After hosting a cocktail party in the City of Lights last year, Copenhagen International Fashion Fair is launching its first event outside its home city in the Garage Amelot during Paris men’s fashion week.
CIFF, the largest trade fashion fair in Northern Europe, has an ambitious international expansion plan that its parent, North Modern, hopes will eventually include two annual events in Paris plus similar set-ups in Los Angeles and New York and, someday, China as well, said Kristian Andersen, North Modern’s chief innovation officer.
“We are beginning in Paris because it’s the most competitive [market],” he said.
The four-day event will feature men’s spring collections and women’s pre-collections, alongside installations and a series of talks.
It includes an LVMH Prize talk with the award’s Mentoring Director and Jean Patou Chief Executive Sophie Brocart and members of the award’s expert committee: Julie Gilhart, Fabio Piras and Susanna Lau.
“They’ll discuss the process and criteria. What [does] it take to win the award? What happens after?” said Stavros Karelis, founder of London-based retailer Machine-A and CIFF artistic director, who curated the programme.
Trade shows are reinventing themselves to remain relevant to buyers, who increasingly place orders online rather than traveling to various fashion capitals to view collections. A growing number of buyers only make time for a visit to Paris each season. The city’s trade circuit is getting crowded, with Tranoï and Splash Paris overlapping with CIFF.
“Will the trade show survive? To be honest, I am not sure. But there’s a need to meet physically and to get inspired by forward-thinking people,” said Andersen. “I don’t want a static concept. I don’t believe in that anymore.”
Albeit a much smaller format than in Copenhagen — some 50 brands will be part of the new showcase versus 1,100 at the main show — it will feature some brands in common. About 50 percent of the brands are exclusive to the Paris edition.
Some 15 installations will be on view under the roof of Garage Amelot, including a showcase of the creations of Central Saint Martins MA fashion design graduates Sheryn Akiki, Goom Heo, Kitty Garratt and Marvin Desroc.
A panel on sustainability will invite designers and specialists to participate in redesigning the high street in a more environmentally friendly way.
“CIFF is becoming more than a traditional selling platform, which showcases products and brands to the buyers and press,” said Karelis. “Our goal is to highlight important causes of our industry.”