Two trade fairs in New York will be shuttered this fall: The Train and The Box.
This story first appeared in the June 6, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The decision to close the two venues was made by Paris-based show owner WSN Développement, a unit of Comexposium, which acquired 100 percent of Sodes in May. The acquisition combined The Train and The Box shows with Prêt à Porter Paris, Atmosphere’s, and LivingRoom with Who’s Next and Premiere Classe.
The Train, a biannual venue staged exclusively in New York at L’Avenue with 80 to 100 exhibitors, was created in 2004 as a platform for European apparel designer brands. The September edition will not be staged. The Box, an accessories segment which was formed in 2006, featured 20 brands in the New York lineup. However, The Box will continue in Paris, where it draws 120 exhibitors twice a year, said Muriel Piaser, director of Prêt à Porter Paris.
Piaser said the move to shut the New York fairs was part of a “restrategy” plan that will be unveiled in January.
“The decision was to capitalize only on the Paris shows. When we created The Train it was to be a platform for our European brands to come to New York and do business in the U.S. But it’s very different to do business in the U.S. if you are not an American…there are cultural differences and the way of doing shows in France and the U.S. are different. So, it was hard to be recognized,” said Piaser.
Piaser said it was also difficult capturing the attention of retailers in the U.S.
“We missed retailers…we showed designer brands, not contemporary lifestyle brands, and in the U.S. buyers go to showrooms for designer labels, not trade shows,” she said.
Regarding any plans to resuscitate the New York fairs in the future, Piaser said, “For us it was a big investment. Perhaps we would reconsider it through a different concept, such as an event.”
Asked if European designer labels that exhibited in New York will be encouraged to show at the Paris fairs, Piaser replied, “For the moment, New York is a very strong domestics market. If they want to come to New York, they have to choose by themselves. But then, American buyers come to the Paris shows.”