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First look: Copenhagen trade show CIFF's new approach

Danish trade show CIFF unvieled its latest concept Raven Projects, a rethinking of the traditional exhibition. But does it work?

Danish menswear trade show CIFF Raven, the smaller brother show to womenswear event CIFF, launched its latest addition Raven Projects at the spring 16 edition of the show, which started yesterday (August 5). Curated by John Skelton, the founder of London concept store LNCC, the new space brings together around 20 emerging menswear, accessories and lifestyle brands from around the world.

Interestingly, these brands are not exhibited in the traditional trade show booth setup. Instead, CIFF has merged the sales platform of classic exhibitions with what resembles an innovative retail environment, utilising interesting fixtures, such as high quality rails and design led fittings to create a feeling similar to that of stores such as LNCC in London and Colette in Paris.

Could this evolution be the future of trade shows? It was certainly refreshing to see brand’s showcased in a more inspirational and interesting way compared with the simple pared back rails and booths of the likes of Jacket Required and Scoop in London. And brands were certainly happy with the new concept, with one highlighting the fact that Raven Projects allows buyers to actually visualise what the product will look like in a store, and gives the clothes more of a chance to shine within a fresh, relaxed environment. In many ways, this makes buying much more like the pleasure of actual shopping.

However, while I did spot buyers perusing rails, looking through line sheets (and even trying on some items), footfall wasn’t hectic in these areas, and this is one reason it worked so well. I’m not sure how successfully it would translate for brands that might pull in more hectic crowds or if the spacious, edited approach would work for brands with much larger collections than those shown here.

The interesting space, inspirational use of fixtures and visual merchandising is lovely. The merging of a retail and buying environment is also a unique one, but will it work with a bustling surge of crowds or across all sorts of brand? Either way, I think I appauld CIFF for suggesting something new, so watch this space.

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