DUSSELDORF — Orders may be down, but at least the mood on the German market is on the way up.

That was the verdict at the country's largest women's wear trade show CPD. The four Igedo fashion fairs, which include HMD (men's wear), Body Look (bodywear) and Global Fashion (sourcing), as well as CPD, attracted 42,600 visitors, compared with 42,248 visitors a year ago.

Although visitor traffic barely rose, for Igedo's chief Frank Hartmann, the most important thing is not the quantity, but the quality, of visitors. "Around 84 percent of visitors were decision-makers [company heads or chief executives], a big increase on last year," he said on the final day of the show, which took place July 22 to 24. "Two years ago even the position of Düsseldorf as a fashion industry center was in question. Now that Bread & Butter has left Berlin, that question has definitively been settled."

However, while being extremely satisfied with the performance of Body Look and certain segments of CPD, such as the contemporary area Concept 11, he admitted Igedo has many areas to work on, with overall orders dropping by around a single-digit percentage point. "The big brands are still missing," he conceded. "Our next duty is to get these labels back onto the fairgrounds. Traveling around the showrooms all day in a taxi is no fun for anyone."

For exhibitors, the biggest disappointment was the lack of traffic.

"We are used to being really busy, but so far we have had no orders at all," said Jacey Taylor, West Coast sales executive for U.S. label Rebecca Taylor on the penultimate day of the show. "The only people who have come are the ones who know our brand already."

CPD marked Rebecca Taylor's first foray into Germany, after opening a showroom in London eight months ago with the aim of breaking into the European market.

Even CPD old hands, such as the mid-market German label Hirsch, which is usually jam-packed, said visitors were few and far between. And Marly Verhoeven, designer for the Dutch label ID Hats, a regular at CPD, praised the fair's organization but said she was disappointed with business. "To be honest, I would rather have worse organization and more customers," she said wryly.

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