By ELLEN LEWIS
In the past 10 years, lingerie trade shows have become more and more critical to my market analysis. In a very limited time, I can touch and feel product and be exposed to new directions that will steer the lingerie industry in the near future. When I was a buyer the Apparel markets were much more robust, a large stable of brands in showrooms dedicated to their products. Satellite offices were planted in major urban locales and market reps were prevalent. As a buyer, trade expositions were secondary. I was in the market at least 2 days per week scoping new brands and working strategies with existing partners. Direct product research was the essence of my job, the backbone of merchandising.The inception of Curve in NYC in the mid 2000’s changed my trade show perspective. Here was a place where the brands were brought together into a central arena, a venue for exploration and discovery. Anchored by the French design houses, Curve enabled established and niche brands to expose their “stuff”. As the Lingerie industry consolidated and showrooms dissipated, the value of a central wholesale location increased. Just the networking appeal alone created a critical element to developing retail and brand partnerships. And then the social media explosion happened impacting every format of business. Sales got tougher, travel became more expensive and annoying. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook delivered a new model of sales. The appeal of shows was questioned.Despite this obvious challenge, Curve, a division of Eurovet, the largest Lingerie Trade Show proprietor in the world, has evolved positively since Raphael Camp began his stewardship as Eurovet Americas’ CEO in 2018. Energized by the considerable challenges mentioned above, his team has visibly changed the landscape of the show by delivering a more “experiential” (my new favorite buzz word) aspect to the event. Curve’s quest is to redirect the show’s character from the traditional trade show profile to a more educational and fun environment. Panels on sustainability and social media as well as interactive workshops styled to introduce buyers to brands are scheduled for Curve NY (2/2-2/4). For the first time, the lauded ‘Exposed’ Indie brand showcase, a Salon International de la Lingerie highlight, will debut along with a taste of the esteemed Interfilière fabric forum.Curve continues to garner attention in its quest to enable local lingerie businesses as it launches in Los Angeles from 2/23-2/24 at the Westdrift Manhattan Beach Hotel. This foray to the west coast was spawned by this untapped market where lifestyle differences open volume opportunities for brands already ensconced on the East Coast. Supporting small business owners is why the Curve brand is focused on more North American expansion. Stay tuned for additional market entries in 2020 including NY and LV in August, Montreal on Sept 13-14 and Interfiliere NY in October
“The Lingerie, Intimates and Swimwear Industries, perhaps more than any other apparel category, are constantly investing in innovation and fit”. Ralph Camp, Eurovet Americas’ CEO
How does a buyer assess these elements of a business on track to reach $19 billion+ by 2021? The access to touch, feel and explanation at a trade show like Curve is an investment in retail and wholesale success. From my perspective, it can’t be done solely from a computer screen.
See you at Curve!