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What are the major challenges faced by the trade fair organisers these days?
The concentration of trade at fewer retailers has increased greatly in recent years. In order to ensure that the same number of visitors as before, or even more, will participate, we have to make trade fairs attractive to new visitor target groups. That is certainly a challenge, but it also inspires us and it ultimately benefits the trade fair overall. We achieve this by offering new segments for exhibitors and an attractive supporting programme.
Which are the countries with high participation in the fashion trade fair? What do you think are the reasons for it?
The traditional fashion-oriented countries are still Italy, France, Spain and the UK. However, the fashion industry in other countries, such as the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries, has also been gaining ground for a number of years. But all companies, no matter where they are based, have similar aims when they participate in a trade fair. For example, they all want to open up new sales channels and market their products all over the world.
According to you, what is the reason that ethical sourcing in apparel and textiles cannot always be broken down to the level of individual countries?
When it’s a question of establishing ethical standards and monitoring adherence to them, both sides are responsible - the manufacturing countries as well as the consumer countries. In the manufacturing countries there must be legislation that ensures the ethical production of textiles. On the other hand, the consumer countries must also make sure these standards are complied with.
What steps have been taken by your company to promote sustainability in textile industry?
Our Children’s Fashion Cologne, which is still a young trade fair, has so far not included any formats that explicitly deal with this issue. However, that can certainly change. After all, the issue of sustainability is very important for the sector. At other Koelnmesse events, aspects related to the issue of sustainability are already important components of their structure, for example in terms of presentations, congresses, special shows or awards.
Which future trends / topics / themes are likely to inspire the textile and apparel trade fairs to be great fairs?
As an international trade fair company, we observe the trends in the trade fair business and the related sectors very closely. Because trade fairs are innovation and trend platforms, they are often held at the places where new products can be seen for the first time. One trend that we’re seeing at many of our trade fairs, independently of the sector involved, is that of online trading.
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