Germany’s well-populated trade-show scene isn’t growing in numbers, but it’s still expanding, as fairs step up their efforts to inform and inspire retailers through broader lifestyle assortments.
This story first appeared in the November 30, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Up against another unseasonably warm fall kickoff, the nation’s apparel retailers don’t have the best full-year prospects, according to Jürgen Dax, director of the German Apparel Retailers Federation.
“For the last 10 years, we’ve all been saying assortments must somehow change, as well as delivery cycles, but there’s been no real readiness to tackle the problem,” Dax said.
He expects a full turnout at the fairs, starting with Berlin’s eight-show lineup Jan. 17 to 19, “but we won’t know till February or March if buyers have reduced their limits and ordered less.”
Having recently acquired Show & Order, Premium Exhibitions also includes Premium, Seek and Bright, but each show has its own orientation, profile and team of experts.
“Berlin is about giving the best overview of merchandise in the beginning of the season, but what doesn’t work anymore is one solution for everybody,” said Premium founder and director Anita Tillmann.
She added that Berlin has become an industry hub, drawing company owners, salespeople, buyers, bloggers and press.
“It’s an effort and investment to serve all of them, but we see it growing season by season, so we must be doing something right,” Tillmann said.
At present, Premium’s portfolio will feature at least 25 percent new brands; Seek, 18 percent, and Bright 37 percent. This edition of Show & Order will be a work in progress, “allowing us to show where the new direction is going,” said show founder Verena Malta.
Always on the lookout for upcoming themes and categories, Premium will more prominently spotlight sports fashion for fall 2018. Almost 50 outdoor brands will be on hand, with Bogner planning a big presentation. Tillmann is also betting on hiking as the next sports trend to win a fashion following.
Bright, which had its origins in the skating and board-sports sector, is diversifying into “outdoor aesthetics,” featuring brands like Mountain Peak and MofM (Mountains of Moods) and working with the blog of the same name. Next season, accessories will go it alone in a new 4,300-square-foot area and urbanwear is literally moving into a glass house for a modern feel.
With its contemporary-heritage focus, Seek will be strengthening its lifestyle Supermarket area next season. The show has also added a cluster of Japanese denim brands, and while men remain Seek’s main target, women’s offerings with a similar DNA will be pushed more to the forefront.
“We’re not creating a separate area, but will be mixing it up, and inviting women’s buyers to check out the men’s wear, too,” said Maren Wiebus, Seek’s sales director.
Selvedge Run is sticking to men’s wear, but is spinning off its heritage and crafted goods orientation to non-apparel products this season. There will be food products, “everything small that one can sell in clothing stores, like craft beer and coffee,” explained cofounder Shane Brandenburg.
Also part of the concept store assortment: homeware, outdoor products, everything to do with mobility like handmade bikes and e-bikes, and men’s grooming products.
The more midmarket platform Panorama is also fine-tuning its Nova lifestyle sector to feature commercials such as Wrangler, Lee and Bench in combination with lifestyle products. The men’s hall and women’s premium hall will also have integrated lifestyle areas to help inspire and “empower” mainstream retailers to animate their assortments.
Other moves: shoes and accessories will be reorganized in a more retail-oriented manner, the Hipstar section for plus-size fashion will be rolled out to an additional hall, lingerie will make its Panorama debut this season and there will be showroomlike spaces for fashion agencies. In addition, Panorama Digital, which bowed last season, is now going business-to-consumer, allowing interested consumers to take a virtual tour of the show, check the trends and discover where to buy the merchandise via a store finder.
Greenshowroom and Ethical Fashion have moved their runway venue to the neighboring Energy Forum to provide additional exhibition space for new green collections in Post Bahnhof.
Beyond Berlin, Munich’s active sportswear fair Ispo is reworking hall concepts for its Feb. 5 to 8 edition. Action sports specialists, including makers of snowboards and skateboards, as well as urban and street sports products and sneakers, will be housed in an open polygonal structure designed to support networking and also to provide a broad visual overview.
“In my opinion, what we need is a return to what made the industry great in the first place: innovations and future-proof concepts,” said Markus Hefter, exhibition director, noting that the product should be the focus, he suggested, not just the way it is presented.
Reflecting the growing importance of sustainability in the sports industry, the Ispo Textrends showcase will incorporate an Eco Era category to introduce innovations that protect the environment as well as advance the market.