What new projects and initiatives will characterize the next edition of the show?
AO: Our virtual event, Kingpins24, proved to us that digital events have an important role in our business, but they are a complement rather than a replacement for in-person shows. We will continue to host digital events in the future, but right now, we are focused on our upcoming physical shows.
VW: Our partnership with Material Exchange will also continue as we introduce exhibitors and attendees to Kingpins Exchange and the opportunities to source and network between physical events. Material Exchange representatives will be on site at the show in Amsterdam to explain how the 24/7 online platform works and how it can help support the in-person trade show experience.
AO: Kingpin's goal has always been to provide an egalitarian trade show experience, with every exhibitor showing in the same booth as every other. No one will have a wood floor. No one will be showing under a tent.
Past exhibitors and attendees know how we love unexpected and historic venues. Like the name implies, the Sugar City space is a former 20th century sugar factory and considered an example of the industrial heritage of the city of Halfweg. The venue has been redeveloped into modern show and office spaces, with a nod to its industrial past.
VW: It’s close to central Amsterdam and to the Schipol Airport, with easy train access and free parking. Kingpins will be spread across three floors, with check-in on the ground floor, all exhibitors on the second floor and seminars on the top level.
AO: We are investigating new international show locations and hope to be able to make announcements soon. It’s highly unlikely that we will be able to hold a show in China in 2022, nor does it seem likely that we will be back in Hong Kong this year.
VW: It breaks our hearts to say that – both have been seriously important shows for us in the past. We truly hope we can return to China in 2023. But we have to proceed cautiously and make these decisions with the health and safety of our team, our exhibitors and our attendees in mind.
Starting from 2019, Kingpins wanted to introduce the process of establishing mandatory standards–including social and environmental responsibility–for all of its exhibitors. What is the present situation for the upcoming edition?
VW: All denim mills, other than the Japanese, who have shown at our Amsterdam shows until Covid, are 100% CSR compliant. We will continue on this mission with the new exhibitors.
How is the state of the market?
AO: Retail remains challenging and the pressures on the supply chain are significant, with little sign of easing soon.
VW: One encouraging sign to me is that sustainability has remained an important focus for mills, manufacturers and brands and many are continuing their work to meet their 2030 sustainability goals.
VW: This has been a challenging time, and it remains challenging.
AO: We have not eradicated Covid, there is a war in Europe, prices are incredibly high for wheat, oil and other commodities and serious problems in the supply chain continue.
As much as I am looking forward to gathering in Amsterdam to see old friends, meet new players and see all the new developments in person, I am also looking forward to speaking with my denim industry colleagues about the challenging times we are in and to consider together our path forward.