NEW LOOKS FOR GERMANY’S BIG SHOWS

Byline: Melissa Drier

BERLIN — New formats, fresh features and, in several instances, innovative show concepts are enlivening the German trade fair scene for the upcoming season.
The CPD show, Germany’s leading women’s wear fair and Europe’s largest, has been completely reorganized for the upcoming spring-summer 2000 edition. The addition of two new halls on the Dusseldorf fairgrounds has lead to a renumbering of all the halls, but the structural change at CPD is not merely numerical.
Four “style worlds” geared to consumer types are taking the place of the former classification breakdowns. They are New Classics, Modern Woman, New Womenswear and Fashion, and separate classifications such as knitwear will now be assimilated into the appropriate consumer style world.
“Not one stand is in the old place. It’s all new,” said Manfred Kronen, chief executive of Igedo Co., which produces CPD. “What’s important is that we are supporting the new concept of retail — not to think in terms of categories like skirts and blouses, but rather in terms of lifestyle, with everything in it.”
CPD’s more than 2,000 exhibitors will be newly arranged according to the style or mind-set of the collection, and Kronen expects the new setup to be much easier for buyers to shop. Igedo is also trying to make CPD more attractive to shop with a stronger emphasis on ambience.
“There will be little coffee bars everywhere and decoration areas where we can present new developments in lifestyle,” Kronen said. “For example, in New Classic, we might have a teapot from Alessi” to help place the fashion offerings in a wider lifestyle context.
New Classics is geared to consumers interested in timeless rather than trendy styles, with collections of coordinates, knits, pants, skirts, blouses, jackets and coats. Also part of this style world are large sizes and fur and leather.
Modern Woman is for the woman with a relaxed, casual and younger fashion approach. Evening and special occasion needs are handled by Modern Woman Night and Modern Woman White. Accessories also play a role in this style group, with the Club Premiere Accessoire.
New Womenswear has a more experimental spirit. Styling is selective and feminine, extravagant and sporty, and the collections are quality-minded, though moderately priced. Complementary accessories will be found in the Forum Accessoires.
The last style world, Fashion, is directed at the fast-changing, trendy consumer who loves to mix and match. There will also be several special sections at CPD: the Fashion Gallery, featuring smaller and more exclusive designer collections, and Country Life, with selections of folkloric and international weekend wear.
The intimate apparel and swimwear show Igedo Body & Beach runs parallel to CPD and will remain as independent for the time being.
“Right now, there are special buyers for dessous, or underwear, and we’ll keep it separate, but I’m sure that this style world breakdown is the way of future,” Kronen said. “Look at the women’s wear verticals. They all sell dessous. I think that in the future, stores will offer a bit of everything — maybe except cars.”
Inter-Jeans in Cologne got a new hall setup last season, “and we are adapting the structure, step by step,” said Ralf Muller, vice president of fashion apparel industries at the Koln Messe.
Now together in halls 14.1 and 14.2, the 850 men’s and women’s jeans and streetwear exhibitors at Inter-Jeans make up the largest trade presentation of its kind. No major changes are planned for the upcoming Inter-Jeans show, which runs concurrently with Herren Mode Woche, or Men’s Fashion Week, in Cologne and overlaps with the CPD show in Dusseldorf.
But the jeans market, Muller commented, “is, in my opinion, quite stable.
“It’s moving a bit more into the sportswear-young fashion sector,” he said. “Jeans companies are doing more and more sportswear products, like chinos, and we’re just adapting to that.”
Last season, CPD and Koln Messe began a joint marketing and travel services campaign to make it easier to arrange travel between the overlapping Dusseldorf and Cologne events. Some 800 people took advantage, Muller reported, but retailers with interests in the men’s, women’s, jeans and active-sports sectors don’t have it easy. They are currently faced with four major German trade shows running at the same time. As of 2001, however, that will change.
ISPO, the Munich active sportswear fair featuring 1,500 exhibitors from 45 countries, is moving up its summer edition two weeks ahead to July 21-24, 2001, and will now run from Saturday to Tuesday rather than the traditional Sunday to Wednesday. A spokesman for The Messe Munchen, organizer of ISPO, said it was “reacting to the changed demands of the market.”
Many manufacturers felt the old summer dates were unfavorable because the season’s ordering had already begun in June and many international manufacturers attended early-order events at home and abroad before ISPO took place.
Mediterranean manufacturers, especially, find trade fair participation at the beginning of August difficult, and at the same time, “the decision on dates meets the wish of many retailers and exhibitors who have pleaded for a long time to keep the dates of ISPO and the fashion fairs in Cologne and Dusseldorf separate,” the Messe Munchen spokesman said.
There’s been a lot of movement in the fabric fair sector in Germany this year. CPD Fabrics made its debut in Dusseldorf, Eurotuch was moved from Dusseldorf to Cologne, Fabric Order Show Dusseldorf didn’t get off the ground and Interstoff, Frankfurt’s long-ailing textile show, was canceled.
The Messe Frankfurt, however, is not abandoning its interest in a German fabric event. Avantex, an international forum for high-technology apparel fabrics, will bow in Frankfurt in November, and Rolf Steinwarz, who heads the Messe Frankfurt’s textile fairs (of which there are more than 20 overseas) said the Messe Frankfurt would “definitely have a fabric show in Germany in the future.”
Avantex, Steinwarz explained, “is sort of a TechTextil show for the apparel industry.” TechTextil, which is held every two years and is next scheduled for April 2001, features high tech fabrics for multiple purposes, ranging from protective clothing to vehicle and aircraft construction. Avantex will focus on high tech apparel fabrics, and the event, scheduled for Nov. 27-29, will include a small trade presentation with about 60 exhibitors and a three-day symposium with 95 speakers.
The symposium will cover high technology textiles, opportunities and possibilities, new fibers and yarns, new high technology fabrics, high tech apparel-smart clothing, high tech occupational apparel, apparel manufacturing production development and production technology, such as body scanning, and e-commerce.
Steinwarz said response to the Avantex concept had been positive and many top-level executives in the fabric and apparel industries were expected to attend.
“It’s the first meeting of this kind that ever happened, and it would be ideal if the show could present all the highlights [in this field] from all over the world,” he said.
As for Interstoff, the fabric fair in Frankfurt is a thing of the past. The Interstoff time slot has now been filled by a show called Light & Building, which has a thousand exhibitors “and thus, business-wise, is more important [to Messe Frankfurt] than Interstoff,” Steinwarz noted. “But fair organizations are now talking to each other, and maybe Interstoff could take over one of the small fabric shows that have now emerged in Germany,” he suggested.
Fair officials in Cologne and Dusseldorf confirmed there had been unofficial discussions with Frankfurt, but would not comment further.
CPD Fabrics, which runs the last two days of the CPD fair and hopes to attract many of the apparel manufacturers exhibiting in Dusseldorf, will go into its second edition this August. Igedo chef Kronen said, “It’s looking quite good in Dusseldorf. We’ve increased the number of stands, and the Prato Consortium will sponsor participants from Prato, as well as a piazza with food and wine from the region.”
The show will have more than 120 participants and will include a two-hour trend seminar.
Eurotuch, now under the wing of the Koln Messe, expects to increase the number of exhibitors from 93 to 150 next season.
“We can’t compare to Premiere Vision, but many of the other shows, like Ideabiella, are about this size,” Koln Messe’s Muller said.
Although Eurotuch originated as primarily a men’s wear event, it is now split about equally between men’s and women’s wear fabrics. The show loosened its Western European-only exhibitor requirements to include pan-European textile manufacturers from Eastern Europe and Turkey in 1999.
“We’re continuing our European and pan-European concept,” Muller said, “but we have to be open to other developments. If there’s more interest from our companies to others outside of Europe, we will of course respond. But not for this October.”
In its first “nonfashion” project, Igedo is organizing Online Marketing Dusseldorf, a trade fair for advertising and marketing on the Internet. It will be a small business-to-business event, and Igedo expects about 50 to 60 exhibitors to take part in Online Marketing’s August debut.
Exhibitors will include horizontal and vertical portals, search engines, directories-catalogs, online communities, newspapers with online presence, information providers, content providers, online shops with advertising formats, publishers, special-interest portals, online games, marketing services for the online field, newsletters/e-mail marketing, trade and general publishers and other media services.
“This new fair has nothing to do with fashion,” said Kronen. “It’s about selling advertising space on the Internet. Everybody knows you can advertise on the Internet, but nobody knows how, or how much it costs, so we thought it was a good idea for a show.”