So there we are now, during this weird year, visiting the first fashion trade shows in Germany this season. What usually kicks off in Berlin beginning of July, moved to good old Düsseldorf in August: About three weeks after Düsseldorf Fashion Days–the order week involving Düsseldorf agents and showrooms–took place Gallery Fashion & Shoes at Areal Böhler and Supreme at B1 building next to Kaiserswerther Straße followed, each event catering a mix of casual womenswear, menswear, accessories and footwear.
Obviously an overlap of all order platforms would have been more efficient for all participants, but due to COVID-19 regulations specific get-togethers and events were not allowed any earlier than end of August/beginning of September. With rising infection numbers in Germany organizers might consider themselves lucky that the shows could happen at all (see the current example of ILM’s cancellation).
It’s a steady back and forth with events this year, which–as has been the case with the Copenhagen events–should make one pay respect to organizers and exhibitors for keeping their nerves and making events happen in any case. Solidarity during these exceptional times does play a role: "We didn’t expect anything, but wanted to be part of the fair to show presence and loyalty towards the industry," an exhibitor at Supreme sums it up.
To be honest: even before Corona, fashion trade fairs had to contend with stagnating or even falling visitor numbers, and the risk of infection due to crowds of people has certainly never been the problem-with or without a sophisticated hygiene concept, including pre-registration with fixed time slots, walking directions down the aisles, hand disinfection and compulsory masks. The latter rather takes government regulations into account than actual frequency. So in the end the question remains: Do you need trade fairs and if so, how many? As of now, they help at least to maintain the semblance of normality, of 'things have to go on somehow', and besides, after dozens of zoom calls, it's simply nice to meet people in real life.
To draw a picture of the mood of this Düsseldorf ordering round hardly seems possible–the reactions are too different: where some people are almost desperate, others see their expectations fulfilled, possibly because they had hardly expected anything more from this year. And then there are those, both wholesalers and retailers, who even talk of a plus compared to the previous year. Short-term order goods pay off in order to react flexibly to demand; but also those vendors who have succeeded to create their niche with a very individual offer and a suitable and loyal community gave good chances to manage this crisis.