Trade Shows Evolve & Change as Covid Concerns Continue

Performance Days featured an emerging Beauty & Wellness materials category in a virtual presentation.

The days of having an event calendar filled with dates scheduled one or even two years in advance are long gone, as show organizers continue to find their footing in this time of change and Covid concern. The latest updates reveal new and different show formats, along with a few twists and turns as the industry looks ahead to 2021.

In the textile domain, Reed Exhibitions and Performance Days recently announced the postponement of Functional Fabric Fair Portland from November 18-19, 2020, to April 14-15, 2021, at the Oregon Convention Center. Additionally, Functional Fabric Fair New York, previously rescheduled from July 2020 to January 2021, will now move to July 19-20, 2021, at the Javits Center in New York City. These will be live, in-person events.

In the meantime, Functional Fabric Fair powered by Performance Days will remain digital, with this Fall’s offering of the FFF360 Connects online and the Expert Talks Live webinar series.

Texworld USA and Apparel Sourcing USA go a step further, introducing a new concept, new dates, a new name, and three ways to participate.

A Pop-Up Sourcing Showcase will bridge the gap between physical and virtual events, according to show organizer Messe Frankfurt North America. Along with earlier dates for the winter edition, Texworld and Apparel Sourcing USA are now Texworld New York City and Apparel Sourcing New York City. The virtual platform will take place January 12-14, 2021 along with the Pop-Up Sourcing Showcase that will join the traditional trade show floor presentation at the Javits Center.

The Pop-Up will be a dedicated area on the show floor featuring a curated display of fabrics and garments provided by mills not present at the event. Organizers explain that the Pop-up Sourcing Showcase is integrated with the Virtual Platform for an “interactive sourcing experience,” with visitors able to touch and feel the fabrics, in addition to communicating with exhibitors virtually.

On the denim front, the Transformers Foundation will virtually present a student/consumer-facing Denim Education Series featuring three days of content focused on supply chain, sustainability and design topics. The Series is scheduled for October 14-16 in collaboration with Ravensbourne University London.

Andrew Olah, founder of Transformers Foundation and Kingpins Show, explained that this October’s event expands the reach of two previous successful Transformers ED events, with a shift in timing to accommodate U.S. students and an extension from one to three days. “If we want to change the future of the denim industry, we must equip the young professionals entering the industry with the best information and insight,” stated Olah.

Like other industries, the outdoor industry has had it share of change and transition. Outdoor Retailer Summer Market became OR Online previewing in July with content available throughout August. Feedback from textile suppliers, of which only 11 exhibited, was muted, suggesting the show experience was more about community than commerce. (See August Textile Insight extra for details:

The biggest buzz in the outdoor space was around the debut of the Thin Air show. The much-hyped, high-tech virtual event geared for the outdoor crowd was originally scheduled for June but abruptly postponed citing societal cultural unrest reasons, and now comes news of another postponement due to internal disruption. According to reports, employees are still awaiting pay and there is little sponsor support. Thin Air’s future appears to be on thin ice.

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