Trade and industry showed only restrained optimism at the close of the Herren-Mode-Woche/Inter-Jeans. The economically difficult environment meant that company business trends had a greater impact on the overall event than was the case in previous seasons. This restraint on the part of the trade and the new schedule of dates were cited as the main reasons for the 10 percent fall in visitor figures.
Altogether, 1,246 companies from 43 countries presented their collections for summer 2002 in Cologne. Some 60 percent of the suppliers came from abroad. Company business trends had a greater influence on this Herren-Mode-Woche/Inter-Jeans than in previous seasons. “The difficult situation in the trade was clearly visible at the trade fair. We are currently offering the right product and the right concept – which is why we are correspondingly successful”, commented one international jeans supplier. Other companies, in contrast, registered lower demand.
A total of around 36,000 visitors from 91 countries registered at Herren-Mode-Woche/Inter-Jeans, a drop of 10 percent on the figures for the previous trade fair. The foreign share remained stable at 38 percent. Statements from the companies indicated that the fall in visitors was mainly from the small and medium sized section of the trade, with the larger types of company being completely represented.
The Herren-Mode-Woche/Inter-Jeans took place on the second weekend in July for the first time at the express wish of the sector. Although July was seen as fundamentally the right month, the sector was in agreement that the summer dates for Cologne and D�sseldorf should also be close together once again. “We continue to believe that the dates are correct. However, in order to increase the location's attraction for international buyers and to extend Germany's pilot function for men's and women's fashions it would certainly make sense to coordinate the dates between Cologne and D�sseldorf”, commented a company spokesperson.
Exhibitors and visitors praised the fair's new structure and the promotion of its event-oriented character. “Fashion wants to be experienced. Events such as the Cologne Fashion Award open up completely new perspectives. It is important for the trade fair and the sector to receive recognition among the general public too”, confirmed an international journalist working for the trade press.
The new structure was evident right from the entrance areas to the trade fair halls. Trend islands erected by the German Men's Fashion Institute informed visitors about the different styles. The colours and content of the individual themes were also visibly reflected in the design of the halls and spatial areas. Also new were the Chill-Out Zones in Halls 10.1 and 14.1 as well as spacious lounges in Halls 14.2 and 13.1.
The Cologne Fashion Award, which was presented for the first time by K�lnMesse and the German Men's Fashion Institute, also got off to a wonderful start. On the eve of the Herren-Mode-Woche/Inter-Jeans, some 700 visitors from the worlds of fashion, show business and high society thoroughly enjoyed the catwalk shows of young designers in the historic banquet hall of the “K�lner Flora”. Four collections were presented to the jury, which was made up of well-known designers and personalities from the fashion scene. The prize, which is worth DM 10,000, was awarded to Ricardo Ramos, a 29-year-old designer from Barcelona.
Herren-Mode-Woche/Inter-Jeans also put on an unusual opening event in conjunction with the Museum for Applied Arts and the Siemens Cultural Program: the opening evening on Friday 13th July also signalled the start of the exhibition with the “Unwearable. Fashion as Sculpture” show. This is the first time an exhibition has concerned itself exclusively with the topic of fashion as sculpture. Some 950 guests from the worlds of art, fashion and the media took up the invitation to the vernissage.
A party mood really got everyone into the swing of things in Hall 10.1 on Saturday evening. Here, K�lnMesse and the specialized magazine Sportswear International presented the first-ever Inter-Jeans Club Night as a communication and party event. Around 1,000 guests enjoyed the music from international DJ�s. As part of the “Inter-Jeans Club Night” the “Inter-Jeans-Award” was presented for the first time. Italian jeans company SIXTY took the first prize thanks to its innovative work and its unusual trade fair presentation.
The current trends and styles in men's fashion summer 2002 were revealed by the fashion shows “Trend On Stage”, “Avantgarde on Stage”, “Street Vibes Show” and “Brands on Stage”. Additional information, trends and important basic information on the upcoming order phase were also offered by fashion journalist Peter Paul Polte's “Order-Info Herren-Mode-Woche/Inter-Jeans”.
Herren-Mode-Woche/Inter-Jeans also presented young Belgian designer Stijn Helsen as the guest of the International Designer Discussion. His current collection is dominated by straight lines and elegance and is daring only in the designs. Fine materials are the key foundation for his work. According to Helsen, fashion should express individuality, something which an increasing number of fashion-conscious consumers are demanding.
Clear contours, new colours and, above all, innovative materials will dominate men's fashion and the world of jeans in spring/summer 2002. Current collections are adding the retro-touch from the 1950s to the 1970s – but with different materials that use a new weaving technology and ever more sophisticated finishing. Pin-stripes are enjoying a major come-back, and denim is also causing a major stir. Even business suits, or at least the shirts accompanying them, are reminiscent of classic denim.
Volker De Cloedt
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