What’s Up urban/sportswear section premières at Who’s Next show
The debut edition of the What’s Up section at Parisian trade show Who's Next has been successful, despite fears of a decline in the event’s attendance due the ongoing ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations in the French capital. What’s Up was dedicated to sportswear and urban fashion, and showcased nearly 90 exhibitors between women's and men's ready-to-wear, footwear and accessories brands.
Could this be a first step towards a return to the show's roots?
“Urban fashion has always been part of the show’s DNA, though nowadays we are mostly focused on women’s apparel. I know this might take some time, but we are trying to convince labels to join the ranks of What's Up, a section that covers a broad market segment including urban, vintage and streetwear. We are keen to restore momentum in this sector,” said Sabine Bertolino, sales manager of Who’s Next.
Among others, What’s Up hosted ready-to-wear brands like Kulte, Hero Seven, Eleven, Loïs, Fjallraven, Jott, El Ganso and Helvetica. All of them said they were satisfied with the winter session.
“We were happy with this edition. We met buyers from Citadium, Galeries Lafayette and l’Exception. We signed up six new countries, and received fresh orders. It is very encouraging for us,” said Guillaume Flahaut, co-director of Kulte.
Katia Jaud, sales director of Loïs France, shared his enthusiasm: “It was a good show. We made positive contacts, chiefly with French buyers. The show thrives on the style and ambience of the golden era of Who’s Next. We will stay with them, to make it work!”
The footwear section was more directional, and showcased new collections by Saucony, Pony, New Lab, Caval and Barleycorn. The founders of New Lab were happy with their work: “We’d have preferred a better-placed stand, like last season, but despite this, results were positive. We were able to showcase our new-look collection, with a more visible logo and an extended women's range, to buyers we thought were really interesting.”
What’s Up is still limited in size, but it clearly has the potential to grow. To do so, it ought to push the envelope in terms of exhibitor selection, going for quality rather than quantity. A more radical selection of brands seems to be expected in this segment. Nevertheless, the emerging talent section within What's Up was dynamic enough. And, once some major urban fashion players will have been hooked in, it could reassure other brands and encourage them to take part.
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