The Parisian trade show Who’s next closed its doors on Monday after four days of showcasing the looks of the summer 2018 season from about 700 exhibitors. The date was well chosen this time. WSN Développement, the operator of the fair, had tried several different dates over the past few years, but hadn’t always satisfied its customers: once the salon opened during the sales period, another time it was parallel to the fashion shows and the last autumn session fell exactly on the beginning of the school year. But now, the fair seemed to fit in time: no school start, no fashion shows or major events. Accordingly, visitors come in droves at the opening on Thursday. "We are amazed at how many people are coming on the first day," noted newcomer Kathrin Brüning from the German company Soul Kathrine.
The fair, which had repeatedly struggled with its organization in recent years, seemed to have taken a more focused approach: the halls were compact, thought-out, airy and modern and a new PR agency is responsible for the communication. The established five theme groups Fame, Private, Studio, Trendy/Urban and Première Classe for accessories were retained and divided into three halls.
Here are the main highlights:
Lifestyle products are now increasingly complementing the fashion offer in stores and wisely included about 30 exhibitors of this segment, distributed in all the three halls. For example there was creative paper articles (Paperlab & Co), decorative items (Samo Gallery), household fabrics (Koala Beach Towels), plants (Garden State) and also beauty products (Caudalie). Two pop-up stores, Atelier Meraki and La Manufacture Parisienne, also offered lifestyle goods for direct sale and expanded the otherwise fashionable range.
The athleisure segment, which was already included last season, had its own space for the first time. Eight brands from France, Germany and the USA showed their offers in the Trendy/Urban hall, among them Kitiwaker, Mandala and Minirina. The animeeparis.com website, the biggest online shop for athleisure in France, was presented, too. In the outdoor area, the fair organized yoga courses for visitors.
To underline its role as a provider of solutions for the industry, Who's next installed a new area called Fashion Solutions. There, start-ups, experts and consulting firms shared information about, for example, new technology in store equipment, financial or legal consulting services and e-commerce techniques for stationary shops. New technical possibilities was also one of the main topics at the conferences.
Trend themes: Ethno, French touch
The most important trend theme was clearly ethno-fashion. Folkloric motifs were predominant in both clothing and accessories. So-called Ibiza Style, which was already popular in summer 2017, with wide and colorful tunics, embroidered breeches, slippers and mules, is returning for another season. Also, many brands offer dresses in the style of the Ukrainian designer Vita Kin. Floral prints remain a strong theme, too. Alternatively the typical Parisian style is hot. The show worked with Trend Union, the trend-forecasting agency of the Lidewij Edelkoort Studio, to present almost exclusively French newcomers such as FRNCH or Mon Cycliste.
La Redoute x WSN Developpement
As young brands are increasingly struggling to build their distribution channels, WSN Developpement has entered into a partnership with the e-commerce platform La Redoute. Thanks to this cooperation, exhibitors at the trade fair will be able to offer their products on LaBrandBoutique, the luxury segment affiliate of La Redoute. The project starts with the upcoming summer season. Sales to consumers will begin in February 2018. WSN is thus expanding its offer with a B2C platform.