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Who’s Next according to Boris Provost

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Just right after Ramadan ended, Dubai is apparently alive again, and bustling with events that could make a hyperactive social butterfly cry for help.  Here at La Moda, our fashion calendar has been filled with red marks from mid-September to mid-November.

Yet again, we save our energies for those that are truly worthy of our presence and attention, knowing that these events will ultimately lead us to become more enlightened leaders of fashion. And, based on our discretion, we believe that one of the (if not ‘the’) must-attend events of the season is the three-day fashion trade show “Who’s Next & Premiere Classe” happening from October the 19th to the 21st.

As reported in our previous story So, who’s next?, this long-running, internationally-recognised trade exhibition in Paris is coming back to Dubai for its second edition. However, this year, the show promises to be bigger and better with catwalk shows, industry forums, and a shopping day that will open the show’s golden gates to the public.

A first-time offer, the shopping day will be an exclusive treat to Dubai’s fashionistas. Imagine getting to buy the clothes and accessories before they hit the racks – cool, no?

Also, the list of exhibiting designers grows by the hour, and is peppered with a number of must-watch labels including womenswear designer Jerome L’Huillier who will be showing his collection on the catwalk, French handbag designer Mila Louise, Mellow Yellow footwear, and jewellery by Y Eyes.

In addition, S*uce boutiques’ distribution division has just announced six of its brands that will be shown at the event: Bil Arabi by Nadine Qanso, Blush, By Sophie, The Next Episode, Storygirl and Kay Dee and Ghada Sultan. A mix of womenswear, jewellery, handbags and accessories, the S*uce Lounge is a platform for regional designers that will contribute to the eclectic mix of brands at the trade show.

Since we’ve heard all these incredible surprises at the upcoming Who’s Next & Premiere Classe, we have decided to come to the organisers to ask them the real deal about the show. Fortunately, Mr. Boris Provost, the Communication & International Development Manager of show organisers WSN Developpement, has taken some time out of his totally hectic schedule, and shared with us his thoughts in an exclusive chat. Read on as La Moda unravels some of amazing discoveries from the show’s main man.

What made you decide to come back to Dubai?

We didn’t decide to come back based on the results of last year’s outcome. When we launch an event, our main priority is not to earn money, and then think about returning or not.

We want to do it with an outlook of the longer term, regardless of whether it was successful or not during its first years.

Based on our experience, it takes a long time to setup an event in a country. In Paris, we waited five to six years to gain the international recognition. So, we know that it takes time. Still, we hope that this year will be much better than the last.

We give another dimension of the event this year, we try to fit what the consumer wants even to the extent of changing the venue of the exhibition to more glamorous and sexy one.

We understand that Who’s Next & Premiere Classe will have catwalk shows. Because of this, a lot of people are curious about the show’s difference from Dubai Fashion Week.  Can you kindly enlighten us?

What? Never heard about it [Dubai Fashion Week]. (laughs) Seriously speaking, we are organisers of a fashion exhibition, not of fashion shows. Our main objective is to meddle between buyers and fashion designers, that’s our job.

Yet, in order to adapt our concept in the region, we decided to add the catwalk shows. As what we’ve learned from last year, we need to add more glamour and energy to the trade exhibition. But, there should be no comparison with Dubai Fashion Week as we are trade show.

We also learned that you are opening the show gates to a public shopping day for the first time. Why here in Dubai?

Who’s Next in Paris is very trade focus but here in Dubai we would like the exhibitors promote their brands to the retail consumers, the shoppers, directly because most of these brands have never been exposed to this region. So, it is also part of educating the market about these exquisite brands. On the other hand, the shoppers would have the rare opportunity to view the collections right before they come to the stores.

Is this the main reason why the show is more consumer-focused in Dubai?

You can say that, yes. There are brands that are not so used to sell to retailers here so we need more activities to promote them. That is why we need catwalk shows aside from exhibiting in the booths where all professional meetings are happening, like in any successful trade show.

One of the main problems of trade shows is attracting buyers. How do you plan on tackling this matter?

We are more prepared now in terms of our database for the region. We also use our website and social media to connect to more people. Right now, our invites are up for around 17,000 buyers in our database around the region including those from India, Turkey and South Africa. We know that not everyone could come and attend, but at least we know that we have everybody informed and aware of the concept.

Final question: How do you choose your exhibitors? What are the criteria for selection?

There are certain standards like the professional ability to export [distribution capability], the ability to commit on delivery time, the pricing, and the fashion range the brand is offering to add into the diversity of the show. All these we take into consideration in choosing our exhibitors. However, in the end, key professional criteria aside, the final judgment is based on the fashion. As always, fashion is a question of feelings.

About Boris Provost
Boris Provost started his career as a nightlife press attaché covering various clubs and “people” parties in Paris. His first steps in the fashion world took place during a stay in Dinard on the occasion of a festival for budding designers where he worked as the festival’s press attaché.

For the past 6 years Boris has developed the communications tools, the PR, the private and corporate partnerships and has especially built on the tradeshows’ image internationally by teaming up with renowned foreign events like the Montreal Fashion Week or the Sao Paulo one. But he is above all, from a few time, trade show manager of WHO’S NEXT & PREMIERE CLASSE IN DUBAI, the first edition of which took place in October 2009.

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