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Informa Looks to Strength in Numbers for February Event

After more than half a year largely devoid of in-person trade shows, the fashion events business has begun testing the waters again.

Rather than holding individual conferences, it appears the industry is looking to return with co-located trade shows first. Five Italian events tested this model out in September, reportedly drawing more than 16,000 fashion insiders to their combined, four-day exhibition. In November, those same shows revealed they were doubling down on the set-up with a similar five-day event slated for March.

Informa Markets Fashion, the producer of Magic, Coterie, Project, Micam Americas and Sourcing at Magic, revealed Wednesday that it would be following suit with at least one of its shows. First introduced on Dec. 3, Magic Pop Up Orlando—described as a women’s and men’s apparel, accessories, and footwear event—will co-locate its inaugural run with two other fashion trade shows: Clarion Events’ Womenswear in Nevada and Tarsus Group’s Offprice.

Womenswear in Nevada focuses on women’s fashion and accessories, while Offprice serves the affordable apparel, accessories and footwear sector.

The three shows are scheduled to take place side by side at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 9-11. The venue, located 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport, is within walking distance of hotels, restaurants and retail, limiting the need for shuttles and other mass transit.

The collaboration “is an answer to the industry’s call for a much-needed comprehensive physical buying event in the first half of 2021,” Informa said. The aim, it added, “is to address the industry’s return to in-person experiences, with rigorous safety measures in place, while also driving greater commercial opportunities and business continuity for brands and buyers.”

“The importance of live trade shows and face-to-face meetings has never been greater than now,” Tricia Barglof, executive director of Tarsus Group’s Offprice division, said in a statement. “They are vital for fostering business, progressing industry, and bolstering economic growth. For this reason, we are very much looking forward to this first-time collaboration and bringing the entire fashion community together over the same time period. By joining forces on the same campus, we, as a fashion community, are stronger together.”

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Each of the three events will feature “considerate layouts” and appointment-driven networking, as well as limited- to no-contact registrations and early open hours for at-risk guests. Informa said the three events are approaching the event with rigorous implementation of protocols to ensure the highest levels of safety and hygiene.

“We realize that this is potentially the first time that our brands and buyers are coming together again and as such, safety and comfort are driving our strategic approach in event planning and execution,” Kelly Helfman, commercial president of Informa Markets Fashion, said in a statement. “We are focused on collectively agreed-upon measures that can be implemented across all of our shows, while also continually monitoring local and government recommendations.”

Informa said the event will be guided by Informa AllSecure, a detailed set of measures developed collaboratively with industry associations, event organizers and venues. Attendees can expect temperature screenings at entry, mask and physical distancing requirements and continuous sanitization and deep-cleaning measures across all shows.

“The health and safety of all those who participate is our utmost priority and the Orange County Convention Center provides the perfect venue to gather the market together, with a campus-like property and space to accommodate proper social distancing,” Desiree Hanson, executive vice president, Clarion Events, WWIN Shows, said in a statement.

Synergistically with Magic Pop Up Orlando, Informa Markets Fashion will return with a second edition of online events in partnership with B2B e-commerce platform NuOrder, giving brands and retailers more opportunities to connect digitally.

The digital lineup will launch with the men’s wear show Project Digital and footwear event Micam Americas Digital on Jan. 19, followed by Magic Digital on Feb. 1 and Coterie Digital on Feb. 16. Each online event will run for approximately one month. Sourcing at Magic Online, hosted through a separate, proprietary platform, will also return with its online event, running March 1 through May 1.

Shoptalk, meanwhile, revealed earlier this month that it had decided to cancel its March event. In its place, the organizer plans to hold three virtual events next year. Its annual event, it said, will return in March 2022, while the digital programming will continue as a permanent addition to its lineup.