080 Barcelona Fashion debuts quality strategy towards internationalisation
080 Barcelona Fashion, taking place on 4-7 February at the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista, is gearing up for a new winter edition that will see it pursue three goals: increase its international exposure, improve its brand positioning and revamp its content. Marta Coca, head of 080 Barcelona Fashion and director of the Catalonia’s Consorcio de Comercio Artesanía y Moda (CCAM), talks to FashionNetwork.com about her action plan. The goal: to establish Barcelona as an international fashion week, promoting quality and balance while retaining the event’s local essence.
“We are an open and plural platform,” Marta Coca says firmly about the event, which is financed by 70% public resources and 30% private investment. “We have always been committed to supporting local brands, and we understand they are the ones we have to promote the most, but it is also about creating synergies at an international level,” she continues. Europe is 080 Barcelona Fashion’s main target, with France, Italy, Germany, the UK and Scandinavian countries in focus. “The active promotion [of brands] and strategy to attract buyers is focusing mostly on the European Union. We are going to offer global contents to capture the international interest of press and buyers,” she explains.
As part of this, the organisation has carefully selected a line-up of international designers and brands with the aim of expanding the event’s global reach, boost its role in Europe and introduce the 080 brand to emerging countries. Among others, Spanish/Colombian designer Carlos Polite; Peruvian-born, Guangzhou-based designer Esaú Yori; and South African print brand Chulaap will host fashion shows with their latest collections during the event. But the main highlight will be former Trussardi creative director Umit Benan, who will present his new men’s collection on Tuesday 5 February.
Commenting about the eternal debate between tilting the balance towards emerging design or retailers, Marta Coca says 080 should be a combination of both. “We don’t want an excess of either. From retailers, we demand a strong level of creativity on the runway. And we ask creative emerging brands to provide a business project and a solid business plan,” she says, demonstrating the efforts put towards ensuring quality.
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The event is working to have a clearer positioning, focusing on both womenswear and menswear and dropping the lingerie and children’s fashion categories which had been included in previous seasons. This year, 080 Barcelona will bring together returning labels such as Antonio Miro, Custo Barcelona, Oscarleon and Miram Ponsa, as well as influencer couturier Ze García and up-and-coming men’s brand Mans Concept Menswear. Additionally, organisers have decided to divide the event based on categories and reduce the duration to four days. “We will try to reduce the number of shows in favour of higher quality content to attract more buyers to Barcelona. We know where we are, who we are and who we want to be,” says Coca.
A further platform, the 80 Fashion Showroom will celebrate its 7th edition as a trade show with the participation of brands including Sita Murt, Naulover, Designers Society, Theo & Lea, Amt., Pocket and Munich. Some of these labels will also stage a runway show. “We have invited 30 international department stores to visit the showroom. We won’t grow in the number of buyers of exhibiting brands, the strategy will be more qualitative than quantitative,” Marta Coca reveals. “We estimate that the 20 to 25 brands that join the event each season see a return on investment of about two million euros in terms of marketing. But at this time, we are more focused on applying a quality strategy than on multiplying the return on investment.”
Additionally, the event has had to boost its creativity and content and study other presentation formats to enhance the runway event. The first of such changes will be the Pop Ups Gallery. “We have reconceptualized the fashion market. We have created a space to present 20 conceptual brands under an art gallery format. We will do a small sampling with 20 brands,” Marta Coca announces. If successful, the project could return for the summer edition. “We want to present brands and raise awareness of their ‘fashion product’, made locally and by hand, without focusing so much on the sale aspect.”
This solid strategy could be essential to establish the Catalonian event as a creative and commercial alternative in a saturated fashion weeks calendar. 080 Barcelona Fashion’s plan is already underway.
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