High Traffic and Expanded Reach Mark Success for Informa Markets Fashion Digital
Launched with the wholesale e-commerce platform NuOrder on Sept. 1, Informa Markets Fashion’s digital trade event established itself as a channel integral to the apparel industry’s success. The show producer’s MAGIC, Coterie, Project, MICAM Americas and Children’s Club welcomed buyers, brands, manufacturers and industry insiders to engage in a new digital-trade model following the cancellation of many of the apparel business’s trade shows due to COVID-19, while the company’s Sourcing at MAGIC event was introduced later in the month on Sept. 15. Within the first 30 days of launching, MAGIC, Coterie, Project, MICAM Americas and
Children’s Club provided a space for 1,100 brands across 1,350 digital showrooms. By early October, the shows saw 20,000 registered qualified retailers with all shows, except Sourcing at MAGIC, ending Nov. 1.
“We have received a lot of great feedback from all of our digital events, which we love to hear as it really helps us tailor our future event offerings to better fit our customers’ and the market’s needs,” Kelly Helfman, commercial president of Informa Markets Fashion, said. “We look forward to improving on this with our springtime events, as we will be responding to these needs with an even more personalized approach for next season.”
While MAGIC, Coterie, Project, MICAM Americas and Children’s Club were produced through a partnership with NuOrder, the Informa Fashion Markets team launched Sourcing at MAGIC using its proprietary platform based on three pillars: source, learn and discover. The resulting event more closely resembled the structure of an onsite Sourcing at MAGIC show.
“Our physical show is known for its different sections. What we wanted to replicate on the online platform was for a buyer to be able to search in terms of categories,” Andreu David, event director for Sourcing at MAGIC Online, explained during a recent press conference. “We curated the categories in a way where it resonates to what’s going on in the industry with buyers and along the supply chain—what buyers are really looking for today such as sustainable alternatives, and we also included PPE.”
While addressing the press, Helfman revealed that Sourcing at MAGIC welcomed more than 1,700 buyers and included 770 exhibitors. These businesses on the virtual-trade-show floor represented more than 65,000 products yet will frequently update with new items and innovations throughout the remainder of the show, which runs through Dec. 15.
“With the international business, a lot of people potentially couldn’t afford to come out and exhibit with us. There is now the opportunity to digitally exhibit if they cannot come out physically,” Helfman said. “Same thing with the buyers who couldn’t come out and physically be at the venue in Las Vegas now can shop digitally.”
Expanding its reach, Informa showcased goods from a wider array of global sources, welcomed buyers from far corners of the world and engaged as a resource for responsible goods within a more-sustainable industry. MAGIC, Coterie, Project, MICAM Americas and Children’s Club saw retailers from more than 78 countries. During Sourcing at MAGIC, Informa’s roster of exhibitors represented 26 countries and buyers hailed from 56 countries as supply-chain diversification leads brands to seek accessible partners that can provide near-shoring options and smaller minimums and who might also be engaged in sustainability.
The producer maintained its commitment to education during its venture into virtual offerings. Educational resources have been connected with contributors such as Frances Harder of Fashion for Profit; Rick Helfenbein, former president and chief executive officer of the American Apparel & Footwear Association; and Mike Todaro, managing director of the American Apparel Producers’ Network. A MAGIC Social House program titled “Influencer Marketing from A to Z” featured Rachel McCord and Rick Schirmer. MICAM Americas’ Sole Synergy footwear session titled “Using Digital Tools and Technologies to Optimize Operations” featured Chris Hillyer, innovation director for Deckers Brands, and Andy Polk, senior vice president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America. On Nov. 18, Sourcing at MAGIC hosted a Live Discovery Session Sustainability Summit, which included a panel comprising Lenzing’s Tricia Carey, House of Gold’s Adriano Goldschmied, Social Good’s Cindy Lin, Jeanologia’s Alex Penades and Roger Williams, director of “River Blue,” the film that challenged the apparel industry to come clean for a safer, ecologically sound supply chain.
Reflecting on a successful step into digital events, Helfman noted that she, her colleagues, and, most importantly, her clients and guests want to return to onsite events. For now, the company will continue to develop its digital offerings as the industry awaits a return to the show floor.
“While total marketplace adoption will take time, we look forward to continually hearing more feedback like this so we can update and enhance our events in order to continually deliver an exceptional offering,” Helfman said. “This really is a collaborative endeavor, and we look forward to sharing our enhancements from this season’s inaugural events when we return with our next editions in early 2021.”