WSN Trade Shows Adjust September Dates and Location Due to Paris Games

PARIS — WSN’s headline trade shows Who’s Next and Première Classe had to adjust their September editions to the wrap-up of the 2024 Paris Games.

Who’s Next, marking its 30th anniversary this year, will take place between Sept. 8 and 10, a week later than its traditional dates.

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“We were constrained by the fact that Porte de Versailles is an Olympic site, and we wanted to avoid having our exhibitors and buyers visiting during a complicated period,” WSN chief executive officer Frédéric Maus told WWD. “We decided to start just after the end of the Paralympic Games to allow everyone to organize themselves and be able to take part.”

Later in the month, Première Classe’s spring 2025 edition, running Sept. 28 to 30, will take place at the Carrousel du Louvre, close to its usual Tuileries location, where Olympic-related installations will not yet have been taken down.

Despite these changes, Maus promised a bumper edition of Who’s Next.

Over nearly 540,000 square feet of the Porte de Versailles exhibition center’s halls 7.2 and 7.3, the three-day fair will also house the sustainable Impact and Neonyt areas, the Bijorhca jewelry showcase, as well as the swim and resort-focused Curve and Interfilière sourcing events under its umbrella.

It will see the debut of Loud, an experience-focused area. There will also be a spotlight on emerging design from abroad, such as five Nigerian brands hailing from an incubator program developed with the Lagos arm of the Institut Français, a French public organization dedicated to promoting French and local culture and exchanges. A further two labels from this program will join the Première Classe roster.

Frédéric Maus, CEO WSN
Frédéric Maus

Another major novelty of this edition will be the participation of French start-up Ankorstore, a wholesale marketplace with whom WSN signed a three-way deal with event organizer Comexposium in March.

The five-year-old start-up, which reached unicorn status and a $2 billion valuation in 2022, will unfurl a selection of 15 food and lifestyle brands as well as its digital solutions, geared toward connecting brands and independent retailers, in a 4,500-square-foot space.

Despite the later-than-usual dates, Maus anticipated attendance on par with 2023 levels. The September edition drew 1,300 exhibitors and just under 45,000 guests, he said.

While admitting that foreign visitors have been more hesitant, he forecasts solid French attendance and a balanced split between international and domestic visitors.

“We are following our commercialization and preregistration figures, and we are very good on both fronts,” he said. “It proves people understood that the Olympics would have an impact on high and late summer and that after [that], the situation would be near normal for us.”

He also anticipated little impact for Première Classe, where figures are expected to roughly match the previous edition’s 350 brands and designers. The surface of the show will be around 80,000 square feet, like its tented version in the Tuileries.

Meanwhile, WSN’s consumer-facing annual DRP festival is looking further afield for this year’s edition.

It is swapping Paris and the Tuileries for Indonesia, where it will host a 320-square-foot booth during Jakarta Fashion Week’s 20th anniversary edition between July 26 and Aug. 5.

Beyond its two fashion fairs, WSN is looking for a new venue for its Run initiative, put in place earlier this year at multiuse art space Le Consulat to support independent labels with event spaces and production capabilities.

“The Federation [de la Haute Couture et de la Mode] offers solutions for brands on the official schedule and there is real demand from those outside the calendar,” said Boris Vey, partnership and events director at WSN.

While it was originally meant to focus on men’s labels and show periods, Run will also be deployed during the upcoming women’s shows given its success, Vey said. For Maus, the initiative is a modest investment that is part of WSN’s commitment to fostering emerging brands.

“Our mantra is that wherever there is creation, WSN must be,” he said. While the trade shows will wrap after Paris Fashion Week, Première Classe will curate an accessories exhibition during the 2024 edition of the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Accessories — Hyères, dedicated to former finalists and winners.

While Maus kept mum on plans for 2025, he said the Who’s Next anniversary year was an opportunity to take stock and plan for the future.

The Matter and Shape design show, which bowed in March 2024, is already gathering pace with a 300-strong waiting list, although the executive was keen to keep its curation tight. It has already taken part in events abroad, such as Milan Design Week through a partnership with Grohe, and kicked off a three-month pop-up shop in Copenhagen during the Danish capital’s 3 Days of Design event in June.

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