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Trade Shows: Better Together?

Trade Shows: Better Together?

21 March 2019
Author: Jasmine Waters

For many members and admirers of the fashion industry, attending events in the trade show calendar often becomes something you aren’t able to avoid. Even so, trade show attendance and enthusiasm is waning, with organisers needing to re-evaluate the relevance of shows, as well as what they now need to offer. But instead of redefining strategy – what about redefining a ‘trade show’ itself?

Why should trade shows collaborate?

In the last few months, we have seen various proposals for shows coming together to effectively create one ‘super show’, such as Panorama announcing its exploration of plans to transform the former Bread & Butter venue. CEO of Panorama Berlin Jörg Wichmann cites to reshape “Berlin as a fashion location”, although no formal proposals have been put in place. If we look to other industries, fashion may indeed be lagging behind in taking on this approach. US mobile trade group CITA announced in 2014 their plans to also create a ‘super show’, infusing two annual trade shows – exploring how best to implement these changes by staying connected with participants and the changes to both their industry and the wider world. They quickly came to understand that the frequency of the shows “took the oxygen out of it” (according to Roger Entner of Recon Analytics), and didn’t properly showcase the continuous flow of upcoming technology. Their main event still allows for entrance into more specialised ‘sub-events’, but still keeping united and cohesive.

What could this approach mean for the fashion industry?

We know that trade shows have both lost their way and appeal, but presenting a single show with multiple facets could prove to be a much needed tonic. With a new take and concentrated direction, it could increase interest in attendance, as repeat visits to the same places would not be needed, or at the very least, be sufficiently cut down. This could also allow for ‘hive-mind thinking’, with the best brains coming together to harness the success and positivity of each separate trade show, being able to focus their attention more on making the show an overall better experience and more relatable to attendee’s needs. On the other hand, the approach does allow extra room in the market for another upcoming exhibiting trend – brands doing it for themselves. Vendors are following in the footsteps of those such as Apple by hosting their own launch events and bypassing the need for the trade show circuit altogether. Having said this, as most brands exhibiting at a trade show are upcoming, establishing such a presence on their own would prove to be a more of a difficult task. Despite this possible competition, there is no doubting the inevitable success of trade shows merging - should fashion catch up to other competing industries.


Image credit: techsmith.com

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