- Don-Alvin Adegeest |
Sunday saw the opening of the Modefabriek in Amsterdam, a two-day tradeshow housing a mix of mostly denim and casualwear brands at the RAI exhibition centre.
Unlike the scenes at Pitti, where a ‘see and be seen’ atmosphere reigns, the vibe at Modefabriek is more relaxed. Perhaps because the show opens early Sunday morning – there were plenty of baristas serving espressos to kickstart the crowd– and the tropical weather outside brought a tangible boost to the spirit.
The first brand to catch my attention is Majem, a new rainwear brand designed in Amsterdam and manufactured in China from recycled polyester. They exhibit as part of the Curated Store by HTNK, which describes itself as platform for cutting edge designers. The soft pink mac version is a stand-out, and co-founder Anita tells me the brand picked up several stockists at their first tradeshow outing. I tell her the black coat reminds me of Darth Vader, but the navy trench looks like a surefire bestseller, a new colourway introduced for SS18.
There is a strong selection of international brands
I wander the aisles and am somewhat surprised to see so many international brands, including Champion, Rains, Colmar, Helly Hansen, Lui Jo, Repetto and Pierre Cardin, yet the show space is filled with an adhoc selection of companies, with womenswear appearing to be the biggest share. Of these, there were plenty of affordable fashion brands that likely appeal to the Dutch stores that don’t go abroad to buy collections.
I stop for a chat with Leonie from the mobile factory Spijkerbrij, who is sat behind a sewing machine and a pile of vintage denim fabric. She tells me there is a 20 percent surplus of unused denim in The Netherlands and that customers can easily recycle their old jeans into new products. She travels the country with her business partner Lois, where together they show the process of upcycling denim.
At Armedangels, an eco-fashion brand showcasing in the same space, their dedication to sustainability is boldly shown in big letters above their stand: "We work in the second dirtiest industry in the world." Armedangels aims to produce clothes using only organic materials and sustainable processes.
Next up a curated set of mannequins catch my eye at Van Gils. A DJ in the corner is spinning fine tunes and two branded Smeg fridges on either side are filled with drinks and bubbles. Van Gils’ CEO Harry van der Zee tells me being a Dutch heritage brand exhibiting at a Dutch show is important. Modefabriek represents an opportunity to showcase the brand’s direction as well as see clients and other industry notables. Even if the fair isn’t the place where orders get written per se.
Tradeshows are no longer a platform for just sales
And that is one of the challenges of tradeshows, which must offer brands a platform where buyers come to buy collections. Once upon a time stores would come with ample budgets in search of newness, but nowadays there is as much browsing and schmoozing as there is buying.
Fashion is all about relationships, even more so when it comes to working with local stores who are not buying the latest catwalk or trend collections. These boutique owners have copious choices in which brands to stock and Modefabriek offers a decent edit of brands for its market.
Photo credit: Modefabriek SS18, by FashionUnited