What To Consider When Participating in Fashion Trade Shows

Fashion Trade Shows

Trade show participation is something that you might consider doing for your fashion business as a means of reaching buyers.  There is a lot of debate about the merits of a trade show for independent designers but if you decide it something that’s right for your brand, then you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the absolute most out of it.

Here is a list of things to consider if you’re going to participate in fashion trade shows:

What to Bring

  • Business cards
  • Post cards
  • Samples from your collection
  • Line Sheets
  • Lookbooks (set up your tablet so people can scroll)
  • Clothing Racks
  • Business profile (target market, current retail locations, any press)
  • Ability to communicate your brand in 5 seconds (what is the first thing you’ll say to a potential buyer?)
  • Mirror
  • Laptop or tablet (don’t forget the charger)
  • Extension cords
  • Email signup form
  • Paperclips, folder, pens, pen holder, scissors, stapler, note pads
  • Some kind of takeaway to stay fresh in the minds of buyers

Ideas and Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Don’t eat while in your booth.
  • Bring an assistant who understands and is excited about your brand and can communicate that effectively.
  • Engage the people who come to your booth, be human, and don’t make it all about you.
  • Update your social platforms throughout the day with photos and snippets of what’s going on.
  • Take notes on business cards about that particular buyer’s needs or comments.
  • Follow up with business card prospects via phone or email.

What fashion trade shows are you thinking about attending?

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Cecilia

    I’m planning on doing my first trade show in Augustus, but I wonder about what size to bring samples in? Is a middle size (EU38) best or does it work with what my model wears (EU34)? I’m thinking of the sample collection cost as a new designer…

  2. Gabriella Leihlan

    Hello! What are the best textile trade shows to attend for swimsuit fabric sourcing?


  3. kd

    I have Salon Allure on my calendar and maybe one or two more on the west coast. Still not sure which ones out there. Great list.

  4. gabe aceves

    love this blog. as someone who has been dreaming and designing and finally starting the process of producing a collection, there is so much great info here. thanks!

  5. Shana Luther

    I’m definitely interested in doing a trade show sometime soon. The only thing that concerns me is the cost. I’ve also heard such mixed reviews as well- some have an amazing time with buyers, some get no buys at all. So hard to say if it’s worth it. However part of me thinks it’s never a bad thing having your work at least seen by buyers and start to get your name out there. Thanks for the post, Nicole!

    • Nicole Giordano

      Thanks Shana! You’re right, it’s definitely hard to say if it’s worth it. A case can be made for both sides.

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