Fashion First is gathering pace!

10 September 2004

Recent weeks have seen frenetic activity, especially across Asia, where trade associations and individual companies have rushed to seize space at the debut edition of Europe's first event for competitively priced footwear and leathergoods. Michael Duck, director of APLF Ltd explains: 'Brussels is an opportunity that many have been waiting for: Direct access to the world's biggest single market, at a strategic location, right at the peak of the buying season - unthinkable before Fashion First. A wealth of industry leaders and trendsetters are making Brussels their launch pad into Europe. The highlights span from pavilions for Chinese regions like Zhejiang, to groups for footwear and leathergoods from Belgium, China, France, India, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey; from a showcase of Pakistani leather garments to Brazilian footwear. This truly cosmopolitan offering has already attracted many established exporters to Europe as well, like Pinnacle Overseas, Manovin International, Kente Design, Pacific Alliance, Vista International Corp, Himex, Meric Footwear, Ekster and Rusty Lopez, to name a few. There is also considerable interest from European distributors: Chauss'Europ and M&M Footwear have already confirmed their space requirements and even European manufacturers like Blue Star have joined. Now that the holidays in Europe are drawing to an end, we expect to be able to make further announcements very shortly.' Meanwhile, retail groups have echoed a resounding chorus of approval for an event that will bring new opportunities right to their doorstep. However, Fashion First is proving to be more than just a unique new source of product to drive European distribution and retail forward. Philippe Versluysen, project consultant, clarifies: 'European brands are also quickly waking-up to the advantages of working with highly skilled and competitive manufacturing partners, so that they can focus on core marketing and sales activities. No one can afford to overlook the remarkable resources and abilities of the world's most competitive manufacturers and suppliers, especially in such a price conscious market.' Fashion First, from January 31 until February 2, 2005, will bring unprecedented ranges of innovative and stylish footwear, leathergoods and leather garments, from these top industry players, to a crossroad at the heart of Europe, at the peak of the next buying season. As fashion buyers search for a better and more harmonious selection of product, greater accessibility and more efficient services, the fundamental reasoning behind Fashion First is being proven day by day. In a lively and professional setting, at Brussels Expo, buyers will experience real choice, value and convenience for the first time. Brussels has a uniquely cosmopolitan charm, welcoming hotels, fine dining and is the meeting point for decision makers, from all over the continent every day and Fashion First is fast becoming the new 'rendez-vous' for footwear, leather goods and leather garments in a Europe without borders. Recent weeks have also seen a flood of enquiries from widely ranging countries and organisations, like: buyers' delegations from Scandinavia; a delegation of European brand owners to study out-sourcing opportunities; scores of importers and distributors who are delighted by the show's timing and proximity and major branded goods manufacturers eager to learn about new production partners. Political bodies and trade associations have also been quick to understand the crucially important opportunities becoming available for their members. Fashion First has been widely publicised in the media and this autumn will be busier than ever, as the next stage of the direct marketing campaign gets underway, with special attention being paid towards importers, distributors, wholesalers, buying groups, specialist chain store groups, fashion retail groups, fast moving consumer goods retailers, mail order companies and specifiers for branded fashion goods. Michael Duck concludes: 'The ending of import quotas will undoubtedly accelerate the fundamental structural changes already underway in the footwear and leather goods industries. Fashion First will be the first major international event for manufacturers and suppliers in 2005, creating a new trading platform at the heart of a market, whose value is estimated to be in excess of 40 billion euros. But, Fashion First will be much more: A forum for discussion and learning, the chance to build alliances and to share synergies. We are in fact delighted to announce that Peter Mangione, president of Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, will be one of the guest speakers at our debut edition of Fashion First next January.' Extraordinary opportunities await the manufacturers and suppliers that can successfully focus on their key strengths and abilities, to offer the market the product it wants, at the right price, at the right time - at Fashion First, in Brussels, the heart of Europe. For fair details, please contact: Mr Khamsay Luangpraseuth, Project Manager, Fashion First, 17/F, China Resources Building, 26 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2827 6211; Fax: (852) 2827 7831; Email: [email protected]; Website: []

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