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Busy weekend at Parisian trade shows Who’s Next and Premiere Classe

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris did not deter crowds of buyers at the French capital’s Who’s Next and Premiere Class trade shows this weekend.

Who's Next Premiere Classes spring 17

Who’s Next Premiere Classes spring 17

Who’s Next Premiere Classes spring 17

Running from 2-5 September alongside each other at the Porte de Versailles conference centre, organisers had stepped up security and bought in thorough checks at the joint show entrance.

The whole event got off to a slower start on Friday, with a quieter and calmer mood across the day. This picked up on Saturday through to a busier Sunday.

Buyers praised the shows for the generally strong offer of brands, with several remarking that they make the trip to Paris specifically to find new labels to stock, which the trade events successfully presented this season. One British buyer said Who’s Next and Premiere Classes are more worthwhile than the London trade shows as they are able to find unique brands that other UK stores won’t stock yet. Another commented on a more varied spread of brands, with some areas lacking the quality of brands compared with other areas.

Who’s Next, which is a large womenswear-focused show that includes over 600 brands from big French mainstream labels, contemporary names and brand new emerging talents, offered a good mix of both French and international labels. Many brands focused on a very summery boho style, with lots of resortwear and beachwear, which might not be as relevant for all UK buyers.

Similarly Premiere Classe, which hosts nearly 1,000 brands in one large hall, exhibits accessories, handbags and footwear that ranges from established brands to newer names.

Views from the shows:

Emma Anderson, contemporary buyer, Harvey Nichols

I’ve never been to Who’s Next before but was keen to come and see the offer. I’m here mainly looking for newness. Although there are a number of brands that we already work with there are some interesting brands too. It’s also valuable research for planning for the next season too and for looking for inspiration about the overall mood of the season. The show has a good atmosphere and is quite buzzy, but day one was quiet.

Debra McCann, founder of London indie The Mercantile

Who’s Next was great to see the brands not represented in the UK and to see the full ranges of those that we do write in showrooms. We picked up some newness. It was more about re-evaluation and tighter decision making process than finding lots of new brands to pick up. Premiere Classe was really lively and had a great atmosphere with a good curation of product. The quality of the brands was appropriate for the show, but I have seen with all of the shows a very mixed level of brands creeping in. There was also a lot of very beach-orientated brands and clothing which we can be into in a small way, but sadly we are not based in the South of France. I came along with a shopping list and mostly fulfilled it. I just need a few more items from the list!

Maggie Owen, founder of London indie Maggie Owen

There’s more energy this season and everything seems more condensed. I have visited this show for the last 15 years and placed orders every time, every season. I come here to find new things and visit existing brands. I always want newness though. There will always be one or two new brands that catch my eye here, so it’s worth it. It’s more worthwhile coming here that the London shows as you get new things here that other buyers won’t have, or you get them first.

Rahul Maroju, general manager at DC Brands International, showing LYDC London at both Who’s Next and Premiere Classe

It’s been a reasonable show. Who’s Next has been great for our clothing collection but Premiere Classe has been much quieter for the handbags. Everything is quite casual and comfortable here. That’s the style that all the buyers want, so those style brands do much better. We’ve seen lots of international buyers across both shows – we even had a buyer from Israel place a big order. I’m not sure if this needs to be four days. The first day was fairly dead, but it picked up on Saturday and Sunday has been the liveliest.

Matt Rowley, sales manager, Jayley at Who’s Next

Who’s Next is one of our key trade shows as it is properly international. We’ve picked up some good new accounts. And we see lots of our big accounts from across Europe. There are also lots of Irish and an increasing amount of UK stores here. The UK buyers want something different and this is the place to come for quirkier brands and something a bit different from their competitors.

Brexit has been brought up a lot. We are now cheaper for lots of buyers thanks to the exchange rate. It hasn’t put anyone off but there have been some uncertainty and lots of questions, which we can’t answer yet. Everyone knows about Brexit, even the Americans.

The terror attacks haven’t been a big topic of conversation. I don’t think it put any of our UK buyers off. They have really stepped up security too, which is reassuring.

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