Are Trade Shows Necessary for Fashion to Survive?

From ComplexCon to Pitti Uomo and Capsule to YO’HOOD, we explore the effects on the industry.

Fashion 
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While much of our time is spent hunting down the freshest-to-market type of wears, the rationality of delivering these goods to store shelves is an oft overlooked process to some, while downright oblivious to others. In what can be described as a complicated interplay between brand and buyer, trade shows present a powerful platform to meet new customers, while helping to foster existing ones. No doubt lost in the shuffle of the industry’s major fashion weeks, trade events do well in appealing to the emotional side of fashion — offering insight behind a brand’s artistic origins.

However, are trade shows a necessary component to the menswear landscape? Although no hard and fast rules exist, such functions have been known to benefit some brands while proving nonsensical for others. For established luxury labels, the hype and hoopla of the runway is more often than not the ideal medium in which to be seen. With full control over set design, music and models, the grandeur of center stage can prove the perfect forum to reach its intended audience. Small to midsize brands working their way up the ladder, though, may find the intimacy of trade gatherings more beneficial in trying to reach the masses. One-on-one interactions brought on by appointments and studio arrangements can prove effective in not only displaying collection pieces but tapping into the sentimental human side of each visiting buyer/editor.

Why They Work

Aside from the above mentioned psychological aspect, conventions of this sort provide an exploratory window into the competition. With endless resources at one’s disposal, conducting background research can in fact play a pivotal role in measuring current successes. Scoping out what the market is buying now while surveying which trends are projected to flourish down the road can help not only artistically but big picture directionally as well. As brand reps liaise with those in power to buy, much can be gained by tapping into such industry expertise. On the flip side, with event organizers meticulously vetting each and every exhibitor and buyers dedicating time to scout the most promising talent, what ends up landing on the shop shelves in many cases does well to entice the end consumer.

Far from a comprehensive list, with other trade shows such as MAN, Agenda, Firenze4Ever and the like still in circulation, we thought to key in on a few major events and highlight their impact on the industry and the role each plays within the trade show circuit.

ComplexCon — Rethinking the Business Model

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