In the exhibition halls (photo: Olivier Guyot)
In the exhibition halls (photo: Olivier Guyot)

27 Jan. 2012


The first edition of the newly-organized fashion trade show Who’s Next Prêt-à-Porter in Paris closed after four days on Tuesday. After the merger of three independent fairs in May of last year, the new organizer, WSN DeveloppEment, has successfully fitted the parts into one piece with a new structure aimed at buyers' interests. The new big fair unites 2500 brands and designers and is divided into six sections: Fame, Private, Mr. Brown, Le Cube, Mess Around and Première Classe. Nearly every section occupies its own hall at the trade show. The biggest section was “Private,” mainly made up of the brands of former trade show Prêt-à-Porter (evening wear, plus sizes, classic fashion, knitwear and fur) and integrated over two floors. The accessories section, Première Classe, merged 600 brands of bags, jewelry, shoes, scarves and other items, and was divided into three genres of fashion. Accessories for trendy fashion were at Fame, menswear and streetwear items at Mr. Brown, and leather goods for traveling and mobile lifestyles at Le Cube.

All the fair halls shared a common look coherent to the main image of the new trade show. The design is mainly white, minimal and airy, well-organized and spacious. The stands were also painted white and designed in an open style to make the collections easily viewed by passing visitors. Most of the exhibitors were satisfied with this new look. Only some, such as Timo Olsthoorn of Dutch label Belluna, had some regrets: “In the Private section the atmosphere was better before, when we were in the same hall as Fame.” The ethical enterprises (a growing market and a big part of the former Prêt-à-Porter) didn't have its own section, but was unified under a special “green” route in the same way as childrenswear.
Xavier Clergerie, WSN general manager
Xavier Clergerie, WSN general manager

WSN general manager Xavier Clergerie was content with his first edition of what is one of the biggest European fashion fairs. “We were quite nervous before the opening, but are happy to report there weren't many failures. Of course there are many things to improve. My biggest satisfaction is that we have passed by the image of a generalist. The new trade fair takes into account the different interests of the market and of the distribution. It brings together brands and people and puts them into the right context. This strengthens our identity.”

This biggest success was, according to Clergerie, the new Mr. Brown section in Hall 3. “The menswear offer was extended and the new setting gives new possibilities to the exhibitors. In the last years, for example, playing music at a stand always caused problems with exhibitors from Private or Fame. Now, all street- and urbanwear exhibitors are in their own halls and nobody gets disturbed.”

Outside view of the fair grounds
Outside view of the fair grounds

Although the trade show took place close to the same time as Bread & Butter in Berlin, menswear fashion week in Paris and during one of the most important weeks of winter sales , attendance of the fair was good. “There were not so many, but there were very good costumers; retailers who place orders. We got the impression that this season less French buyers came than usual,” remarked a salesperson from Italian brand Momoni. The official attendance countings recorded a number of 65.682 fair visitors of which 68% came from France and 32% from abroad (above all Italian, Belgique and Spanish visitors). Xavier Clergerie estimates that in January 2013 the trade show will take place a week later, at the end of the month according to other international trade fair schedules.
Barbara Markert

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