PARIS — Change is in the air in Paris and Copehagen.
This story first appeared in the November 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Organizers have rolled up their sleeves to add new fairs to the roster of apparel and accessories trade shows, focusing on emerging markets and new categories.
Paris’ Tranoi is making a leap across the big pond taking its famed trade show format to New York City for the first time.
“The American market is very, very big, and we want to provide it with a clear and tailored selection,” said Tranoi creative director Armand Hadida, who is also the founder of Paris specialty store L’Eclaireur, which is to set up its first U.S. branch in spring 2015.
“From a buyer’s perspective I can tell you, the times when we used to purchase entire collections are over,” Hadida said. “What you need to do today is buy products, very specific products, and then build a story around them. Even when you have a great collection, you will sell no more than 50 percent, 52 percent if the weather is good. By contrast, a strong product will always sell 100 percent. This is also what the brands need to understand. And so the selection we are taking to New York will be a filtered one.”
Tranoi, created in 1993 and relaunched by Hadida in 2003, attracts 18,000 visitors per season, 6 percent of whom are from the U.S. Tranoi New York is slated to run from Feb. 21 to 23 at the Tunnel, a former nightclub.
Though the complete list of brands was not ready at press time, Hadida revealed that Premiata, Vlas Blomme and Barbara I Gongini would be among the European labels in his luggage.
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In France, clothing sales have been in decline since 2008. François-Marie Grau, general secretary of the French Women’s Ready-to-Wear Federation, said “the situation was better for the first six months of this year,” but in September the figures dropped again due to weather that was not conducive to the start of the fall season, suggesting that the full-year figures for 2014 would be likely on par with 2013, “but not worse.”
Grau said the French apparel market was down 1 percent between January and September. While the women’s share edged up 0.1 percent, men’s was down 1.5 percent, despite a globally dynamic men’s wear sector.
“This is quite difficult to interpret,” Grau said. “One way to explain it is that for the past four, five years men’s wear outperformed women’s because it had so much catching up to do, but this does not seem to be the case this year. Also, spending in France in general is very weak at the moment.”
A sweet spot remains the export business, which Grau argues is helping offset weak domestic spending. Exports of clothing jumped 4 percent in the first six months, with the European Union accounting for 55 percent of the share, followed by China and Honk Kong with 16 percent.
In contrast, business with Russia is decreasing “not because of the embargo, as it does not include clothing, but because of the strong euro,” noted Grau. “Last month, the ruble lost 20 percent of its value, and the market in general is not very dynamic due to an ongoing recession.”
Michael Scherpe, director of Texworld and Apparel Sourcing, which will kick off its four-day run on Feb. 9 at Le Bourget exhibition center, says there is “a lot of psychology” in the works.
“Textiles and garments are a very sensitive category and much closer to the consumer’s personal disposition than other industries,” Scherpe said. “This makes the market a very volatile one.”
The September edition of the fair saw European visitor numbers up 4.4 percent, with Bulgaria up 64 percent, Norway up 25 percent, Italy up 23 percent, Ireland up 22 percent and Poland up 20 percent, leading the pack.
Meanwhile, the fair’s U.S. visitors slipped 4.5 percent compared with September 2013, which Scherpe also attests to seasonal fluctuations.
“We have a Texworld edition in the United States,” he said. “It’s possible that a group of visitors decided not travel to Europe regularly, though the U.S. market remains a very important one. We just cannot expect in Europe that it will solve all our problems.”
Messe Frankfurt, which operates more than 40 international fairs for the textile and garment industries, including Texworld and Apparel Sourcing, is focusing its efforts on South America with the recent acquisition of three Argentinian trade fairs: Emitex, Simatex and Confemaq. The fairs, which cover textiles and garment machinery, attracted a combined 255 exhibitors and 12,500 visitors in 2014. The next edition is slated to run from May 12 to May 14 at the Costa Salguero Exhibition Centre in Buenos Aires.
According to the Argentinian Ministry for Industry, the local textile and garment industries grew around 70 percent or 5.5 percent annually over the last 12 years, with a large part of the country’s textile and garment exports going to Brazil and Chile.
At Texworld and Apparel Sourcing in Paris, Brazilian visitor numbers jumped 10 percent in September from the same period last year. Scherpe said the figures “confirm the region’s growing status.”
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A sign of the sector’s increasing internationalization is also Première Vision’s new brand policy. Visitors flocking to the bellwether fair’s next edition slated from Feb. 10 to 12 at the Parc d’Expositions in Paris Nord Villepinte, will no longer have to pick their brains trying to figure out which show is which.
“To strengthen the international appeal of the offer, optimize visitor traffic between the different shows and enrich the fashion offer so it becomes more global,” the organizers have decided to simplify the names of the six shows under the Première Vision Pluriel banner, which boasts an international audience of 70 percent.
Starting in February the shows are to be called:
– Première Vision Yarns (formerly Expofil).
– Première Vision Fabrics (formerly Première Vision).
– Première Vision Leather (formerly Cuir à Paris).
– Première Vision Designs (formerly Indigo).
– Première Vision Accessories (formerly Modamont.
– Première Vision Manufacturing (formerly Zoom).
Meanwhile, the ensemble’s main name will change from Première Vision Pluriel to simply Première Vision Paris.
A key shift is under way in Denmark, as well.
“It was an obvious thing to do,” said Kristian Andersen, fashion and design director at Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, which is to introduce CIFF Raven, a new trade show dedicated to men’s wear. “There is a hype around men’s wear brands coming from Scandinavia and Denmark, in particular, but oddly there has been no separate men’s show since the Seventies,” citing a brochure from 1976 that his team dug up that referenced a similar event.
CIFF Raven, he said, will be a “sharply curated” show hosting more than 100 labels, local and international, ranging from heritage to streetwear, arranged in design bungalows next to Michelin-starred restaurants. The new “men’s wear community,” as Andersen called it, slated to kick off on Jan. 29 for a four-day run at the Forum in Copenhagen, is to inspire local multibrand stores facing economic hardships, and attract international buyers, especially from Asia, who Andersen argues will appreciate the “fresh offer.”
Unlike Pitti Uomo, which he deems “a wonderful destination, but dominated by Italian and French brands,” Raven is to be “different.” “I feel there is room for something fresh, something that is creative yet affordable,” he said, lamenting that despite their global appeal, Scandinavian brands have taken a backseat due to the inhospitable Copenhagen Fashion Week dates in August, when everybody is on holiday.
“We have seen a decrease of multibrand stores in Scandinavia,” he added. “Both brands and buyers really need to be out there, and we want to show them how they can increase their turnover by including new collections in their stock and selling more online.”
Andersen noted that CIFF fairs have seen a surge of Norwegian visitors, up 100 percent year-on-year, adding, “There is a large network of brilliant multibrand stores in Norway. This is a very good sign.”