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Terrorism fears hit footfall at Who's Next

Paris trade show Who’s Next suffered from lower-than-usual footfall this season as people stayed away following the Paris terror attacks last November, brands and buyers reported.

The autumn 16 edition of the predominantly womenswear trade show ran on January 22 to 25 at the Porte de Versailles.

Exhibitors and UK buyers told Drapers the halls were quiet, as many international buyers stayed away amid safety concerns.

Pamela Shiffer, owner of the eponymous London womenswear indie, said: “I don’t think I’ve ever been to such a quiet show in Paris. The stands are usually busy but a lot of buyers stayed away because they were scared.

“That being said the show’s team made every effort to make us feel secure.”

Hina Moss, founder of vintage-inspired label Kirei, which was exhibiting at Who’s Next for the first time, said: “We had a great reaction to the range and were asked by three separate  sales agents to represent us in Denmark, Italy and the UK. It was great for networking, but it was quiet otherwise.

“I think the terrorist attacks played a part as other brands who had been there previously they said it was a lot quieter this season.”

Boris Provost, director of brand strategy and international development at Who’s Next, said although there was a decline in footfall the show saw a “significant qualitative increase in VIP buyers.”

He said there was a drop in Asian attendees as the Japanese government advised citizens not to go to Europe, however a lot of big Japanese stores including as Tomorrowland, Baycrews and Isetan Mistukoshi attended.

Buyers from Liberty, Net-à-Porter, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Fenwick were also at the show.

Sharon Fraser, sales manager at young fashion brand Glamorous said the team wrote a “healthy amount” of orders over the four days and the buying manager for another brand said although footfall was quiet the buyers that attended were “good quality”.

“We wrote the number of orders we expected to on the stand and we made some great connections with bigger retailers so if those deals come off it will have been brilliant.”

Security at other European events, including menswear trade show Pitti Uomo in Florence on January 12 to 15, was heightened in the wake of the attacks in Paris last November, which left 130 people dead.

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