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Copenhagen fairs consolidate their international standing

Aug 15, 2013


Copenhagen Fashion Week kicked off on a positive note: At the opening press conference, Jens Alsbirk, director of international affairs at the Danish Chamber of Commerce, said that the textile industry was “going in the right direction

after a few difficult years“. In the first five months of 2013, international sales of the country’s fourth largest export industry had gone up by 2.6 per cent compared to the previous year.

the importance of the foreign markets for their exhibitors, the organisers of the three big trade fairs of the Danish capital were satisfied after the event, even though overall visitor numbers had decreased. They all noticed positive feedback from international buyers, especially from the other Scandinavian countries.

At Gallery, the newfound confidence was instantly visible: The buyers were greeted with the word “SPEND” displayed in huge letters above the main exhibition space. The fair was still the place to see most of the established local designer brands such as Henrik Vibskov, Soulland or Stine Goya. But even if the atmosphere was lively, visitor numbers missed the record levels of previous seasons: After 12,045 last summer and 12,684 in February, the organisers counted 11,490 guests. Still, they claimed a success: “Gallery had the biggest number of international buyers this time“, CEO Christian Gregersen said. “Exhibitors are satisfied”, he added, noting “intense trade” and “a lot of orders”. With 76 per cent of the visitors coming from Scandinavia despite fewer Danish buyers, the fair confirmed its regional standing. “Gallery is becoming the leading order platform for Northern Europe“, Gregersen said.

The Danish textile industry is looking forward to higher export sales in 2013

CIFF, the oldest and biggest fashion fair in Copenhagen, continued its modernization. Kristian W. Andersen, who took over as Director for Fashion and Design at Bella Center two years ago, introduced some new features again. Among the most visible was the enlarged Crystal Hall area. The platform for selected progressive brands occupied a more central, spacious location in the main hall. For the first time it featured “Dansk Directions”, a number of themed cabinets curated by influential fashion magazine Dansk displaying selected pieces from the top Danish brands. “The spring/summer 2014 event showcased hundreds of new design-driven brands at CIFF making it the most innovative fashion-trade platform in Northern Europe. But this is only the beginning”, Andersen said. So far, he has been successful in raising the creative ambitions of the fair without alienating the long-standing, more traditional exhibitors.

Visitor numbers went down, nevertheless. Compared to the previous edition, they decreased by about ten per cent to 20,123. The organisers attributed the downturn to “tighter rules for registration“. Andersen said: “We want to create a fair where the most important thing is to sell products. That’s why we didn’t allow individuals from various related segments of fashion to register, but rather rolled out the red carpet for visitors who were there to do business.“ A positive result was that the number of international visitors, who are especially important for the industry, grew by 18 per cent. “It’s fantastic to see how much interest by Copenhagen’s fashion week and Danish fashion as a whole generates abroad“, Andersen said, “We have especially seen a strong advance in the number of Swedes and Norwegians.“

Vision, the third of the big Copenhagen fairs, did not report results at all. “We do not concentrate on the numbers as we are more focused on the quality of the visitors“, a spokesperson said, noting that the organisers were “very pleased with the outcome” of last week’s event: “Most important is that the designers are reporting new optimism and that they are very satisfied“, she said. Vision also attracted a lot of foreign visitors, notably “a large amount from Sweden and Norway”.