Translated by
Nicola Mira
Feb 18, 2019
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Copenhagen fashion shows CIFF, Revolver, relying on international visitors to thrive

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Feb 18, 2019

European fashion trade shows are all currently facing the same challenges, brought about by local changes in fashion retail and, especially, the shrinking of the traditional multibrand channel. Denmark’s capital Copenhagen too is affected by this phenomenon, and its main fashion show, CIFF, is now aiming to broaden the horizons of its appeal. CIFF’s latest edition, held from January 30 to February 1, confirmed the show’s growing success with visitors from outside Scandinavia, though it recorded a slight decrease in overall attendance.

Along the aisles of the CIFF show at Copenhagen’s Bella Center, end of January 2019 - FashionNetwork.com

Altogether, approximately 17,000 visitors browsed through CIFF’s various sections and the just over 1,200 exhibitors they showcased, marking a 4% decrease in visitor numbers compared to the January 2018 edition. The childrenswear show next door, currently revamping its positioning and look under the new name CIFF Youth, posted instead a stable number of visitors, up by 0.18%.

By and large, exhibitors acknowledged the fact that visitors came from different sectors, and that the international contingent among them has increased. In this edition of CIFF, a remarkable 72% of visitors still came from Scandinavia, but the quality of international visitors and of the stores they represented was something worth underlying. “Attendance is increasingly international, our agents now come to the show from all over Europe to meet buyers,” said the sales team for Danish womenswear label Nümph, adding that “outside Scandinavia, we had visitors from Switzerland, the UK and even Japan and Canada.”

At Italian label Oof, while the decrease in footfall was perceived, the accent was on the range of buyers. “It was still a good show, pity it was pretty quiet at times, but we met interesting buyers, from Korea, Lebanon or Canada for example, something that surprised us,” said a member of the commercial team.

Scandinavian countries aside, the largest contingent of CIFF visitors came from Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, but also buyers from more far-flung countries are beginning to show an interest.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of top-tier buyers. It's all a question of balance, between having simply a large number of buyers, and having good buyers. Buyers who actually place orders. In the end, it's the purchasing volume that counts. It’s always open to debate, and we can make comparisons with the shows’ most successful years. I’d be very happy, of course, if we could grow the number of visitors, we love the shows to be buzzing, but what's more important nowadays is the quality of the attendance,” said CIFF Director Kristian Andersen to FashionNetwork.com, emphasising the need to broaden the show’s international appeal, seeing the difficulties Scandinavian multibrand retailers are faced with.

For this reason, CIFF has decided to target a wider community, beginning with boosting its international visibility by organising future events outside its domestic market, first of all in Paris, and then possibly in the UK and the USA.

CIFF’s local competitor, the Revolver show - though a smaller event, with about 300 exhibitors - is adopting a similar approach, and is targeting Italy. After staging a partner event with Milan’s White show, it unveiled a new format within the Pitti show in Florence last year. Revolver was also held in Copenhagen from January 30 to February 1, and it too was attended by a more balanced mix of visitors between Scandinavian and overseas ones. French label Hartford, which exhibited at Revolver for the first time, notably underlined “the pleasant surprise of an attendance that wasn’t from Scandinavia alone,” having made new contacts with buyers from Turkey, the USA, the UK and Canada.

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