For more than half of the fashion industry’s global purchasing managers, sustainability is one of the most important aspects in their future business strategy. Fashion buyers these days have a significantly larger array of sustainable clothing to choose from. And there has recently been a five-fold increase of this offer every year, proving that sustainability has also well and truly arrived in the conventional retail sector.
This sustainable development won’t be halted by the ongoing global health and economic crisis. On the contrary, all over the world people are experiencing moments of reflection and mindfulness in these times of uncertainty, which could further fuel the responsible fashion movement.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has brought the biggest disruption to public life of recent decades. But despite the shadows the coronavirus is casting, the pandemic should also be seen as an opportunity to consider important values. In our specific case, we are contemplating the solidarity between manufacturers and consumers, as well as climate protection and sustainability. There is no doubt about the huge potential of the sustainability community. Let’s hope that it will emerge from this ongoing storm stronger than ever.
To help companies avoid revenue slumps and ensure that business can continue successfully and fairly once normality resumes, trade show organizer Messe Frankfurt is supporting the #fairfashionsolidarity initiative. Co-founded by two of Messe Frankfurt’s sustainable brand exhibitors and two likeminded retailers, the project outlines actions that players—including consumers—can take to maintain the sustainable momentum in the industry and preserve the existence of eco-friendly stores and brands.
“The virus and its fallout will have a long-lasting impact on our economy and society,” said Olaf Schmidt, vice president of textiles and textile technologies at Messe Frankfurt. “It is, of course, hitting small- and medium-sized businesses with fewer financial reserves particularly hard, and we hope that none of our exhibitors get left behind during these challenging times.”
In January 2020, Messe Frankfurt’s Neonyt fair in Berlin showcased more than 210 sustainable fashion brands from 22 countries—the largest number of eco-friendly fashion labels that the global hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation has ever brought together. For the upcoming summer 2020 edition of the show that was scheduled for June 30-July 2, Messe Frankfurt had been planning on significantly expanding the exhibition space by an additional hangar at the former Berlin Tempelhof Airport.
Due to the ongoing difficult global situation regarding COVID-19 and the current decision of the German government to ban all major events until the end of August 2020, we currently have no other option than to cancel this year’s summer edition of Neonyt in its current form. However, we are still examining the possibility of scheduling the event for late summer. In addition, we are already taking many other approaches to adapting the trade fair concept to this special situation, including initial considerations of a virtual event with various formats.
“We are continuing to work closely with other market participants and the responsible authorities in Berlin,” Schmidt said. “Our aim is to offer industry participants a safe, upbeat and forward-looking setting as a valuable incentive for doing business once the dust settles. We are therefore making every effort to create a business platform in the second half of the year—in whatever form and on whatever date—and we will be keeping everyone well informed of our further plans in good time.”
In the meantime, the fair is keeping its audience engaged during social distancing with a stream of interviews, videos and podcasts featuring members of the sustainable fashion community and asks for solidarity in the fair fashion industry.
Click here for more information and updates about Neonyt.