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Nicola Mira
Jan 15, 2018
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Who’s Next show to feature renewed ready-to-wear exhibitors' grouping

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Jan 15, 2018

To segment or not to segment? Should exhibitors be clustered in different thematic groups? These are the questions many Parisian trade shows are asking themselves these days, and the answers vary. While Tranoï decided to start grouping up exhibiting brands according to themes, the next Who’s Next show is going in the opposite direction. The event, scheduled at Paris' Porte de Versailles exhibition centre on 19th-22nd January, has decided to ward off what could be described as visitor fatigue by abolishing the thematic clusters in which it used to group ready-to-wear labels.

The layouts of the Who's Next and Première Classe shows in January 2018 - WSN Développement

While Who’s Next's accessories counterpart, Première Classe, will occupy the exhibition centre's hall 3, the main show will take over halls 2 and 4, with a new, homogeneous approach, doing away with the 'Studio', 'Private', 'Trendy' and 'Urban' sections. "We found that the segmentation was no longer satisfactory: not only it failed to provide added value, but it also generated misunderstandings, as some brands failed to identify with the show's sections," said Aude Chabanier, the Director of Who’s Next. This willingness to simplify things is also consistent with a reduction in the number of exhibitors, which will be about one hundred fewer than January 2017.
The iconic 'Fame' section will remain however, relying on its founder's Sophie Guyot's idiosyncratic brand selection, though it will be incorporated within the show's overall designation. Located in hall 2.2, Who’s Next Fame will once again showcase 200 labels, among them American Vintage, Suncoo, Laurence Bras and Mes Demoiselles, as well as new entries like Not So Far, Maison Montagut and Stella Pardo.

The remaining ready-to-wear exhibitors will simply fly the Who's Next banner, with a made-over look though. Hall 4 will in fact have a new layout, featuring a reorganised circulation flow amidst its 300 or so stands, plus the emerging labels represented by collectives such as Atelier Meraki. "The new layout will respect each brand's environment. The will be no confusing gaps, but the idea is for visitors to look at the show's range of exhibitors with something of a new perspective," said Aude Chabanier.

The show will introduce a new stand configuration, the same for all exhibitors, and there will be areas acting like "breaks", to punctuate the visitors' journey. Five brand hubs will be recognisable among the aisles, embodying the theme chosen by Who's Next this season: 'Jazz & Sapeurs', referencing the Sapeurs (pioneers) fashion movement which developed in Paris in the 1970s.

A visual ad for the show, displaying the 'Jazz & Sapeurs' theme - © Romain Staros Staropoli

Finally, another group of ready-to-wear brands will occupy the communication area located between 'Fame' and the Première Classe show. This sort of detached section is the solution offered by the organisers to labels aspiring to be included in the 'Fame' section. Some fifteen labels were picked for this separate section, and Who's Next has asked each of them to showcase their own distinctive take on innovation. They include La Fée Maraboutée, Lauren Vidal, Vue sur Mer and newly relaunched New Man.         
The challenge for the show is to spark renewed enthusiasm by rethinking the way in which brands are displayed. "We must fight harder and harder to attract buyers. If we want to show them trends, it's more easily done by being more clustered," said Aude Chabanier, referring to the show’s more homogeneous layout within a smaller area. Who's Next also wants to ramp up the energy by setting up, within hall 4, a conference area, the Fashion Solutions section with its twenty or so companies, and a large lounge area, both lively and welcoming, its décor inspired by Prohibition-era bars. It will notably be the venue for a 'Sapeurs' show on the event's opening night, Friday 19th January, as well as for a string of events and ateliers run by design collectives during the show's four days.

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