Men’s and dual-gender trade event PROJECT is reaching out to an international audience through a digital event that will enable companies to do business and forge new connections regardless of their location.
This year, PROJECT DIGITAL will take place from Sept. 1-Nov. 1, 2020 within a new digital format. Under the pillars of Shop, Discover and Learn, PROJECT is inviting attendees to browse and place orders, find new brands and gain industry knowledge over the course of eight weeks.
“During this time of COVID, we felt it was critical that we had a digital event to bring the community together on a global level,” said Lizette Chin, president, men’s fashion, PROJECT & MAGIC Men’s at Informa Markets Fashion. “The beauty of PROJECT DIGITAL is that there are no geographical boundaries, there are no time constraints.”
Earlier this year, Informa Markets Fashion entered a new deal with wholesale e-commerce platform NuORDER to create a digital extension of its apparel trade shows. When physical events became impossible due to coronavirus precautions, MAGIC along with its sister shows PROJECT, COTERIE, CHILDREN’S CLUB, MICAM Americas and SOURCING at MAGIC moved entirely online.
PROJECT and its community had to quickly pivot to the alternative show format. “Everyone’s really stepped up and we’re proud of our customers, retailers and internal team here for coming together and launching this new, exciting platform,” Chin said.
Powered by NuORDER, PROJECT’s digital marketplace translates the show experience to an online environment. Exhibitors will have a digital showroom that can include visuals such as 360-degree imagery, video and other content, as well as practical information such as line sheets and pricing.
As of press time, over 1,000 brands have signed on for the event, including Barbour, Nautica, Persol and Robert Graham. Meanwhile, more than 13,000 vetted retail buyers have registered to attend, representing retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Printemps, Urban Outfitters and Verishop. Both of these numbers are expected to consistently increase, as interest from both retailers and brands steadily continues to grow.
Buyers will be able to browse curated destinations including elevated fashion in The Tents, the finest of Italian fashion in Made in Italy, street-leisure in District, tailored clothing in MRKET and culturally-driven labels in PROJECT N:OW. Another feature from the physical show that is extending to the online platform is Denim Room, with confirmed brands including G-Star, Joe’s Jeans, Hudson Jeans and Mavi.
To engage attendees and spotlight its brand exhibitors, Informa Markets Fashion will create more than 300 pieces of content through the length of the event. These will include brand Q&As as well as shoppable trend stories, such as features on work-from-home style, Gen Z and diversity, which will showcase product from brands that reflect these topics. The organizers will also send out email campaigns to highlight exhibitors to buyers. “Our goal is to make sure that every single brand is promoted to the retailer, so that it drives traffic to their digital showroom page,” said Chin.
Rounding out the educational component of the show are media partnerships with brands including Highsnobiety, WGSN, Rivet and MR.
PROJECT is ready to return to a physical trade show when it can, taking the lessons of the digital event with it as it returns to a cross-channel format.
“The past six months have really accelerated the goal of having an omnichannel approach to your business,” said Chin. “Everyone knows this is the direction. I think now more than ever, people are missing live events, people are craving the interaction of a live event, so live events will never go away. Moving forward, that live event will be as robust as ever, and the digital platform will complement that.”