Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the trade show industry has been grappling with balancing the simultaneous demand for in-person events and safety.
Trade show organizer Messe Frankfurt is delivering on these needs with its upcoming Winter 2021 Texworld show in New York. When the show returns on Jan. 12-14, it will be debuting a new physical-meets-digital experience that allows for tactile and online product exploration with both face-to-face networking and virtual interactions.
“Understanding the shift in the market is only half the battle in serving the textile sourcing community. The other half is doing something about it,” said Jennifer Bacon, show director for Texworld New York City. “Our shows have evolved tremendously since their inception. Throughout numerous crises, we have consistently adapted to ensure that we offer an unparalleled platform to keep the market connected.”
Responding to travel bans, the show is being designed with a heightened focus on regional buyers from the tri-state area, which is currently exempt from New York’s quarantine requirements. Buyers are welcome from other locations for the January edition, but they will need to adhere to restrictions in place at the time of the show.
As part of this localized push, Messe Frankfurt is rolling out new branding. Texworld USA is now Texworld New York City, and Apparel Sourcing USA has similarly been renamed Apparel Sourcing New York City. The domestic sourcing platform within the show, Local Loft, is also being rebranded as Local Sourcing.
Texworld NYC has typically been focused on giving a domestic audience the opportunity to source from global suppliers. But because of travel limits, Messe Frankfurt is expecting that most or all international exhibitors won’t be able to show in person in January.
As a solution for mills that cannot travel to New York, Texworld is debuting a new Pop-Up Sourcing Showcase concept that will enable them to ship product for display at the Javits Center. This area of the show floor will be curated by New York-based trend agency The Doneger Group. Attendees will have guided access to on-site textile experts as they explore the fabrics. All of the products will include QR codes, which buyers can scan to easily connect with mills via the show’s virtual platform. Using personal devices or show-provided tablets and computers, attendees can chat live with suppliers in the networking lounge or set up an online meeting.
“We are excited to introduce our latest concept, the Pop-Up Sourcing Showcase,” Bacon said. “We recognize that the current environment is volatile and may hinder travel. For this reason, we developed a method to highlight our local manufacturers while still allowing our international suppliers the opportunity to reach key buyers. This approach is just a step in moving our vision forward as we continue to reimagine our events.”
To meet safety guidelines and social distancing requirements, capacity at the venue will be kept to one person per 28 square feet.
Building on the successful digital Texworld USA event held in July, the January edition of Texworld NYC will also have a virtual platform for companies that cannot attend the physical show. Participants can take advantage of artificial intelligence-powered networking and chat via text or video with contacts.
The show will take a multichannel approach to its education platform, with some sessions held solely online or in person. Texworld’s core educational content, including the Lenzing Seminar Series, Textile Talks and the Texworld Trend, will also be recorded and accessible to the virtual audience.
Texworld NYC’s localization move is aimed at navigating Covid-era restrictions, but this also comes as companies are ramping up their domestic sourcing. In a McKinsey survey conducted with Sourcing Journal earlier this year, 46 percent of fashion sourcing executives said they expect the nearshoring trend to rise.
“Fashiondex is thrilled to continue the partnership with Texworld New York City for the upcoming Winter 2021 edition in response to the increasing demand for Made in USA products,” said Andrea Kennedy, founder of Fashiondex. “Sourcing locally will not only result in positive social impact by providing jobs to our community, it also improves the sourcing brands’ environmental impact as merchandise travels a much shorter distance.
“As local sourcing becomes more important than ever, the Texworld New York City Local Sourcing pavilion (formerly known as Local Loft) will help buyers find new and innovative U.S.-based suppliers, manufacturers and stock houses,” she added.