Madrid Preview: Trade Fair and Runway Converge to Draw Global Spotlight

The second edition of Momad Metropolis, this city’s total-look apparel, accessories and footwear show, will coincide with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

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MADRID — The second edition of Momad Metropolis, this city’s total-look apparel, accessories and footwear show, will for the first time coincide with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid, with the aim of building a large fashion event covering merchandise from the accessible to the high end.

This story first appeared in the January 29, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The trade fair runs Feb. 14 to 16 at the city’s fairgrounds, while Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid will be held Feb. 14 to 18.

Momad director Francesco Malatesta said the new all-in-one concept — replacing former trade events Simm and Modacalzado — is currently “the biggest fashion show on the Iberian Peninsula” with 1,300 exhibitors expected and upwards of 17,500 visitors from more than 70 countries. The hope is that staging the trade and runway shows together will cast a wider international spotlight on Spanish fashion.

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“We don’t have to attract the whole world,” he maintained. “Markets that are working great are South America and Mexico because they have an affinity with us. There’s good business, too, from Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East,” where he reported “big buyer groups and solid numbers” at the previous September edition. Also interesting are Asia and China.

Spain might have inched out of its second recession in three years, but retail sales have plunged 30 percent with some 14,000 business closures in that time frame, said Borja Oría, president of ACOTEX, a clothing retail lobby group headquartered in Madrid. Fifty percent of current sales is made up of reduced or outlet merchandise, he added, but, in general, “The climate here was a bit more positive in the third quarter, and there is evidence of recuperation.”

Concurring media reports suggest a slight upturn of 0.4 percent in consumer spending — its first positive result in many months.

Despite the domestic meltdown, the upcoming fairs’ key sectors are keeping heads above water, thanks to a favorable positioning abroad and exports.

For instance, the value of Spanish clothing and textile exports increased 17 percent from January to May 2013, or roughly 4.8 billion euros (about $6.2 billion at average exchange for the period) compared with the previous year, according to CITYC, the Textile and Apparel Information Center. France remains this country’s biggest taker, followed by Italy and Portugal.

FICE, the Spanish Footwear Manufacturers Federation, reported the footwear sector exported 62.7 million pairs for the same period last year for a value of 995.6 million euros ($1.3 billion), or an increase of 12.4 percent. France, Italy, Germany and Portugal are Spain’s principal shoe markets.

Small leather goods exports increased 4 percent during 2013’s first quarter, according to the Spanish Association of Leather Goods Manufacturers, with 2012 showing a 12.5 percent hike valued at more than 575 million euros (about $735 million).

Momad’s objective, according to Malatesta, is “to find a different zone in which to compete and maintain our identity at the same time.

“The fashion industry in Spain is an opportunity for business,” he said. “It is not very old — it hasn’t yet given its best. Very few producers here have become brands, and few manufacturers are linked with design. Our intent is to grow one big event.”

To that end, future editions of Momad will run in tandem with fashion week and GiftTrends, a vast biannual trade show featuring jewelry, gifts and decoration. “From now on, we’ll be sticking to the second week of September and February,” Malatesta said.

In the designer arena, MBFWM will feature about 44 designers including a group of 10 newcomers under the banner El Ego.

“The calendar is comparable to the last edition,” said director Cuca Solana. “The big news is that David Delfín is back [on the runway after skipping a few seasons], and that Roberto Etxeberría has earned his own catwalk show. I get the feeling designers are more relaxed about the [economic] crisis. I wouldn’t say it was a trend, but they seem to feel it can’t get any worse.”

With dates conflicting with London Fashion Week, only a handful of international buyers are expected, according to IFEMA, a self-financed public consortium that organizes Madrid’s fashion-related events.

“There is no international [impact],” said Arnaud Maillard, co-creative director with Alvaro Castejón of the Paris-based label Azzaro. The duo also commandeer a Madrid-based made-to-measure line called Alvarno. “We do fashion our way, and we fly independently,” which means no government aid and no participation in Madrid Fashion Week, “because it is not an international window; changes have to be made before it is.”

On the other hand, Ana González, a veteran of fashion week with her edgy, six-year-old Ana Locking label, said, “I’m very optimistic about MBFWM. It’s a great platform for the Spanish fashion industry; it helps so much to promote our creativity. Nobody else in Spain invests in talent and design like MBFWM, and without it, we wouldn’t have a chance because the problem here is a lack of economic infrastructure. Designers don’t have any money; they can’t afford to travel or participate in foreign trade shows.”

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