Saturday, February 20, 2010


Fashion Trade Show Boosts Attendance Without Increasing Footprint

*Lauren Bagliore Cocoon Coat

When looking for ways to grow and evolve the boutique fashion presentation called the Train, show manager Muriel Piaser doesn't look to add square footage, but instead tries to retain its intimacy while appealing to more attendees. The Train New York—La Federation Francaise du Pret a Porter's spin-off of its Pret a Porter expo in Paris, France—opened its 11th season on Saturday, bringing more than 150 European and U.S. designers to the Waterfront for a three-day showcase. And for this iteration, Piaser's introduction of a section for Nordic designers and partnership with online fashion database Brand Orders helped attract about 4,000 buyers, 2,000 of which were new to the show.

"We wanted the show to be intimate and comfortable and more like a showroom than a big trade show. It's very much like what we do in Paris and I think that that's important to buyers—to keep the ambiance while offering new designers, a good selection, and emerging markets like Norway, Finland, and Sweden," said Piaser of the choice to limit the Train's physical footprint. "We decided to promote Brand Orders, which is a virtual showroom for brands, because we can't just focus on the three days we have. It's too short, so I think partnering with the company and linking with the Internet allows buyers more freedom."

This new online component provided an easily accessible tool for buyers to browse collections from exhibitors and place orders immediately, which Piaser said helped extend the Train's influence beyond its run.

—Anna Sekula