Who's Next show confirms the return of international visitors
Most of the exhibitors are still keen to see how the September edition will turn out. But the January 2023 edition of Parisian trade show Who's Next, held this time over three rather than four days, from January 21 to 23, proved satisfactory for the majority of the nearly 1,000 brands exhibiting at the Porte de Versailles centre’s hall 1.
It must be said that the French capital has lived up to its reputation as the focal point of international fashion in recent weeks. Hosting the menswear and haute couture fashion weeks, and a number of trade shows too, Paris has been a magnet for the French and European fashion industry, but also for players from the USA, the Middle East and Asia. Based on opinions heard at the various trade events and runway shows, only Chinese buyers were missing.
Under the Who's Next banner, this January’s vibrant session featured the Who's Next, Impact, Neonyt and Bijorhca shows in hall 1, and international lingerie show SIL and Interfilière Paris in hall 4. According to the organisers, over 40,000 visitors attended the events. Of these visitors, 40% came from outside France, and 23% attended for the first time.
“I think there is a lot of interest in Paris,” said Frédéric Maus, president of show organiser WSN Développement. “[The shows] proved very attractive for international visitors. Some exhibitors met buyers from Australia, Korea and Japan, after a lengthy absence. And this is a confidence boost for exhibitors since, by and large, some of these contacts will turn into orders. Especially because I think there were many fine collections on show this season. We’re very much a business-oriented event. We do our best to make the atmosphere a pleasant one, but the goal remains to convert contacts into orders,” he added.
Who’s Next said that nearly 5% of visitors were from Italy, nearly 4% from Belgium and 4% from Spain, and 2.5% each from Germany and the UK.
In hall 1, dedicated to fashion and jewellery brands, WSN said it recorded 57% more visitors than in January 2022, and triple the number of overseas visitors. A momentum that, despite globalised inflation and social unrest in France, WSN will attempt to maintain in its forthcoming events. First with the Première Classe show, which will set up its twin marquees inside the Jardin des Tuileries during Paris Fashion Week Women, on March 3-6. It will be followed by SIL, staged again at Porte de Versailles on July 2-4, and by Who's Next with Impact, Bijorhca and Traffic on September 2-4, for the first time held in parallel with DRP, an event open to the general public on September 2-3.
A move to a three-day session that was confirmed by Maus. “For us, given rising prices for energy and all components,” he said, “there was the issue of cutting costs and reducing the show’s environmental footprint. With a four-day session, we would have had to raise our prices by 15-20%. Besides, in a three-day session, Saturday is a very busy day, whereas previously it was rather slow. Sunday remains strong, and major account buyers prefer to visit on Monday rather than Friday. With three energetic days and the fact that some brands are tentatively shifting back to the wholesale [channel], we're anticipating a wonderful September session,” concluded Maus.
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