Modefabriek 33 | recapMonday, 30 July 2012
On the day when the summer finally arrived in the Netherlands, the summer
edition of Modefabriek kicked off at Amsterdam’s RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre. There’s no telling to what extent the weather affected the atmosphere at the fair, but we can report that the 33rd edition of Modefabriek was upbeat, relaxed and focused. All the registered exhibitors and attendees were there, and as always there was a lot to discover.
Although some visitors had trouble finding it at first, the new Blueprint platform for innovators in denim, contemporary street wear and authentic labels had its own outdoor site this summer edition, which doubled as a second entrance. The already wildly popular Blueprint, with its creative and passionate ‘can-do’ spirit, drew even larger crowds thanks to this second, outdoor location. A large yurt had been erected on the outdoor site among the bazaar of containers, where fashion matchmaker HTNK – including House of Denim’s James Veenhoff – paid tribute to Amsterdam as the capital of the international denim world. For one, the world’s first-ever ‘jean school’ was presented, which will be opening its doors after the summer at the Regional Education Centre (ROC), right across from RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre.
However, it was not only the exhibitors at Blueprint who were pleased with Blueprint Outdoor – Nudie jeans, for example, was ‘delighted with the new denim hall, with all its excitement and fun and interesting new labels. The outdoor site both enhances lifestyle and is chock-full of innovation and initiatives.’ The appeal of Blueprint Outdoor was also palpable in the adjacent Industry segment. Maarten Janse, who was promoting his brands Eleven Paris, Elvine and Gio Goi, had only good things to say about the event: ‘Although it’s a shame that some brands have relocated, we’re pleased with the second entrance at Blueprint. We’ve had a lot of traffic and our brands are doing very well.’ He also shared the opinion of many of his peers that exhibitors across the board appear to be making more of an effort. Stefanie of the labels MinkPink, Ana Alcazar and Biba Bridget agreed: ‘I've noticed that all the collections look very fresh this season.’ Jacco van Veen, who launched the Cruyff Clothing collection in the Industry segment, also responded positively: ‘Customers have been really taken with the setting, and our collection offers something very fresh and original – a mix of casual and smarter styles. The crowds kept coming throughout the event, which was great.’
As in previous editions of the event, visitors really appreciated the Refined+ and Dutch Touch Coming Home platforms. Benjamin Swart of the Belgian Fashion07 agency, who was represented at Refined+ with his April, May, Pyrus and MiH Jeans labels, was full of praise: ‘The set-up, with so much space and light, beats that of many other fashion fairs, including Paris. The number of visitors was slightly lower than expected, but the quality – both of the retailers and of the media outlets – couldn’t be beat. The segment could be expanded a little, in order to attract more potential buyers for this level. Belgian designer Glenn Martens, who was spotlighted at this year’s Cutting Edge, also attracted many visitors and members of the media. Nadine Kooijman of the Dutch label Raafh added: ‘For Raafh, Refined+ is a perfect place to make our presence known. We talked to a lot of people and made new connections, including with the media.’
The home-grown designers in their Dutch Touch Coming Home stands also found the event rewarding in many ways. Although a label like Bas Kosters may have been slightly out of place, other brands, such as YOUASME MEASYOU, Sjaak Hullekes, Spijkers en Spijkers, Marcha Hüskes and Ready to Fish did ‘catch’ the attention of the media and bloggers and made lots of new customer contacts. Here, too, participants expressed a clear desire to attract more high-end retailers.
Some first-time exhibitors at Modefabriek had to adjust to the setting. 'This is not an event where people place orders; it’s a place where they catch up with each other, make new contacts, and preview the collections. The event has been a very good experience for us,’ said Marilyn van Rysselberghe of the Eyedoll label. The ultimately lower turnout (down 7% from the previous summer edition) may also have been due to the fact that fewer retail assistants and other guests accompanied the buyers this time around. ‘Things are a bit more dynamic with a larger crowd there, but even though it was low key the quality was very high, and we scheduled a lot of appointments’ said Esther Verweij of Knäckebröd Fashion, who was exhibiting in the Appearance segment with the S’nob, Margit Brandt, St-Martins, Meam, Black Secret and Pieszak labels.
This summer season, quality was clearly more important than quantity. While there wasn't as much buzz on the exhibition floor, there was no shortage of focus, innovation and inspiration. Modefabriek predicts a fabulous 2013 summer fashion season!