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The Trade Show’s Corona-coaster Comeback

The Trade Show’s Corona-coaster Comeback

15 August 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters

Something we talk a lot about is the importance of being able to blend the digital with the physical. For the fashion industry, it seems as though now is the time to start putting that ethos into action as the trade show calendar looks to start up once more. The leading light for Europe’s circuit is Copenhagen who have resurrected various shows in a format that meets with the ‘new normal’. Has it been successful, meaningful for attendees, and used the digital sphere as an effective springboard?

What did Copenhagen’s trade shows offer?

This may be a turning point for trade shows to make a comeback, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have noticeable differences. In Copenhagen, Revolver ran over three days in the beginning of August, across two venues to spread out and limit capacity. CIFF opted to implement “Elevated Order Days”, which consisted of an events based daily schedule. On top of this was the obvious increase in hygiene measures, with disinfectant in every corner for sanitising needs and a safe distance strictly adhered to at all times. Interestingly face masks were not mandatory (although strongly encouraged). If we look at the wider picture, Denmark’s outbreak numbers have been distinctly low, having closed borders very early on and still require potential travellers to have “a worthy purpose” to enter the country at all – such as a business trip. The knock-on effect of this is that there was always set to be a distinct lack of European attendees, as well as a lack of overall attendees at all. But has the road back to trading normalcy been a worthwhile one?

Were they successful? 

In short – it looks so. It might not be the most economically viable strategy at the moment, but the consumer and organiser optimism is extremely noticeable. Many of Copenhagen’s trade shows were able to bridge the gap between physical and digital, offering brands multiple ways of being able to exhibit and get orders, such as live-streamed model presentations, pre-recorded presentations as well as the traditional catwalk to a select limited audience. The Danish fashion industry were one of the first to openly commit to the return to physical showcasing, and they’ve shown that they certainly have the chops for it going forward. Operating on a policy of “It’s different, it’s difficult – let’s just get on with it”, many feel the joy and relief at just be able to be back in circuit. There is likely to be a distinct anxiety surrounding international travel and showcasing for a good while to come yet, but Copenhagen have shown to put their best – and most optimistic – foot forward in the face of a problem that has no real answerable end date in sight.

Image source: https://copenhagenfashionweek.com/

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