trade shows

raspberry plum

Paul & Paula attends many fairs during the year.

To meet people from the industry, discover new trends and brands and most of all to mingle with the industry. We like to share our finds and must haves!

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How I grew in 2020 with Darshana Salvisberg

Darshana Salvisberg
In the second part of this mew series I am talking to Darshana Salvisberg. Darshana is the founder of Atelier ParsMei. An eco-friendly, boutique feeling children’s brand that dresses mums as well.

A brand that offers convertible, classic contemporary design. The label is very conscious when it comes to their sustainable footprint and ensures that every aspect of production is transparent – respecting both the planet and its inhabitants.

I had the pleasure to meet Darshana in Florence during Pitti Bimbo twice and I am so happy to catch up with her here today. And hopefully in person very soon again too. She is a truly inspiring person that brings a lot of passion with her.

Let’s hear how she did over the last months:

Paul & Paula: How did 2020 start for you? And what were your original business plans for this year?
Darshana: The beginning of 2020 was already hectic for us as a family as we moved back to Switzerland from Dubai. The exciting part was the launch of Atelier Parsmei’s first ever Spring Summer 2020 collection online. The not so exciting part was the decision for my husband and I to separate. Followed by news of a pandemic taking over the world, and the ensuing lockdown as a shock for everybody.

And then it was March! How has your business been affected by the coronavirus?
We saw closure of small boutiques, cancellation of orders, cancellations of the 2 largest children’s wear trade expositions. Due to the lockdown and Covid-19 cases, we experienced huge delays with our factories. Both with respect to the development of our Spring Summer 2021 collection as well as the production of Autumn Winter 2020 collection and the delays continuing to date.

And is your business model resilient enough to recover from the impact of a crisis and manage potential crises in the future? Meaning, have you been able to lay the groundwork for recovery or are you still ‘just’ reacting?
The good thing about us being a sustainable brand is that we do not produce big quantities. We do not like to hold stock, which meant that with a small production, we were on the safe side as we did not take a big financial risk. We also had the flexibility to manage production volume which helped us deal with changes in wholesale orders.
As a new brand, we were, however, not able to attend the kids wear fairs Playtime Paris and Pitti Bimbo. And for us, they are great platforms to make our brand aware to the global buyers.
That said, we do not see the fairs happening anytime this Winter, therefore our challenge remains the ability for us to present our products to our buyers virtually.

I am sure the pandemic is a big learning curve for all of us. What was the biggest take away for you as a business owner so far?
I think that as a new start up, we have to adapt very fast to changes and also accept that things can happen in a different order than the one we have in our mind.

How do you do to stay optimistic?
Absolutely. Sometimes when we are in a dark phase, we think that we have been buried. But actually we have just been planted.

And what is the hardest part of this pandemic for you?
Restrictions with respect to how we live our lives. It has been hard to accept a reduced level of freedom in many aspects. And especially the inability to see people we love due to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Powerlessness vis a vis the viral ravage.

What kind of business opportunities happened over the last months?
We were so happy that Playtime offered their online showroom service. Despite the cancellation of the fairs, we had a number of buyers from around the world showing interest in Atelier Parsmei and contacting us. We have also started working with a sales agent in China and we are very optimistic about Atelier Parsmei’s future.

Has your relation with your local community changed since March?
Not really.

What is the feedback from your clients/ customers?
Our clients like our niche products, the quality we offer and the stories behind each of our collections. They are excited to see how we evolve as a brand.

Last question: What is the first thing that comes into your mind when I say ‘2021’?
New beginnings!

Thank you Darshana, wishing you all the best of luck in 2021.

 

Read the interview with Chloe Bowers

Photo: Darshana Salvisberg private
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How I grew in 2020 with Chloe Bowers

chloe bowers

Every now and then I am missing the blog series that I used to do. Interviews with inspiring people, breakfasts from around the world or sharing favourite children’s books from people in the kids industry.

And then I generally miss the sharing and supporting part of what blogging used to be in the very beginning. Therefore I decided to invite some lovely women to share their 2020 story.

Since it has been a very different year to what everyone had in mind, it changed and challenged us. And especially when running our own company. What were the main pain points and what did we learn over the last months…

My first guest is the delightful Chloe who runs her own PR agency and lives very close to me here in West London. Her clients include the gorgeous Little Cotton Clothes amongst others.

Lets see how 2020 went for Chloe so far, her learnings and wishes for the next year:

P&P:How did 2020 start for you? And what were your original business plans for this year?
Chloe: 2020 started with alot of excitement, I was looking forward to focusing more on my business and being able to take on some new clients. With my youngest daughter due to start full time at school in March, I was excited to have more time and freedom. Then lockdown happened, no school, no nursery – hello homeschooling!

And is your business model resilient enough to recover from the impact of a crisis and manage potential crises in the future? Meaning, have you been able to lay the groundwork for recovery or are you still ‘just’ reacting?
Being a consultant I can be flexible with the business. So thankfully I was able to continue as normal work wise but having to think a bit more outside of the box.

I am sure the pandemic is a big learning curve for all of us. What was the biggest take away for you as a business owner so far?
The brands that I represent have a really strong online presence so it was even more important for me to really shout about it during this year. They have great collections and incredibly strong imagery which was key during this time. With editors and stylists not being able to shoot any of their own stories during the long lockdown so many press were relying on brand imagery. This is something I would now always recommend to brands – that you can never have enough strong images.

What do you do to stay optimistic?
Plan things to look forward to within a short time-frame so it’s never far out of reach. Try to see things through the eyes of my children.

And what is the hardest part of this pandemic for you?
Losing the ‘normal’ of everyday life.

What kind of business opportunities happened over the last months?
I have continued to secure some really great coverage for the brands that I represent.
It’s been trickier to build new business relationships this year. Because I am not able to go out and meet people, but it’s been a good time to look forward, research and make plans for the future.

Has your relation with your local community changed since March?
I value all the independent stores, cafes and restaurants more than ever.

What is the feedback from your clients/ customers?
This year has been so different for everyone but the common thread is businesses and brands have had to react quickly. And work in new ways which perhaps they didn’t think were possible before.

Last question: What is the first thing that comes into your mind when I say ‘2021’?
Hope and excitement.
I want to celebrate so many missed birthdays and special occasions with family and friends, hug each other and have a good dance.

Thank you very much Chloe. Wishing you a dashing 2021!

 

Image: Chloe Bowers private
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My big Pitti Bimbo 90 recap!

Pitti Bimbo 90
Children’s fashion is going through a demanding process of which we are all aware. This means that things are a bit slow, some markets are suffering, and overall we are missing diversity. The situation is not new and when going to a fair I am especially looking forward to seeing how everyone is dealing with it.

Therefore it was great to see, again, a very strong international attendance on both sides of the market – exhibitors and buyers. An attendance that values the efforts Pitti Bimbo makes in terms of research, collaborations, shows, innovation, and creativity. The general look of the fair, for example, was my favourite to date. I absolutely loved the colourful and very inspiring installation you can see in the first photo.

A great resume is something Christina Rohde said: “It is a really unique opportunity for visibility. And the atmosphere was very pleasant, very friendly, a bit like a festival. This is the first time I felt that the children’s wear industry was being taken seriously. The visitors were true members of the trade, well-prepared, and this is an aspect that is often missing at other fairs. The brands and the event itself make the rendezvous interesting for clients: as soon as you go in, you understand the great effort that has been put into making the atmosphere so incredible, from the colours to the design to the energy, it’s all really exciting.”

Over 550 brands exhibited but with the different pavilions that each follow a topic like sport, street, or elegant it is very easy to get around and to stay inspired. And the number of buyers almost reached 5,900, from almost 80 foreign countries. With an overall number of visitors of 10,000.

Pitti Bimbo 90

Pitti Bimbo 90

And yes, the atmosphere was excellent, very positive and uplifting. Which I found so important because it is easy to look at all the difficulties and to focus on everything that is not going well right now. Together with the catwalk shows, the pop-ups, and the presentations, that were all very upbeat, we were thrown into a fun mood for the whole season.  Filled with colour and energy!

Trends

1970s Hippie and retro inspiration with more deep colours and especially purple and green combinations! (a little too much for my taste especially it was around a lot). All over, and again, there was and is a lot of things we have seen already. And not just stuff that was cool 30 years back and is here again. No, things that keep hanging around season to season.

Basically – it is difficult to talk trends. Brands are playing safe and even the stronger ones with good fashion collections are missing a bit the special detail. The piece that makes your fashion heart beat a bit faster or that you absolutely want to work within a shoot for example. This is what is missing for me right now.

So what else did I see a lot and that stood out a little? Tartan fabrics, jacquard knitwear, and athleisure is still big and going nowhere. Everyone is doing sneakers, suits are more sporty than tailored, and accessories are beanies instead of glam scarves.

So basically, if you have a couple of children (like I do) – they wear older siblings stuff and look like out of an S/S 2020 lookbook… which leads me to my next topic…

Pitti Bimbo 90

Sustainability

Mentioned as a trend by many but personally, I think eco-sustainability is no longer that but an actual reality. And rightfully so! However, it was a big topic during Pitti Bimbo 90 and incorporated into shows, exhibits, and presentations. And of course, the brands are more and more sensitive towards protecting the planet. From the materials used to the graphics, and the communication.

Now, what I found surprising was that I thought we are well passed the moment of awareness. And I wondered why I am seeing, again, so many pieces that just lacked a sense of fashion. Pieces that were foremost sustainable and yet very plain, simple, and ‘pure’. Should we not show the world, the parents, and our children that sustainable can be chic, fun, and cool? Are we not steps ahead of beige, brown, and hemp fabrics?

Nonetheless, it is very encouraging to see how brands approach sustainable practices. Now we need to communicate to the consumers.  Because they have the power to change things through their purchases and to be a role model for their children.

Personally, I find the whole progress very interesting and inspiring. All the possibilities, research, and progress is fantastic. There are so many ideas on how to be more kind to our planet. Shame we did not start earlier but at least we are on it now…

Would you be interested in an article to highlight fashion brands that are really at the forefront of sustainability? Let me know!

Images 1&2: AKAstudio – collective
Image 3: Eeva Suutari
Image 4: Giovanni Giannoni
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Pitti Bimbo 90

Pitti Bimbo 90

Tickets are booked, a bed will will be made for me and than it is time to join Pitti Bimbo – the kids fashion fair held twice yearly in Florence, Italy. And they are celebrating its 90th edition from 16 to 18 January 2020. Which means that this incredible fair has now been running for 45 years!

The theme of the Pitti Bimbo winter fair is ‘Show your flags‘ and they will celebrate an important landmark with new creative installations, an attentive selection of brands, international collaborations and a calendar of not-to-be-missed fashion shows and exhibitions. Moreover, for 45 years it has been the epicenter of kids lifestyle. What started with the wardrobe, has expanded to lifestyle and accessories in a world that has managed to engage the entire family. Again, an extraordinary international portfolio ranging from designer labels to small experimental brands will await us for three days in January.

And what about the flags?
A rectangle of material, an inlay of lines, colours, and designs. A flag is never a silent fabric, it always has something to say; it consistently arouses emotions because it speaks in universal messages. It is expressive, enthusiastic, insolent. And it flutters, falls, is lowered, raised, carried and folded. Flags are beautiful geometrical compositions; they give pleasure to the people who see them flying. And Pitti is like the United Nations of Fashion where every brand has its own flag, but also where each one of us can become our own flag.

What’s the new?

The Top Floor of the Central Pavilion is home to THE KID’S LAB! A whole 3,000 sqm of innovative venues including KidzFIZZ, Ecoethic, The Nest and Kid’s Evolution.

One of the highlights of the 90th edition will be a prototype of  the Concept Store of the future. In collaboration with Cilab and The Playful Living which focuses on the effects of digital transformation in the retail world.

The new kids’ collection by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac for United Colors of Benetton makes its debut at the Teatrino Lorenese, within the colorful, playful and lively world of “65 Benetton Street”.

US magazine Hooligans will celebrate its 5th anniversary with an exhibition about the 5 senses. All to be seen, smelled, heard, tasted and touched, on the Top Floor of the Central Pavilion.

What else during Pitti Bimbo 90?

Two Pitti Immagine special runway shows present sophisticated collections from the Apartment section and the innovative creativity of KidzFIZZ. The labels of Children’s Fashion from Spain will also hit the runway.

The historic French children’s fashion house Petit Bateau and the online platform Treedom present a new environmentally and socially sustainable project: the planting of a tree with each purchase of a new birth kit in organic cotton

The not-to-be-missed runway show of Monnalisa returns. The Tuscan brand, a leader in premium childrenswear, will present their new collection with a charming fashion show at the Stazione Leopolda, on January 16.

The photographer James Mollison will present photographs of school yards from all over the world, exploring different environments and children’s play dynamics. Within Sport Generation in the Padiglione Cavaniglia.

 

Pitti Bimbo 90

Pitti Bimbo 90

Some figures: We will see 543 collections and more than 6.400 buyers are expected. And a total of about 10.000 visitors.

How about you? Will you be there? Let me know! First Christmas and then I will get excited about discovering all the new collections, the shows, catching up with people, and talking about children’s fashion all day long! A passion is a passion.

And of course my friend Dimitra will be there with her selection at The Nest. When small is beautiful and among the brands at this edition are: Atelier Parsmei, Jellymade, Mimookids, Mimù, Minì&Made, Naoia, Tiny Tots Barcelona, Weekend House Kids, Wool in Love, and Yay.

Pitti Bimbo
FORTEZZA DA BASSO
Viale Filippo Strozzi 1 – Florence
16 – 18 January 2020
every day 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
last day 9.00 am – 4.00 pm

 

Images: AKAstudio – collective
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What happened at Pitti Bimbo 89 this summer?

Pitti Bimbo 89

This time I will not let you wait as long as I did for the Winter edition and share my finds, experience, and news from Pitti Bimbo that took place mid-June today.

Based in Florence, Italy keeps its spot to be the best trade show in the kids’ fashion universe.  To sum up, the headquarters of kids’ fashion and lifestyle attracted approximately 10,000 visitors – again!

And this summer edition was packed with events, shows, and special projects as never before. From innovative projects on research to the latest ideas from the big brands, smaller independent designers or parties. So a lot was going on (and I have to admit that it was not always easy to keep track for me) but everything I saw was also of really high quality. Altogether, the special projects are supporting the whole event, the collections and definitely my experience as a press visitor.

Overall, my favourite project was the newly added Upper Level of the Main Pavilion. The great innovation of Pitti Bimbo 89 and it is called The Kid’s Lab! In short – younger, more experimental brands from the parts of Kids Fizz, The Nest, EcoEthic, ActiveLab, and Kids Evolution have separate but joined together areas here. Which makes it much easier to navigate and to enjoy. In essence, there is light, there is a red line and there is a lot of inspiration up there!

 

Backstage of the FASHION SHOW OF APARTMENT

Pitti Bimbo 89 in numbers:

+ 603 collections, 399 of which from abroad
+ 5,100 buyers, 2.400 of which from abroad
+ a total of 10,000 visitors

Generally speaking, the industry is not very dynamic at the moment. And we have a lot of ‘the same’, no ‘risk-taking’ collections and a shift is slowly coming in the wholesale process too. But the brands are committed and they try to be innovative as much as they can and allow themselves in this economic situation. And the general feedback from brands was that the quality of visitors was very good. Good orders, serious interest, and inspiring conversations are essential. And in the end, it is all that matters, isn’t?

Also, my trend report for Summer 2020 will follow shortly!
Backstage of the FASHION SHOW OF APARTMENT - 013

More highlights:

Meeting the famous French designer and illustrator, Nathalie Lété. She came with her first book in English, that is filled with 200 pages of illustrations and instructions dedicated to arts and crafts.

Australian brand Banabae who showed in The Nest. An ethical and contemporary baby brand, with a big dose of Woodstock and 70’s vibes. Really cool designs for nursery beddings, rompers, and baby accessories. Loved it!

The shows – see below for more!

Manuela, from Hungary, had a lovely collection. Cool earthy tones, beautiful silhouettes, and interesting textures. My favourite collection from the brand to date.

Not to miss, Miss L. Ray came with a lovely collection that is great for tweens. Lots of easy to wear yet chic styles with a sporty influence. Cool mix of fabrics and fluid shapes.

 

il gufo

Kid’s runway shows:

Il Gufo presented in a very romantic setting in the Torrigiani Gardens in Florence. They built a secret garden in a greenhouse and the show was vibrant and just wonderful.

In brief, the Summer 2020 collection originates from two ideas: a dichotomy between urban and natural elements. And in that sweet garden, we saw children playing, having picnics, and jumping in puddles. Personally, it was refreshing to create a collection with endless possibilities that, most of all, allows children to be children.

 

Cherry Papaya

The Moda Portugal Show. For the first time, a multi-brand show with Portuguese brands took place, founded by CENIT, a branch of the Portuguese Association of Clothing and Apparel Industry, Kids. Six designers showed: Cherry Papaya, Knot, Laranjinha, Patachou, Phi Clothing, and Play Up.

All in all, it was a very cheerful, happy and colourful show that had the real summer feeling and lots of joy. Especially Cherry Papaya showed a cool and fresh collection that appeals to both, boys and girls. And Spoiler alert: Watch out for something special happening between Cherry Papaya X Paul & Paula next year.

 

Pero Pero

The Apartment Show. Always a beautiful show with a great set design. And a great start into the Friday since the show is held in the morning. We saw Pero, Michaela Buerger, Velveteen, Amelie et Sophie, and Piccola Ludo and the theme was “con la testa fra le nuvole”, meaning “head in the clouds”.

Pero was fantastic as usual. Beautiful garments with lots of details, flowers galore and magnificent hats to make it perfect. (they are from Lorna Murray by the way)

Furthermore, The Apartment celebrated its 10th anniversary as well. Focusing on elegant and original brands destined for high-end boutiques, it is always a feast for the eye to walk in here.

 

PITTI BIMBO SUMMER PARTY! - 039

And the final click? The Pitti Special Click Party!

Filled with great music, entertainment, food (Italy!!!) and, most of all, great company.  I always feel that this is such a good way to let business be business and to enjoy. Not to mention that having fun together is a good base for working together. Coupled with the stunning Villa Le Corti, the place to be that evening, a synchronized swimming performance, yummy food… we all danced into the night!

In a word: Grazie!

 Backstage images: Eeva Suutari / Runway photos: Giovanni Giannoni / Party photo: AKAstudio – collective
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