This week, Informa Markets Fashion hosted its first in-person trade event since early 2020, bringing together fashion brands and retailers for its Magic Orlando pop-up show.
The three-day event was held Feb. 9-11, and several of the footwear brands that participated gave positive reviews to FN.
Chinese Laundry’s national sales manager, Dale Michaelson, said he was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. “We met a lot of new retailers,” he told FN. “There were a lot of Midwest customers and a lot of local Floridians. Florida is a tough state for travel, so a lot of people were happy to have a show close by to go to.”
Dan Butler, national sales manager with Lines of Denmark, exhibited several footwear lines at the pop-up, including Ilse Jacobsen, Rollie, Bird of Flight and Calou. He also told FN that the event introduced his brands to a different group of retailers. “It’s trending a bit younger than our previous shows in Las Vegas,” he said.
Similarly, Lance DeShazo, who is spearheading the return of the Tamaris brand to the U.S., also found the show to be beneficial. “Traffic was steady,” he said. “The response to Tamaris has been strong, and I have opened new accounts.”
DeShazo noted he’s also taking advantage of the digital showroom platform provided by Informa Markets Fashion and NuOrder, and setting up virtual appointments with retailers who did not attend the in-person event.
The Orlando pop-up event, first announced by Informa in December, focused on the contemporary fashion category and featured a curated list of vendors presenting women’s apparel, footwear and accessories, as well as a small selection of men’s merchandise.
To ensure the safety of attendees, the pop-up had a limited capacity and emphasized scheduled appointments. Informa also established a protocol dubbed Informa AllSecure, developed in collaboration with industry associations and incorporating advice from health care and government agencies. Attendees underwent temperature screenings at entry and were required to wear masks and social distance at the show.
Kelly Helfman, commercial president of Informa Markets Fashion, said in a statement in December, “The safety and wellbeing of our guests is at the forefront of our in-person event planning.”
Chinese Laundry’s Michaelson said that headed into the show, he was apprehensive about COVID-19, but found that the safety protocols at the pop-up were strictly enforced — perhaps too much so.
“When the show ended at night, they immediately shut the lights off and the security guards ask you to leave [so they can start cleaning], but we were still working with clients,” he said. “We just kept writing orders in the dark.”