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11 Sep

Brands Are Back at Who’s Next, Impact and Bijorhca,

PARIS — The theme of an American-style sports competition set the energetic tone for a return to normal scale for Who’s Next, Impact and Bijorhca. Held from Sept. 2 to five on the Porte de Versailles, the combined trade shows drew almost 1,500 brands, including nearly 40 percent newcomers, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels, in line with organizers. 

The number of holiday makers was up 30 percent in comparison with September 2021, with a majority of attendees hailing from Europe, and a very busy first day, though attendance in the course of the four-day event ebbed and flowed.

“This edition marks an actual comeback,” said Frédéric Maus, general director of WSN Développement, which organizes the event. 

“I feel we’ve reached this level because we never missed a buying session or cut ourselves off from our ecosystem of exhibitors and visitors. [During the height of the pandemic] we continued to fulfill with them in smaller formats when needed,” he said, noting this was the primary edition without major constraints designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We got through a period that wasn’t easy, but we’ve come out of it,” he added. Visitors from most countries, excluding China, were in a position to attend the event. 

At the doorway, dancers performed with basketballs and did acrobatics as attendees were welcomed by recorded sounds of cheering crowds, as if entering a sports stadium — never mind the row of lounging smokers churning out a veil of cigarette smoke on the door.

Once inside, while visitors spoke of optimism a few spring 2023 season promising vivid color, most shared feelings of uncertainty concerning the coming months. Inflation, climate change, the energy crisis and ongoing war in Ukraine left buyers and exhibitors struggling to foresee the road ahead, while admitting expectations were low. 

“It’s an uncertain period, because our customers might shop in another way, and we don’t really understand how. For the moment we feel they’ll probably eat less,” said Régis Pennel, founding father of online French retailer L’Exception. “We’ll compensate that drop by recruiting more customers, which is able to allow us to proceed to grow. But I feel each individual customer will eat less.”

Nevertheless, he expects L’Exception to finish the 12 months with 60 percent growth in sales versus 2019. “We’re lucky to be in a higher-quality bracket of products which are made to last, with a giant give attention to eco-responsible manufacturing. We’re as transparent as possible about it,” he added. 

L’Exception buyers were more “careful” about making purchases “because there’s been loads of inflation on prices, and at a certain point, the client won’t follow by way of cost increases,” said Pennel. He also noticed some price tags didn’t appear justified by material costs alone, and were more a mirrored image of brand name repositioning. “This might be not the most effective time to reposition oneself [as a higher-end brand],” he added.

Buyer Marcel Lassance, who worked for Paris concept store Merci for greater than a decade and is now buying for Japanese clients, agreed the the present situation was hard. “Prices are changing every week for cloth, and there are problems with container shipping, so we don’t really know what’s happening. We’re at a degree where we’re joyful to get 70 percent of a shipment. It’s complicated,” he said.

Like many others, Lassance praised Impact, the sustainable fair attached to Who’s Next, and the big recycled material offering. Following a summer of record heatwaves and fires, climate change and eco-responsibility are more pressing topics than ever for each buyers and exhibitors. That was particularly visible in sustainable trends similar to materials made from recycled plastic waste from the ocean, or food industry by-products. The variety of vegan brands has also taken off.

“I noticed loads more authentic, eco-responsible brands with a give attention to transparent production, so which you could really trace every thing back to the source. [Brands] are sending strong messages, and you possibly can feel an actual social awareness, which could be very necessary for us,” said Alexandra Tistounet, men’s buyer for Printemps.

“Impact has shown that when things go in the correct direction [in terms of eco-responsibility], they evolve pretty fast,” said Maus. “With the summer we’ve just experienced, I feel we’re just starting to know we’ve gone too far. It’s visible. We feel it.”

The trade show is stepping up efforts to scale back its environmental impact. Its carpeting is recycled into insulating material, and energy used for heating can be reduced this winter. As reported, as of January, animal fur will now not be accepted at WSN’s fairs. Meanwhile, the subsequent edition of Who’s Next in January will last three days, as a substitute of 4, to assist reduce costs.

Because the pandemic pushed many physical events to go virtual, Maus resisted, preferring to make use of the net marketplace Comexposium as a complement to physical meetings. 

“I don’t consider in virtual trade shows, because a trade show is the other of that. It’s about meeting and exchanging with people and feeling something. I feel we tried to dismiss large, physical events a little bit too soon,” he said. 

That said, people need a “strong enough reason” to attend, he said. To that end, he added the Interfilière lingerie show to Who’s Next, Impact and Bijorhca, with the primary combined edition launching in January 2023. 

After years of limited physical shows, “we’re seeing an appetite for newness,” concluded Maus.

“I’m psyched about this show. It was really good for us,” commented Gale Mayron King, creator of Pennsylvania-based area of interest beauty brand Jao Ltd., specializing in natural, multifunctional skincare. Her booth was within the Villa Beauté area dedicated to private care items.

She was not the just one. “We’ve seen brands which are joyful overall with Who’s Next, and returning to a successful trade show format,” said Pennel, who felt the burst of colourful collections also lent a positive note.

Other color trends included a continuation of purples, greens, browns, burgundy, and more sunlit shades and peachy pinks. 

Key trends spotted by womenswear buyer Anne Jacob at L’Exception were longer shorts for girls; metallic accessories and sneakers, and ‘80s-tinged color pops inspired by the hit series “Stranger Things.” 

“The kimono trend is skyrocketing,” noted Murielle Darques, owner of accessories boutique Coraline within the northern French city of Caen. “This trade show is a must-see,” she added, noting she liked the brown color trends. “It’s a base, and you possibly can do every thing with it.”

Darques reported that sales at her store were back to pre-pandemic levels. “I’ve stayed optimistic and haven’t lowered my budget. This 12 months, customers were back and desired to treat themselves,” she said.


Brand: Weng Studio
Designer: Weng Tzuchun 

Taiwanese brands were back in-person for the primary time in two years, with a collective of young designers.

Amongst them, Weng-Studio by Taiwanese designer Weng Tzuchun, founded in 2020, featured his latest collection, Symphony of Glow. Like a Monet painting, garments in ethereal yellow-greens, pinks and lavenders played with light, revealing latest points and details when seen up close. “I would like to catch the weather changing, and to offer a fresh, hopeful feeling,” said Tzuchun. Clothing is made and designed in Italy and priced between 160 euros and 400 euros retail. 

Brand: Rainodd
Designer: Bianca Benloukil

One-year-old, Amsterdam-based Rainodd is a line of waterproof, unisex ponchos made from RPET recycled plastic, which can be infinitely recyclable. Inspired by how locals weathered the rain season in Bali, founder Bianca Benloukil designed an eco-responsible poncho to “bring to Europe.” She strives to make garments “that do the least harm to the planet.” Materials contain perfluorinated hydrocarbons, or PFCs.  Benloukil designs her own prints and is working on a unisex trench coat. “That is my first trade show, and I see it’s working rather well, so I’m reassured,” she said. Retail price: 125 euros.

Brand: Liberadd
Designer: Kyoo Sun Lee

Elsewhere in Impact, South Korea-based Liberadd by designer Kyoo Sun Lee, launched this 12 months, featured comfortable, minimalist and female silhouettes with oversize volumes inspired by curving waves. They’re made with graphene, a high-functioning and sustainable fabric. “I wanted women to feel powerful while wearing this, but in addition feminine at the identical time,” said Sun Lee. Garments contain a mix of graphene-injected recycled nylon and cotton. Graphene is extracted from carbon, and strengthens other fabric materials, effectively reducing the quantity of blended material needed. It’s antibacterial, antistatic, UV-blocking, and offers thermal insulation. Wholesale prices range from 60 euros to 220 euros.

Brand: MoEa
Designer: Achille Gazagnes

MoEa, the Paris-based vegan sneakers brand created in 2021 by Achille Gazagnes, has already entered the U.S. and U.K. markets. The label’s bio-based sneakers are comprised of agricultural waste from the grape, apple, pineapple, cactus and corn food industry. The vegan leather is of course dyed, and most materials are sourced in Italy, barring the Mexican-sourced cactus. Manufacturing is in Portugal. A latest model made from upcycled mangoes can be coming out soon. “Our carbon footprint assessment showed 89 percent less carbon print than for a similar product made from leather,” said Gazagnes. Shoe soles are made from recycled bamboo. Retail prices range from 149 euros to 189 euros. 

Brand: Mono Skincare
Founder: Laurie Mias

In the wonder section, young French brand Mono Skincare presented its refillable, prebiotic and natural skincare products. Designed by pharmacists for sensitive skin, with no added perfumes, thickeners or other chemicals, their range of small, solid capsules are dropped into reusable glass bottles, that are stuffed with water at home, effectively reducing their transport carbon footprint. By supporting and maintaining the skin’s natural microbiome, largely due to hero ingredients similar to inulin, products are designed to balance skin. Latest items include an antiage Soft Facial Peeling, and an antipollution On a regular basis Mist is about to launch in 2023. Retail prices range from 28 euros to 88 euros.

Brand: ALT
Designer: Théo Jocquet

Launched in April of this 12 months, ALT in Paris presented its unisex silver and gold vermeil jewelry collection inspired by designer Théo Jocquet’s family jewelry — notably a series pocket watch. Pieces are easy, with delicate abstract details on closer inspection. Jocquet also makes rings to measure, particularly for unusual sizes which are hard to search out in the marketplace. He currently offers 14 different ring sizes, as a consequence of customer demand. “I actually have every thing for purchasers who felt rejected by standard jewelry,” he said.

Brand: Calanque Swimwear
Designer: Thalie Moliner

One prime example of a latest collection comprised of ocean waste is Calanque Swimwear, based in Marseille, and created by Thalie Moliner. Her men’s swimming shorts are comprised of trash present in the Mediterranean Sea, including plastic bottles, nets and bags. She was moved to launch the brand in 2021 because “men lacked decisions” in swimwear, she said. The shorts may also be worn outside the water, and embroidered details and colours are inspired by Mediterranean cultures. Retail prices are 79 euros to 134 euros. 

Brand: Eau Swim
Designer: Yasmine Benlamlih

The 2-year-old women’s swimwear brand Eau Swim enjoyed a gentle stream of admirers for its first outing at Fame in Who’s Next. Designed in Los Angeles by Yasmine Benlamlih, and produced in Casablanca, the one-piece swimsuits are available mixtures of solid, deep natural shades cut in chic geometric forms inspired by modern art and French elegance. Designs are supposed to flatter and “accompany” a girl throughout her life’s bodily changes, explained Benlamlih. Wholesale price: 70 euros.

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