Fashion shows: to go or not to go?
Seasons succeed one another and the same thing happens with fashion shows. Paris was given the nickname of ” The Capital of Fashion” and it certainly deserves it: its calendar of events is booked all year-round: Who´s next, Première Classe, Bijorhca, Fashion Week for both women and men…
For shop owners – and for any professional of the fashion industry actually – it´s not always easy to know if visiting a fashion show is worth the trip (and the related costs). The truth is, it really depends on the experience, the location, the availability and priorities of each one of us.
In order to help you figure out if you should go visit a fashion show, we have talked with many different fashion workers and have collected their opinion and experience… So we are happy to share this recap with you: 10 reasons why you should go and another 10 reasons why you should not… it´s now up to you to figure out which ones are more relevant to your situation: have a look!
1. You get to discover or confirm emerging trends: as much as we all like to go through fashion magazines and to keep a sharp eye on internet and blogs, when it comes down to finding out new fashion trends, visiting a fashion show remains a great (no to say the best) way to discover first hand the latest novelties. Shows such as “Who´s next” allocate a special “trends” area so you get to be up-to-date in just a glimpse. Besides, being at a fashion show means being entirely immersed in the fashion world. As you walk around the booths and brands, you´ll notice that some styles, designs, colors and cuts are repeated: check them out!
2. You get to know new brands, new designers and craftsmen: it certainly happens to you every day (even many times a day if your store is located downtown): sales agents knock on your door to present you their brand. It has become so common that you ´d end up thinking that it´s no longer necessary to step out of your shop to discover new brands and designers. However, many brands either choose other distribution channels or simply do not have the resources (time or money) to build up a network of sales agents. Fashion shows give you the opportunity to know these brands, especially designers that are just starting. It´s also a good means of achieving exclusivity for these brands in your city or neighborhood.
3. To meet foreign or far-away suppliers. A great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is to offer foreign brands to your customers. Thanks to their international scope, some fashion shows attract many foreign brands that, under other circumstances, you would never have discovered (because you lack time or money to travel): why not make the most of fashion shows to get to know new brands from abroad and work with your usual suppliers in person?
4. To spend some privileged time with your usual suppliers: take advantage of your visit to strengthen your relationship with your suppliers. It´s the perfect occasion to establish special contacts with the brands you already work with: do not underestimate its advantages. In today´s world, it seems that (almost) everything can be done remotely but getting human contacts in a laid-back atmosphere allows you to establish a “face-to-face” relationship. Your supplier will remember you, will associate your face to your customer number and this will inevitably have a very positive impact on your future relationships.
5. To touch the products “for real” and compare them. Internet is just great: online catalogues and all the guarantees offered by online wholesalers allow you to buy about anything quite safely. That said, there is nothing like being able to touch the product. How many times will you have missed a “best-seller item” just because the image on the catalogue or the website wasn´t clear enough for you to imagine the fabric, how it feels, the details of an embossed scarf, a handbag, a hat…? And not to mention the sizes! If you see them live, with your own eyes, products and latest trends won´t keep any secret from you anymore.
6. Since you are at it, explore wholesale districts. Usually main fashion shows celebrate their events in the biggest cities. Who´s next in Paris, Bisutex in Madrid, Fashion Weeks in Milan or London, Breat and Butter in Berlin… And all these cities are also importers and wholesalers strategic centers. Don´t hesitate to extend your stay an extra day or two in order to visit the local wholesale district: that´s where you usually end up with the greatest findings (rather than at the fair itself). Moreover, these wholesalers shops usually remain open during weekends coinciding with significant fashion shows.
7. To get inspired while going shopping: all these emblematic fashion cities around the world offer their visitors quality shopping centers and commercial avenues: take advantage of your trip to break your usual routine and notice how both small shops and well-known brands set up their windows, how they focus on a product or another (and which one(s)). Get inspired, take some notes and when you go back, bring back and apply all these new ideas to your shop!
8. Explore the city, go the theater, visit museums. Well, why not? Since you are away, enjoy your time! Tasting the local gastronomy, visiting symbolic places o just wandering about the streets are just a few ideas… it would be a pity not to enjoy them!
9. You´ll find all fashion stakeholders at the same place. Fashion shows bring together all the main fashion players (sometimes global ones) under the same roof: designers, suppliers, importers, distributors, retailers, consultants… You´ll have the opportunity to learn everything there is to know in just a few days: trends, latest technology advances, innovations, competitors, price, guarantees… and you´ll be able to make new connections and start creating new associations.
10. Visiting a fair is fun and uplifting. Taking part in one of these important fashion appointments has to be a pleasure, a opportunity to step back from the daily routine and go back to work all fired up towards the upcoming season. If it´s not the case, maybe you didn´t prepare well enough (check out our post on how to visit a fashion show : instructions). Go with someone and take the time you need. Instead of wanting to see it all or do it all, try to get as much inspiration as you can from what you discovered. Basically visiting a fair is about going out of your shop, knowing new people, checking out how others manage… we told you: it´s the perfect occasion to take a breath of fresh air and fill up your head with inspiration!
1. Too far? Fashion shows usually take place in big cities. True. But not everyone has an airport or an important train station nearby. The trip to get there may be too long or imply too many transfers.
2. Too expensive? Transportation, hotel, etc… these are all extra-ordinary costs and it is not so easy to estimate the return on investment. Whoever has less time will probably settle for a single-day visit and collect interesting business cards in order to work on a potential new collaboration once the fair is over.
3. ¿Too time-consuming? Ideally, you should plan on dedicating 2 to 3 days to complete your visit. Though it is also true that we often end up exhausted, with our head about to explode from all the things we saw and with the feeling that we may have not made the best out of the time spent there… This is why it is crucial to follow a good strategy to visit a fashion show so you optimise your time.
4. It is easy to get lost. Some fairs are huge and many just loose their way right after they get in, as they go along the windings of booths, exhibitors, conferences and presentations. Add the crowd, the noise, not so easy-to-understand maps, the impossibility to meet up with your colleague or to find that exhibitor you spotted the day before… You´d better pay close attention and stay on course!
5. “Always the same stuff”. Although fashion shows play the cards of innovation and latest trends, if you usually attend a few fairs a year, you are most likely to see it a bit repetitive since you´ll be seeing the same brands.
6. There are few young designers. To exhibit at a fair implies costs, sometimes high ones, that only major brands can afford. Although some fairs do allocate a special area for “young designers”, it is sometimes quite limited and all designers – especially those who just started or have a reduced organization – do not have the ressources nor the opportunity to present their creations.
7. Not compatible with running the shop: if you are the only owner or manager of the shop, you basically have 2 options: either you close it or you visit the fair on Sunday and Monday… unless you hire someone to replace you… which is not always possible, is it?
8. Conflicting dates: this happens: sometimes fashion show dates coincide with the sales (or getting ready for the sales period), when you´re in a rush or setting up the store… and as a professional, you also have your own agenda to deal with: it is sometimes difficult to reconcile visiting a fair with fulfilling your obligations.
9. It is not always possible to buy: if you´re planning on going to the fair to fill up the shelves of your shop or to go shopping here and there, you might be disappointed. Indeed, manufacturers usually require a minimum purchase amount that is too high to allow you to buy small quantities of products, and on the other hand it might be impossible for you to take the goods away with you when you leave the very same day. In this case, we´d recommend you to head to the local wholesale district to “fill up”.
10. The follow-up after the fair: so you did meet interesting people and collected many business cards? Good for yout! But… it will be absolutely worthless if you do not follow it up properly after the fashion show. And if you placed orders, don´t forget that you will also have to do some follow-up work (to get back in touch with the supplier re the delivery etc.) once the fair is over, tasks to add up to your usual obligations.
So, what do you think? Are you up for the next fashion show? Let us know if some of these arguments ring a bell to you and don´t hesitate to share your comments with us: we´d love to hear your thoughts about it and to know more about your own experience!
If you decided to go for it, check out our post on how to visit a fair: instructions in order to make the most of all its advantages.
And if you´d rather not go this year, be sure you try all the alternative ways to stay up-to-date with latest fashion trends and to find new suppliers!
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