UK brands and buyers suspend travel to international fairs

Several international trade show organizers have canceled or postponed their winter shows over the past month, due to rising coronavirus rates and travel restrictions.

The Premium and Seek women’s and men’s shows, and the Neonyt textile show, which were to be held from January 18 to 20, 2022, as part of Frankfurt Fashion Week, are now postponed to July 2022, due to the growing Covid. more strict. -19 restrictions imposed in Germany.

In France, the men’s / women’s fashion show, which was to be held from January 21 to 23, 2022 at the Pavillon Vendôme in Paris, has been canceled, while the lingerie and swimsuit show Salon International de la Lingerie and Interfilière Paris has been postponed. its January edition from January 22-24 to June 18-20, 2022, and will be held at Paris Porte de Versailles.

Only a few international fairs are still planned, including the men’s fashion fair Pitti Uomo, which will be held from January 11 to 13, 2022 at the Fortezza de Basso in Florence. The Revolver Øksnehallen women’s fashion fair and the Revolver Forum women’s and men’s fashion show are still scheduled to take place from February 2-4, 2022, and CIFF (Copenhagen International Fashion Fair) will take place from February 2-4, at the Bella Center. of Copenhagen.

However, several UK fashion brands, buyers and agents have told Drapers they are skeptical whether the remaining international fairs will still be held or if they will be present, while many have halted their international travel until that the situation shows signs of improvement. Many companies have said they want to attend trade shows in the UK instead.

CIF 2021

“Covid-related travel restrictions mean we won’t be going to any overseas trade shows in the coming months,” said Jordan Eckersley, sales director for Manchester-based clothing agency Red Alert, who represents brands such as Diadora and Tramarossa.

“We had planned to go to Paris to [Paris Men’s] Fashion Week and we were going to Pitti, but Covid put a stop to this for now [because of the additional travel restrictions]. We won’t know what impact [not attending] will have on the business until the end of the season. “

Likewise, Fiona Coe, a buyer at the independent department store Coes in Ipswich, who usually frequents CIFF, also said she will not be attending international shows this season: “We hesitate to travel too far due to travel complications. caused by Covid. In a pre-Covid year, we would visit at least one EU trade fair. There is still some uncertainty, which I think will continue over the next 12 months. This does not justify a trip to the EU. plane when we can get the stock we need on our own ground. “

Khabi Mirza, founder of London-based PR, consultancy and agency Fabric PR, whose clients include American Eagle, Lee Jeans, RM Williams and Scotch & Soda, has also suspended all international travel for the time being due to of onward travel. uncertainty: I decided over Christmas to put in place a temporary travel ban for our agency on all overseas travel for January. I’ll see that again towards the end of the month.

“I had to cancel my flights [and bookings] for Pitti next week like Christmas [many of] my clients have withdrawn from the salon. Pitti will be like the Gobi Desert and it is not sure that the exhibitors will lose out to retire.

“I want [normally] have been to Premium, but luckily it’s canceled. [It will be] interesting to see if CPH [Ciff and Revolver in Copenhagen] Go ahead. I would normally go to that.

There is still uncertainty, which I believe will continue over the next 12 months.

Fiona Coe, buyer at Coes independent department store in Ipswich

Nigel Hughes, principal to director of London-based womenswear agency Apt Collections whose brands include Igor and Ozai, remains reluctant to attend CIFF and Revolver later this year: “We didn’t attend. international trade fairs for several years. However, this year we are thinking of going to Danish fairs. [CIFF and Revolver] for the first time in a long time. We fear that we will miss something by not going. However, we are keeping an eye on the Covid situation. “

He told Drapers that the high cost of trade shows had often discouraged him from attending: “It can be a very expensive decision. In recent years we have chosen not to attend any trade shows and instead have arranged showroom appointments in London and Manchester which has worked much better for us. [in terms of orders and bringing in more customers]. “

Eckersley of Red Alert explained that he is looking forward to attending UK-based trade shows, including London’s Just Around the Corner and the Scoop x Pure men’s, women’s and shoe shows, which will be held. all at the Truman Brewery February 8-10: “At the moment attending these shows is our best bet. When we last exhibited [in the summer] we did really well. The attendance was high and we recruited around twenty new customers.

Harrogate Fashion Week

Avril Forbes, sales director for women’s second-hand clothing brand Veromia Occasions, said that after nearly two years of Covid restrictions, shoppers are eager to attend UK shows in person: “We will Harrogate in February, Sarah [Moody, one of the organisers of Harrogate Fashion Week] says he’s definitely moving forward. We already have quite a few appointments and we are doing this for security reasons. It worked well last summer.

“I know [Covid] the rates are going up in the north, but we are all hit by three strokes and we cannot sit still for the rest of our lives. People want to smell the clothes again – they want to go out and move around. We all have a positive outlook for the coming season. We have to go on with our lives and hope they will continue. “

Adrian Johnston, Sales Manager for Ashwood Leather brand, said: “As we start a new year with a positive outlook, I believe that regardless of the date changes, we, as well as all customers, look forward to meeting us and enjoying the experience.

“We exhibit at [furniture show] AIS and Spring Fair [Hyve Group’s gifting, lifestyle, homeware product trade show between 6-9 February 2022 in Halls 1-8 at NEC Birmingham] right now. We would have been at Pure and Harrogate Fashion Week if the dates hadn’t clashed with Spring Fair which was so frustrating for all of us.

Meanwhile, he said of the future of international programming: “It may take another season to get closer to where we were before the pandemic. Dating will be good overall, as long as vaccinations and boosters continue to be taken by everyone. With the new variant recording the highest infections to date [but] with the fewest infection deaths we can see the positive change in Covid [which will make it be easier to control and help us to] return to a kind of normalcy. I booked Mipel [international leather and fashion accessories trade show in Rho, Lombardy, Italy] flights and hotel, so I’m always the optimist.

As many trade shows across Europe have been canceled or postponed, it is clear that trade show uncertainty remains. However, with the restrictions’ second anniversary approaching, many are eager to return to in-person trade shows in the UK.

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