FashionUnited's highlights from AW 19/20 international trade fairs

This buying season, FashionUnited has travelled far and wide to cover a selection of the world’s best fashion trade fairs. From London’s Pure to Amsterdam’s Modefabriek; from Madrid’s Momad to Berlin’s Panorama. Each fair offered a rich and unique insight into the fashion industry, with a particular focus on the country in which each one was held.

But rather than simply take our word for it, why not have a look at the articles we’ve written along the way. Here, we’ve created an interactive map of the trade fairs we’ve attended in the past few months, with multimedia, links to our coverage and a small snippet of our reporters' impression of each one.

Instructions: click on the icons on the map above to explore more multimedia content. Click on the city names below to read the in-depth notes from our reporters.

Florence

Overall impression of atmosphere and spirit

Great brand mix (traditional, elegant, sporty and new brands). Pleasant atmosphere, good overall impression.

This buying season will be remembered for

Brexit and the international economic consequences are posing a danger to the Italian fashion sector and fairs like Pitti Uomo that attract a lot of international buyers.

Important new trend this season

Cashmere, wool and innovative fabrics. Technology is very important for brands in Italy especially for the high performance of coats and jackets.

Most interesting new names

Aldomariacamillo and Eleanor Mcdonald.

The overall buying trends

Exports are very important for the Italian fashion industry and the effects of the international economic crisis are still being felt here.

What everybody was talking about

Fashion show locations like Stanta Maria Novella and Palazzo Pitti presented beautiful backdrops for the collections, mixing the old and the new. It's impossible not to fall in love with the maisons that presented there.

Missing this buying season

In Italy, especially at Pitti Uomo, the number of vegan fashion brands is still very small.

Milan

Overall impression of atmosphere and spirit

Milan attracted a lot of internationals buyers this season. Sustainability is the buzz word in Italy as well. All in all the atmosphere was a bit chaotic due to the crowds.

This buying season will be remembered for

In Milan everyone was talking about the death of fashion icon and desiger Karl Lagerfeld. Designers like Castelbajac for Benetton and Silvia Venturini for Fendi gave tributes to Kaiser Karl during their shows. More then ten brands presented co-ed edition collections for man and woman this season.

Important new trend this season

Boots. Blue/dark (for Armani); romantic/wild for Prada. Ecoleather

Most interesting new names

Ara Lumiere. Dhruv Kapoor. Romina Caponi

The overall buying trends

We have no official numbers about the order amouts, but the overall impression and the feeling after a week around in the town and at fashion fairs like Super and White is that Italian brands that are known for their craftmanship keep doing well thanks to social media and ecommerce. For smaller brands and new names on the market it's more difficult.

What everybody was talking about

Gucci, Fendi, Luisa Beccaria, Giorgio Armani, Prada, Benetton (during the fashion week there was the first défilé for the brand)

Missing this buying season

During this edition of Milano Moda Donna the number of people attending, the brand mix and their relevance was ok.

Berlin

Overall impression of atmosphere and spirit

Good atmosphere and attendance despite challenging market conditions. New visitor record at Panorama (and newly acquired and integrated platform Selvedge Run). Large, very international crowds at Seek. But Premium and Show & Order were relatively quiet compared to past seasons. Successful debut of Neonyt, the new platorm for sustainable fashion that resulted from the merger of Green Showroom and Ethical Fashion Show, both owned by Messe Frankfurt). Read in detail about all the Berlin fairs here.

This buying season will be remembered for

The plans of Panorama CEO Jörg Wichmann to move the fair to Tempelhof Airport (former location of Bread & Butter) and create a central location for all Berlin fairs, which was immediately shot down by Premium Group, owner of Premium, Seek and Show & Order. And the successful integration of small specialist, craft-based fair Selvedge Run into the huge, highly commercial Panorama.

Important new trend this season

Generally, the Berlin fairs are not about cutting-edge designer brands and setting new trends, but mainly about commercial and premium brands taking up developments introduced in the major fashion capitals, as well as denim and classic sportswear brands that follow their own rules. Overall impressions: Growing presence of sustainable brands at the more "conventional" fairs. Strong elements of outdoor features (smart fabrics, puffy jackets) in commercial outerwear, and traditional "romantic" and distinctly feminine elements (flowery prints, fluffy or chunky knitwear) in many womenswear collections from mainstream brands.

The overall buying trends

Berlin trade fairs are traditionally not major ordering events. General consensus among exhibtitors is that the traditional tradefair format is still essential as a platform for personal communication (i.e. to convey the full meaning of a brand, create an emotional experience, and explain new developments directly to wholesale customers).

What everybody was talking about

Major commercial brands at Panorama ramped up the emotional impact by building huge, very distinct stalls. Best examples were various labels from Danish group Bestseller (such as Vero Moda) which expanded their presence in Berlin with very ambitious installations, attracting established and new wholesale customers. Premium presented a new overall visual concept (that was initially met with scepticism by some exhibitors) to create a more compelling experience (i.e. presenting key outfits at the stall entrance etc).

Missing this buying season

Bright, the traditional platform for skate- and sportswear, was put on hold by owners Premium Group this winter to develop a new fair concept. The fair was originally scheduled to return next summer, but that seems increasingly unlikely.

Paris

Overall impression of atmosphere and spirit

A lot of international buyers attended the Paris fairs Who's Next, Premiere Vison and Texworld this season.

This buying season will be remembered for

Fears about impending Brexit and the international economy is making buyers very careful. Performance and high value materials are in demand on one hand, on the other low cost and affordable fabrics. The two extremes.

Important new trend this season

Sustainibillity is a major trend and condition for brands. Also in Paris we saw a lot of fashion tech and fantasy. Feminity was visible in quite a few collections..

Most interesting new names

Kulte (the rebirth), Second Female, Modem, Gang de Filles.

The overall buying trends

For Who's Next, it's a feeling, but I think numbers are down and buyers buy less. I think that Première Vision and Texworld probably have seen more business. Which supports the idea that the upcoming seasons will become more dynamic than this one.

Amsterdam

Overall impression of atmosphere and spirit

Uplifting, a postive vibe at tradefair Modefabriek. Brands were clearly investing in their stands and wholesale presence again. Lots of colour and life.

This buying season will be remembered for

Modefabriek is going to move from Sunday/ Monday to Monday/ Tuesday, because due to flexible Sunday opening times retailers in The Netherlands are now getting much more traffic and revenue on Sundays and need to be instore, according to the fair organiser.

Important new trend this season

Winter has never been this colourful. In womenswear there was a surge of color across the board. Menswear seems to be adjusting slowly but will never fully go all out for colour, according to several menswear brands we spoke to.

The overall buying trends

A number of exhibitors told us that retailers are investing again in new brands, even though the budget they have left for new brands is limited (about 10%). This is why at the fair, brands have to make an impression which was visible in the stands. There are opportunities because the retail survivers now have to up their game.

Any additional tips?

Men's fashion is on the rise in the Netherlands. Menswear brands are getting more space at the fairground and retailers are chosing either mens or womens fashion. According to exhibitors men's fashion is becoming bigger and men don't want to shop in a co-ed store anymore, they want their own experience, their own store. Jumping on this trend might be smart.

Madrid

Overall impression of atmosphere and spirit

Great atmosphere overall. The off shows are now creating much more buzz than the ones from major tradefair organization Ifema.

This buying season will be remembered for

The organization wanted to internationalize Spanish fashion and they invited important concept stores such as Luisaviaroma and Farfetch. Influencers like Jessica Michault and Hilary Alexander and international fashion magazines: Vogue Runway, Vogue Italy, Marie Claire Turkey.

Important new trend this season

Op-Art, pleated fabrics, color block, velours, 70's, men's tailoring, mini dresses, burgundy, long coats.

Most interesting new names

New brands: Roberto Diz; Brain & Beast, Maison Mesa. And new creators: Beatriz Peñalver, Carlota Barrera and Pilar del Campo.

The overall buying trends

Important increase of visitors comparing to last edition of Momad. (2019: 53.477; 2018: 36.217)

What everybody was talking about

Roberto Diz was one of the most popular shows. Moisés Nieto as well, since he won the award Vogue Who's on Next.

Düsseldorf

Overall impression of atmosphere and spirit

The general mood was rather depressed in Düsseldorf this season. Last year has been quite difficult for the German fashion sector. News of insolvencies weighed on people's spirit. (Even Primark and Zalando had a hard year in Germany 2018)

This buying season will be remembered for

Topic no. 1 among visitors was the insolvency of German fashion brand Gerry Weber, but also the question how other brands are doing was on everyones lips. Buyers were trying to find answers to react to unseasonal weather conditions, but most haven't quite found an answer yet.

Important new trend this season

Many jackets were from technical fabrics and colourful and bright. Knitwear and wool was still a strong theme, also you could still see many patterns from checks, animal prints to florals.

Most interesting new names

Gallery Düsseldorf ist trying to launch a Modest Fashion Segment. Although there was only one brand for this season, the question is weather it marks the start of commercial succes for this segment. Marc O' Polo relaunched its Pure label. Thomas Rath and streetwearbrand DSGL were intersting as well.

The overall buying trends

Retailers are definitely more careful and buy later if not less.

What everybody was talking about

Windsor of Holy Fashion Group seemed to attract a lot of attention.

Missing this buying season

All the major brands were there.

Munich

Overall impression of atmosphere and spirit

ISPO Munich was bigger than ever this season. With 16 halls the fair proved a clear sign for a prospering industry. New segments like urban outdoor and luxury sports are emerging, also interior collections were shown for first time from Luhta e.g., which shows very well that sports is more and more becoming part of the lifestyle / fashion scene.

This buying season will be remembered for

Sustainability innovations beat functional innovations. The sports industry is eager to become a leader in the sustainability movement. Retail is consolidating, it becomes clear that only those who invest in new strategies will survive.

Important new trend this season

Black & white and more colors were omnipresent throughout the collections. Down coats were among the most fashionable items, gold and silver were used even by technical outdoor brands like Mammut.

Most interesting new names

Tentree (Canada); Kathmandu (Australia): Templa (also Australia) is one of the first streetstyle-functional-luxury brands (and a colab with Raf Simons). Production companies are doing their own brands like the Italian Trere company which launched UYN. And the Chinese manufacturer KTC launching AdM. Having a well working supply chain becomes more and more important to the whole industry.

The overall buying trends

Sport retailers are searching for brands to differentiate themselves from others, so fashion is becoming more important. At the same time, the sports industry is very slow in adopting new rhythms and lines. Buyers are reluctant because 2018 was a bad year for sports: the winter was warm and summer too hot. Wheather is extremely important in the sports business.

What everybody was talking about

Picture Organic Clothing was a highlight. The company presented a flat, with a kitchen, bath, bedroom etc. and on the walls were the same prints as on the products. Another highlight was Templa showing that sports can be interpreted more playfully than just functional.

Any additional tips?

Visitors should organize their trip to the fair well because with 16 halls and lots to discover, like new sports (esports), sustainability hubs, digitalization hubs, conferences etc., it's getting harder and harder to see everything.

London

Overall impression of atmosphere and spirit

Pure was busy in the established show sectors like womenswear, but quiet to very quiet in new additions such as kidswear, ethical fashion and menswear.

This buying season will be remembered for

A bigger focus on content is evident across trade shows; they are less and less just about being a buying platform, but more about exchanging ideas, education, inspiration and adding value to help navigate a difficult retail climate.

Important new trend this season

Animal prints, long puffa coats, statement knits on the fashion side; in terms of topics, sustainability and the future direction of the industry towards a more responsible, circular economy are discussion trends and focuses.

Most interesting new names

Not seen any at Pure, but generally it's the smaller niche labels with their very own signature and a savvy social media (influencer) strategy that seem to be able to quickly become the 'next big thing'.

The overall buying trends

In the UK, retailers seemed to be relatively confident this season and ready to defy the uncerainty over Brexit; comments were generally that order budgets were healthy and order volumes good; some commented that some retailers are more price conscious, but overall it seems business as usual.

What everybody was talking about

At Pure it was brands such as Thought, Rino + Pelle, Nymph, Kaffee - biggish brands that were busiest. Maybe it's a sign of the times that some retailers trust the big names more to be in a strong position to navigate through the next few months?

Missing this buying season

Generally the trade fair landscape is changing which means that more brands are dealing with retailers directly instead of buying a stand at a fair. I can't think of brand names that were missing this season, but thinking back over the years, I realise that Pure used to have stands and stands of big Scandinavian, German, French brands etc. and there were definitely much fewer of those there and the stands generally much smaller and more small labels.

Any additional tips?

Brands with their own signature or USP (e.g. great jeans brand / great knitwear brand / super cool trainers / great tailoring) seem to be doing better commercially in stores than those who purely follow trends and churn out the same as the high street. So I would say to retailers to have the courage to see those out and to jazz up their offers with individual labels.

Image Credits: Pitti Uomo, Panorama Berlin, Who's Next, Premium, Gallery Dusseldorf, ShoesRoom, Momad, ISPO Munich, White Show

 

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