The general director of the Parisian fair of provisioning has indicated that this edition is marked by the crisis of the coronavirus, since almost a third of the exhibitors are Asian.
Gilles Lasbordes has been worried for several days. The general director of the Paris Fair Première Vision has seen how the epidemic has crossed half the planet to land at the Paris Nord Villepinte. Of the 1,775 exhibitors at the fair, a third of them come from outside of Europe, particularly from China, Japan and South Korea. The cancellation of the participation of these exhibitors has been a blow to the event, which will have an impact on the number of visitors. However, Lasbordes does not hesitate to continue maintaining optimism and debate about the future of the sector, arguing that it is about sustainability. According to the manager, companies in the sector not only have to understand what the consumer wants to be offered, but also how they want it to be produced and designed.
Qestion: What is your forecast of this edition of Première Vision?
Answer: Unfortunately, the show is affected by the coronavirus situation, because Première Vision Paris is very international and a thirdly part of exhibitors come from Asia, especially China, Japan, and Korea. So, for sure, we will see a decrease in attendees from China because they are not capable to fly to Paris because of the restriction. Also, some companies avoid traveling anywhere. We will see the performance result at the end of the show.
Q: How can fairs afront this current transformation of the sector?
A: It depends, it has multiple subjects coming at the moment. From my point of view, one of the keys is about eco-responsibility. The idea of the Smart Creation Area is to create a space for innovative companies and put on the stage what the entire industry is doing over here, and also educate or give information to the people to understand these topics. For sure, this is important because it’s the reality of the market.
Q: What is the point of fairs if fashion times have changed?
A: The fashion industry is facing many changes, but they are still having importance.
“You still need to have a direct with the people, because you still need to feel and touch the product”
Q: Do fairs have a sense in the fast fashion era?
A: I don’t think there are no more seasons, it is the way you process the collection that has change. In fact, what is happening now is that the process has been extended. Instead of introducing new products twice a year, products arrive at stores almost every week. But that does not mean that the seasons have disappeared.
Q: With the digitalization of the industry, will the fairs lose importance?
A: In some way yes, and in another not. You still need to have a personal interaction with people, because you still need to feel and touch the product. This is important, but the fact is that because there are multiple collections that fashion brands need to supply all year long, additional products, and for that purpose, digital platforms are more interesting, and that is why we have launched the Marketplace.
Q: In the future, will there be fewer and larger fairs or more and smaller fairs?
A: I don’t know. What I see now is that over the last ten years the number of fairs has increased, and some of them have grown. I think that trade shows have been growing in other markets, and it gives good service to the industry, so you have the possibility to choose as a buyer. They can choose to go local or to an international trade show, where it benefits of the offer, services, and trends from the big companies.
“Trade shows are one of the cheaper ways of marketing compared to the other ones”
Q: Is there space for so many fairs?
A: I don’t know. If a trade show does not perform enough, it will die out.
Q: Will they open to the end consumer?
A: Us not. We are still targeting b2b market. Our strategy is to remain focus on the b2b segment f the business.
Q: Is the fair efficient in terms of cost?
A: Yes. Trade shows are one of the cheaper ways of marketing compared to the other ones.
“Fashion brands have to think about how they can be attractive to the young generations”
Q: How does the slowdown in the sector affect Première Vision exhibitors?
A: For sure, it may affect the revenue of our exhibitors.
Q: What are the challenges that the fairs have to face?
A: The fashion industry is facing a huge transformation and is facing multiple difficulties. I mean, the attractiveness of products, the interest of new generations, eco responsibility... There is a lot to do, but i am optimistic.
Mds: How has new consumer habits affected fairs?
GL: It depends. Fashion brands have to think about how they can be attractive to the young generations in order to become involved with them. They have to embrace the same values and go hand to hand with the consumer. Understand what they want, but not only in de offer, also in the production and the way they create. If not, they will have no future and will disappear.