Over the last 20 years, Who’s Next and Premiere Classe have become the unmissable international trade shows for fashion and accessories respectively.
Visitors could discover and re-discover 700 multinational Pret-a-porter brands @ Who's Next and over 850 accessory brands @ Premiere Classe.
We met up with Aurélie Cardon-Baude, the representative agent based in Zurich who coordinates and ensures the well-being of the Swiss designers present at both fairs. She confirmed that "this year's edition welcomed more than 42 000 visitors, 10% increase compared to 2016".
Despite the rather Parisian weather, the numerous exhibitors and visitors lived by this edition's motto #positivecommunity. Aurélie stated that this year " the trade shows successfully managed to gather visitors and exhibitors around a fun, optimistic, and innovative atmosphere. Networking was at the heart of the trade shows."
Who's Next and Premiere Classe are much more that trade shows. They offered many additional services namely Fashion Solutions - providing immediate response to brands' concerns, Fashion Tech - showcasing latest tech solutions, Conferences and Club for VIP buyers.
What stroke me the most was the eclectic array of styles and origins: the selection went from young designers to well-established brands, and from Spanish urban labels to Korean craftsmen. This trade Show is truly International. Indeed, almost 40% of visitors were coming from other countries, with Italy first, followed by Spain, Belgium, Japan and the UK.
Aurélie, who previously worked for Maison&Objet assessed that both trade shows adapted to a new continuously evolving market the trend and enriched the offer to Lifestyle spaces.
The Swiss Delegation
As you can imagine, I was there to report on which Swiss brands were exhibiting. I put my journalist cap on and went on to interview our Helevetian friends.
Name: Bombay Birds
Trade Fair: Premiere Classe
Lipika, How and when did the story of Bombay Birds begin ? I moved to Switzerland in 2012 and I have always been a big fan of Indian artisanal craft and artwork. Whenever I was shopping in Switzerland, I realized that there were not many brands dedicated to handwoven pashmina, block print, or handmade jewellery art. I was convinced that Swiss people would be appreciative to my home country's craft. Looking at what a few Indian brands were selling in Switzerland, I quickly realized that either the colour palette did not necessarily suit the Swiss aesthetics (loud colour palette) or that the quality was not up to the Swiss standards. As a result and a lot of research in May 2014 I decided to create my own designs to bring to life these crafts and founded Bombay Birds.
Who are your typical clients? My customers are between 26 and 90 years old and appreciate fashion beyond the trends. They are not buying any polyester, nylon nor silicon. Choosing to express themselves with passion & poise. Conscious of quality and sustainability. All my designs are made of natural and biodegradable fabrics and sustainably produced. My clients contribute to preserve craftmenship and traditions and strongly believe in the concept of quality over quantity.
How was your experience at Premiere Classe? As an entrepreneur of a lifestyle brand, exhibiting for the first time at Premiere Classe in Paris, it was over all a good experience. The set was so easy. There were many buyers and we even have new clients in Spain and Italy. Next time I would like Bombay Birds to be placed more appropriately. I recommend young brands to go and visit the expo. One learns a lot about the market. It's the real business of fashion.
Name: FROTTEE DI MARE
Trade Fair: Who's Next
Nina, when did you found Frottee Di Mare ? It was last year, in 2016. Our first collection was revealed to the public in the summer.
How was the idea born to design these towels? I am an artist, I paint and draw. My partner is an architect, who already had some experience in product design. We were on holidays in Italy and he came to me saying "wouldn't it be nice to have your paintings on towels?". This idea came totally out of the blue. Then we started to research how my paintings could be transposed onto the fabric. The easiest would have been to print them but we were not interested in this method. As a result we had to find out how a jacquard machine works etc...Despite all modern technologies, the initial design is still handdrawn or handpainted, then it is digitalized for the factory and it is woven on both sides.
Who are your customers? People that are interested in design and art. Our customers like adding colours to their lives. We started with smaller towels for the bathroom and realized that there was a high demand for bigger sized towels to take along to the beach. In the summer of 2017 we launched our beach towel collection.
Trade Fair: Who's next
Maya, when did you found numberblue? This was in January 2016 after my family and I moved from Hamburg to Zurich. I had a lot of free time back then and I decided to dedicate it to my hobby: designing clothes. I took a Mode CAS course for 3 semesters to enhance my skills and learn more about fabrics and certain sewing technics. I attended the trade show in Berlin and now Who's next is really the occasion for me to bring numberblue to the next level. Part of my brand's strategy is also to enter the Swiss market, which could use a bit of my fantasy and love for colours.
Who is your typical client ? Feminine women from 30 years' old, who are self-condident and who dare. All the pieces of my collection are hand-made and I use a lot of silk, as a result the women wearing my clothes are highly councious of quality.
How was your experience at Who's next? I had a wonderful time in Paris especially since I lived there for more than two years. It was an exciting event and a big honour having attended. This is without a doubt "the place to be". I am very proud that one of my favourite dresses as well as a jacket were selected to be on stage at the trendsetter section!
Trade Fair: Premiere Classe
When did you found Steinkult? I founded Steinkult in 2009 after travelling to Sri-Lanka. I fell in love with precious and semi-precious stones and more particulary with sapphires and moon stones. At that time, I even thought of studying gemology but instead started to design and hand-make my own jewellery.
Who is your typical client? It is an international, cosmopolitan woman of all ages. She is open-mided and open-hearted because the design are inspired from many different cultures: african , tropical, and asian. Today my clients are based in Switzerland, Europe and East Asia. Steinkult's strategy is to gain even more visibility in Europe and then we'll see ....to the moon (laugh)
How was your experience at Premiere Classe? What I loved about Premiere Classe is the very international ambiance at the exhibition. Important buyers from numerous contries around the globe such as Australia and Japan -just to name a few- visit this prestigious exhibition every year in Paris. In addition, I have to confess that there are not enough words to describe the beauty and the charm of Paris: the capital of fashion. Last but not least : what helped me a lot as an exhibitor was the professionalism and good organisation of the Premiere Classe/Who’s Next team in Paris and of their Agent in Switzerland, Miss Aurelie Cardon Baude. They have done their utmost to ensure Steinkult’s first participation was successful. Thank you very much !
Trade Fair: Who's next
Becky, when did you found Swozzi? How did it all start? I have only had the brand for 12 to 18 months. I came up with the idea because I do a lot of sports myself and i travel a lot. I have a Swiss and Australian passport so I travel a lot between the two countries. I travel for triathlon and swimming events. As a result, I wanted to develop a product that I can train and compete in and also lie around a resort. This way I did not have to pack a hundred different pairs of swimwear. My swimwear becomes practical in the sense that I can mix and match the colours to the straps to the different tops and bottoms.
Who would be your typical customers? Anyone really, you do not need to look like a model, there is a cut and a shape for everyone. Because all my bathing suits have a UPF 50+ filter, there is a good echo from Singapore and Australia where people are extremely concious of skin cancer. My swimwear is also ultra chlorine resistant keeping it’s shape and compression even after over 100 hours. As a result a lot athletes and triathletes wear it. I actually have a few ambassadors in the Australian team, top athletes in Dubai and a few in Switzerland.
How was your experience at Who's Next? The expo was a wonderful experience, thanks Aurelie Cardon-baude for the invite. I was told not to expect much from my first expo in Paris, but rather to learn from the experience and get brand exposure. That I did! The bonus was that I had interest from shops in St.Tropez, Nice, and other places on the south of France, Venice, Malta, Hamburg, Geneva, Dubai, Ivory Coast, Paris. Also had interest from distributors in France, Germany & Switzerland. In addition, a buyer from the department store Galeries Lafayette also liked my products. Another funny experience was an agent from Playboy europe magazine asked if Swozzi would be interested in collaborating with them. They want to change the image of playboy and have also sporting swimwear and articles.
You are a designer and you want to learn more about Who's Next or Premiere Classe in Paris, contact Aurélie. She is based in Zurich and is the dedicated contact for Switzerland: