Momad gains momentum, establishes itself as meeting point for professionals
Held from Friday, February 3 to Sunday, February 5 at Ifema, Madrid's fashion, footwear and accessories fair hosted its winter edition, following hard on the heels of the Danish events CIFF and Revolver, both of which ended on February 3. The Spanish event, which was once again held on the same dates as the MadridJoya, Bisutex and Intergift trade shows, is back on pre-pandemic track, with a notable international turnout and a huge influx of visitors driven by the flow of intersectoral traffic between pavilions.
Hall 8 of the Madrid exhibition centre once again welcomed Momad's participants. More than 300 exhibitors attended the event, with around 20 footwear firms and more than 40 formal wear brands.
"We are pleased with the results. Against such an uncertain economic backdrop, you never know how the fair will react despite having done a lot of work beforehand with our exhibitors. It all depends on the days of the event and on the number of visitors, which is not something we can control," said Julia González, director of Momad, Intergift, Bisutex and MadridJoya, in an interview with FashionNetwork.com.
According to preliminary data provided by the organisers, the winter edition of the fairs recorded a 12% increase in the number of professional visitors from more than 70 countries. In terms of exhibitors, the four shows brought together more than 1,000 brands from 25 countries, while the runway shows saw the participation of 30 firms.
At Momad, the participating brands were mainly Spanish, but also Portuguese companies such as Lion of Porches, SMF or Cristina Barros. Greek brands, which have been increasing their presence at the fair since last September, exhibited their collections alongside Italian brands. Meanwhile, Poland was represented by brands such as Ryba and Glamorously. The participating foreign buyers came mainly from Portugal, France, Italy, Latin America and Miami. The United Kingdom, which was also represented at the fair, suffered a slight setback compared to pre-Brexit editions.
"We have seen a very optimistic and lively atmosphere. There has been a noticeable change in spirit and the attendees are motivated, even more so than in editions prior to the pandemic, underlining the interest aroused by the professional catwalk shows," said González. "The exhibiting brands have shown a great capacity for resilience. However, the current economic context has reduced the purchasing power of the attendees. Retailers are suffering. When shops still have a lot of stock piled up, the fair is affected," she added.
According to the trade show director, Momad will never be the same as it was before Covid-19, but the event needs to be transformed in line with the reality of the sector. "There are so many people who have fallen by the wayside that it will be very difficult to return to the figures we had before the pandemic. There are customers who will never come back, although there will be new brands launching. We won't go back to the situation we had before, but it will be a new and different reality", she reflected, underlining that "the fair is still alive", a notion of major importance for the manager since "the fair is still a reflection of the sector."
Even so, González was pleased with the most recent developments in the sector: "As far as the retail sector is concerned, it was very fortunate that we had a cold snap last month. It has allowed us to empty our stock of coats which has helped the event."
"We are recovering in terms of figures compared to previous editions held in 2019. Momad has to adapt to the transformations that the sector has undergone since then," said the show's commercial manager, Mercedes Ferrero. "There are many companies and buyers who had not been attending the fair for a long time and have returned," she added optimistically.
General optimism yet
One of the fair's established firms, the Madrid-based brand Eñe y punto, praised the improvement in the "number and quality of exhibitors." The brand, a participant of the Ifema fair since 2018, recognised that the results were already positive in the first editions after the pandemic.
"As there were very few exhibitors, there was not much competition and we did very well. But now we believe that the quality and level has improved. In addition, clients are looking for 'made in Spain' products," they said, anticipating a good closing of deals with Spanish clients. The brand recently exhibited for the first time at the Who's Next trade fair in Paris, but feels more comfortable in Madrid. "We perform better at this type of event," they said with a smile.
Likewise, Momad veteran and reusable bag specialist Cast Pack shared the upbeat sentiment regarding feedback during the fair. "We have not stopped. We have noticed massive growth, even in relation to the contacts we were making before the pandemic," said the company's representatives.
However, there was also room for discouragement. This was the case of the Tenerife-based firm Confía, Coño, which participated in the event for the first time: "The fair is not exactly what we expected. It is a less avant-garde event than we imagined," said Luisa Castañeda Beloqui, founder of the brand, who took part in a dedicated presentation on Sunday morning. Although the company established contacts with visitors from Italy, Ireland, Chile and Ecuador, its founder regretted the fact that "domestic clients are looking for something more classic, so it is the international clientele who most value the sustainable component of our products."
Likewise, several firms highlighted that price is an important factor for customers that attend the fair, which in some cases hinders the development of premium or sustainable brands. "The fashion sector in Spain is strongly influenced by low prices. Inevitably, this means that many Spanish visitors come to the fair looking for affordable prices,: explained González, pointing out that "not everyone is a premium fashion customer, so a change of mentality requires a lot of teaching. But it is necessary that this idea spreads."
"The Spanish market has specific operations in terms of price. However, it is an issue that affects buyers from the north, the south and the Mediterranean region very differently," Ferrero continued.
"We sectorised the fair very well by price, style, product and brand, although we do occupy the same pavilion. We accommodate all types of clients, styles and price points. If we put forward a higher-priced offering, it is because there is a client who is demanding it," she added about the way the organisation works.
Bringing the footwear sector back on track
There was a notable growth in the presence of footwear brands at the fair, which had been declining since the integration of the specialist event Momad Shoes under the Momad umbrella. While the established Riojan brand Victoria was optimistic about its participation in the fair, the Colombian firm Disorder Urban, runner-up in the #MomadTalentsbyISEM award, celebrated its first participation in an international fair.
"We've done really well. We are quite successful in the Latin American market selling online, but not so much abroad. We wanted to explore the European market," explained the representative of the firm founded a year ago.
Meanwhile, Nomadic State of Mind, a Nicaraguan brand specialising in handmade vegan sandals and shoes, celebrated the possibility of having made new clients.
"We have been coming for years and this is the first time we have participated in February. In September we closed more deals, but overall results have been positive," they explained, appreciating the strong presence of Portuguese buyers. However, the firm founded by American designer Chris Anderson noted with regret that the sustainable sector was "a little hidden, which makes it difficult to find if you don't look at the map".
The event was also attended by established brands in the sector such as Alma en Pena, Pons Quintana and Cuplé; as well as the much visited Étika, the espadrille brand Nipa, the handbag and footwear firm Ebarrito and the roller skate-sneaker specialist Breezy Rollers. "Fashion-oriented and full-look footwear brands in multi-brand shops are finding a great selling point at Momad, as well as the possibility to approach a buyer they were not in contact with before. Prospects are good and it is a sector that will grow in September," added González.
Another of the fair's novelties was a space dedicated to a group of companies from Castilla y León, which included the presence of firms such as Di de Sant, Sr. Tort, Marae, Ainhoa Salcedo, the tailoring firm Antonaga, Ángel Iglesias and Rosalita McGee. In the case of the formal wear firm Esther Noriega, which will also participate in the next edition of Barcelona Bridal Week in September, its representative expressed her gratitude for the collective initiative. "Being under the Board of Director's umbrella has allowed us to participate. Many of us would not have been able to do it individually", she acknowledged, pointing out that she had made many contacts with Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Guinean clients.
Bisutex, a growing partner
As in previous editions, the Bisutex fair, which was held in Hall 4, was one of the most popular events. Held from February 2 to 5, the trade show specialising in fashion jewellery and accessories saw a significant number of accessories, such as handbags, backpacks, travel bags, scarves, headbands and fans. Although more geared towards lifestyle shops, the offer is increasingly complementary to Momad, as assured by the organisers of the events.
In turn, the jewellery offer presented a wide range of firms with different positioning, from small, accessible costume jewellery to designer earrings. Among the most visited brands were the summer clothing and accessories brand Tantrend, which occupied one of the main stands at the entrance to the pavilion; the unique statement accessories brand Aneke; the sustainable footwear and handbag brand Soruka; the iconic Agatha Ruiz de la Prada's jewellery collection; the unique earrings brand Lolailas; and the fan firm Popelin Barcelona.
"We try to be responsive to trends. We have to be attentive to what the visitor, the buyer of our exhibitor, is incorporating into their shops. For this reason, we are looking into the possibility of integrating new elements into the fair," said Momad's commercial manager about the possibility of continuing to diversify the event and incorporate new categories in future editions.
"The synergies, especially between Momad and Bisutex, are very clear," said González, insisting that "Bisutex is a very well organised and structured trade fair, with great visitor figures". And she added, confidently: "It's far ahead of other international trade fairs. There are more and more expectations and a growing interest from abroad. Undoubtedly, the growth of Bisutex has a very positive impact on Momad."
The scheduled dates of both fairs will therefore continue to coincide in the event's next edition, which will take place in the third week of September, with the aim of continuing to work on cross-sector alliances and synergies. Momad will bring together visitors and exhibitors from Friday, September 15 to Sunday, September 17.
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