NEW IGEDO SUMMER DATES CONFLICT WITH N.Y. MARKET
Byline: Karyn Monget, with contributions from Katherine Weisman, Paris
NEW YORK — For U.S. innerwear manufacturers who are attempting to maintain or build an international business, a shift in the summer dates of the Igedo Dessous and Igedo Beach trade fair in Dusseldorf has created a major headache.
Innerwear makers point out that the change in timing for this intimate apparel event puts it in direct conflict with the key August innerwear market in New York. The dates for the Igedo show, usually held around the second week of September, have been set for Aug. 6-8. The innerwear market here is scheduled for Aug. 7-11.
Manufacturers who want to exhibit at Igedo say the overlap will mean additional expense for making duplicate lines. It will also have the effect of spreading sales staffs thin and will give them the chore of changing hotel reservations for one of the busiest periods of the year in Dusseldorf.
Vendors are upset that they weren’t consulted before the change was made. They were informed of the new timing in late November.
“It’s stupid. I can’t get into my hotel,” complained Gwen Widell, senior vice president of merchandising and design worldwide for The Warnaco Group. “If they had wanted to make changes, why didn’t they do it a year ago? It’s a big problem, because you have to make reservations a year in advance.”
Widell noted the change will affect smaller companies that can’t afford the added expenses.
Norman Katz, chairman of the Intimate Apparel Council in the U.S., stated that Igedo officials, when telling him about the timing shift,” “suggested we move our dates for the August innerwear market.”
“I told them that if they had any interest in participation from American vendors, they could have at least contacted me or anyone else in the innerwear industry [beforehand],” said Katz, president of I. Appel Corp. “Many manufacturers are furious, and say they are going to Lyon, not to Igedo.”
Lyon Mode City, an intimate apparel trade show scheduled for Sept. 9-10 in Lyon, France, reportedly has been giving Igedo Dessous increasing competition in recent seasons.
Last September, the Igedo fair was staged Sept. 11-13, and included 19 American manufacturers of foundations and sleepwear. The vendors had exhibited together at the U.S. Commerce Department’s first group effort in seven years.
Discussing the timing shift, Maura Kim, an international trade specialist at Commerce, said, “Our office was very displeased, particularly because we were not consulted. I told them it was really awful for us. We went directly to top management [of Igedo], and they apologized, but they wouldn’t change their minds.”
Kim also noted that although another American pavilion is planned for Igedo, “I know this will affect U.S. attendance.”
Makers also say the conflicting dates will cut into attendance by foreign retailers at the August market in New York.
“It’s terrible and a real conflict,” said Vicki Montana, a sales representative for Jonquil Lingerie of Santa Monica, Calif. “We have a lot of international retailers who always come to the New York market, but they also like to go to Igedo.”
On the other hand, Marie-Rose Vergult, export sales manager of Fernando Sanchez, said, “I know several retailers in Paris who said they would not come to Igedo.
“We’ll continue to exhibit at Igedo,” Vergult added, “but it will be very inconvenient, because we have to make a duplicate collection.”
Igedo trade fair management said it had three key reasons for advancing the dates of the show.
“For one, European buyers are buying earlier in the season,” said Gerald Boese, director of Igedo’s International Division. “Secondly, the swimwear manufacturers, which represent about 40 percent of the exhibitors, wanted earlier dates since they start selling as early as June and July.”
“The third reason,” he said, “is that we want to be the show that is showing the trends first, before all the smaller regional shows.”
Boese said Igedo management was aware of the potential conflict and problems the August dates pose for American exhibitors, but, “The wishes from all the other exhibitors were so strong for the earlier dates that we had to give that priority.”
Boese said that American companies at Igedo Dessous represent roughly 10 percent of exhibitors, about 22 companies.
“We don’t want to seem like we are ignoring the Americans,” Boese said, noting Igedo had considered moving the September dates for two years.
“We are very proud to have the American Pavilion with the support of the U.S. Department of Commerce,” he added, noting that reservations for the American Pavilion have been confirmed at the Igedo Dessous, to be held Feb. 5-7, for 240 square feet. He also noted that verbal confirmation has been made for the same amount of space for the August session.
Moving up the dates makes Dessous coincide with the CPD apparel trade fair, which has become increasingly important.
“The dates for a trade show are always a compromise,” noted Boese. “The organizer has to take full responsibility and try to decide what is the best for most of the exhibitors.”
He said 60 to 70 percent of the Dessous exhibitors favored the earlier dates, especially after the first trial, in February 1993, of scheduling Dessous to coincide with CPD.
One U.S. vendor saw a bright side to the advanced summer dates. Linda Gottlieb, designer and an owner of Dernier Chic, said, “Earlier might be better at Igedo — just to get orders in for Christmas items.”
However, Gottlieb added, she and her partner — Marc Weintraub, president — plan to exhibit their upscale loungewear at the upcoming Salon International Lingerie in Paris, Jan. 28-31.
“If we do better in Paris, we won’t go back to Igedo,” she said.