While the coronavirus has put a damper on in-person trade events for the past two years, an online B2B fashion company is branching out to an old-fashioned concept: a trade show with people getting together with people.
FashionGo, an online B2B fashion marketplace based in Los Angeles since 2002, announced it will be debuting its first wholesale in-person trade event in Palm Springs, Calif., this May with plans to organize similar events later in New York and other locations. A second Palm Springs show will be held July 26-28. A FashionGo Week New York will be held Nov. 5-7 at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Pavilion.
To help organize the May 3-5 show, FG Events was formed last year to set up FashionGoWeek Palm Springs. FG Events is led by veteran trade-show organizers Tom Nastos and Scott Chowan, known for their years of working with ENK International, the organizer of Coterie, Intermezzo Collections and other shows, as well as with Magic, Project and FN Platform.
The show at the Palm Springs Convention Center will let businesses participate in live events with digital tools, connecting the in-person and online wholesale worlds. “Together we are focused on building a premier portfolio of specialty events, offering new opportunities and solutions that are just right for all of our customers,” Nastos said in a statement.
Events will cater to both digital and on-site attendees. The organizers plan to host a number of seminars with industry leaders to discuss what is driving the industry forward and how executives can optimize their business.
FashionGo Week will run online at the same time on FashionGo. “We will be streaming live from Palm Springs to showcase some of the industry’s favorites and up and coming exhibiting brands,” Nastos told SJ over email.
The first FashionGo Palm Springs show is expected to offer 250 to 300 brands in women’s apparel, accessories and footwear.
Palm Springs is an historic location to rev up a trade show during these pandemic times. Before Magic moved its behemoth fashion trade shows to Las Vegas, it started as a humble menswear trade show in Palm Springs in 1942. That show called Roundup was the predecessor to the Apparel Guild in California. That show quickly grew, moving to Los Angeles before leaving for Las Vegas.
The FashionGo organizers still believe in the importance of in-person events. “The industry goes to market in different ways and FashionGo has a responsibility to continue to support the businesses that rely on that platform for their success,” Nastos noted. “Checking out products in person stands to be still one of the best ways that retailers make purchasing decisions as well as relationships.”
Historically, Nastos said, few tech or online companies have dived into physical events.
In-person trade shows have taken a hit since 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic began. Magic and an array of apparel and accessories shows canceled their in-person events in August 2020 and February 2021, resorting to online shows. But the events were back in August 2021 and will be held again Feb. 13-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and other locations.
With many people hesitant to travel during the pandemic, market observers have noticed that trade shows are becoming more regional.