Yes, wondering who attends fashion trade shows is a basic question but definitely one I hear so much in speaking with start up brands. Why does it matter, shouldn't you just GO?
Recognizing that global fashion trade shows are where most of the business transactions take place, as a new entrepreneur you NEED to know who is there. Plain and simple it's so that you can make the best decision for yourself, and your business. Brace yourself, you are probably going to be surprised by a few people on this list.
Be sure to grab the Pattern to Plan custom created global fashion trade show calendar <<--CLICK TO ACCESS immediately!
So now onto the real story -
Who goes to fashion trade shows:
Of course buyers are there, they are there to write orders (or shop in layman's terms). They come by themselves, but mostly they come in teams. Even when I had my small little boutique in Ohio I would bring an assistant to help identify new trends and brands, and keep me on the straight and narrow in terms of my Open to Buy.
Learn all about what happens at the trade shows and arm yourself with how a buyer operates.
SHOWROOMS and SALES REPS
The showrooms are most likely exhibiting their designers or brands at the shows. But often times they don't. They take appointments in their showroom and so they walk the show floor looking for new brands to pick up to represent. Sales reps are more like individual showrooms, just a one person team, and they also look to find brands which have potential . . . to make them money.
Be open for discussions and be ready to show your best stuff to these people. Also be prepared to interview them, this is a two way street working with a showroom.
BLOGGERS, MAGAZINE EDITORS
An essential first step to getting press for your brand is having coverage in a magazine, blog or by an editor. It probably won't be any of the big guys. Certainly many powerful niche and independent fashion pubs and bloggers can boost presence of your brand and support you being discovered in far off regions of the world like Korea, Brazil, even Los Angeles!.
An essential key to getting in magazines is the stylist. Not the editor. The Stylist. You heard it here. Why? Because the stylist is in charge of the look of the shoot. Certainly there are key items which need to be shot but often in larger layouts they are looking for complimentary pieces, and new creative designers with editorial appeal get snatched up at the shows.
TEXTILE OR RAW MATERIAL DESIGNERS
These folks attend the shows looking for inspiration, collaborators, and key contacts. They may be looking to sell their prints or designs, or again looking to collaborate. Just be informed they are around!
Other designers, or those looking to start a business attend the shows. They may be trying to figure out what happens at the shows (and if you've read this far, you know what I'm talking about). They may also be looking for inspiration or validation of their concept.
Do not worry, no one will steal your designs at least from the other designers side. They have their own point of view and you'll already be onto your next collection by end of the show anyhow.
As a new brand exhibiting, do be careful of people who won't give you a business card and want to take photos. They may be looking to copy.
So hopefully this sheds some light for you on who attends the shows. Will you be at the next market week? If you liked this post, be sure to grab the global trade show calendar and tell a friend using the share buttons below. See you at the shows!