All new virtual platform where visitors and exhibitors can engage and do business for up to 3 months.
The allfashion sourcing event by Messe Frankfurt South Africa, a subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt, the biggest trade fair organizer with its own fairground, has gone virtual for the first time this year. Trading economics states that manufacturing and retail sales in South Africa suffered significant decreases from Covid-19, putting huge strain on businesses to keep their factories and stores trading. “To assist as much as possible in mitigating the economic effects of the pandemic, we have ensured that we do not cancel the event this year by investing into going virtual and enabling our exhibitors to still have the much-needed income generation that allfashion sourcing creates,” states Show Director, Kathryn Frew.
“The investment has allowed us to not only assist exhibitors to effectively use powerful eventing systems but also to keep the virtual platform open for three months,” explains Frew.
“When we were approached to be an exhibitor at allfashion sourcing, the fact that it was virtual allowed us to participate, as we did not need to carry the costs of getting to the event,” says Marika Jacobs, Project Manager at Eastern Cape Craft Collection. “Covid-19 put huge pressure on our sales, and this directly impacted the craft enterprises that we support. The Eastern Cape Craft Collection is funded by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation and the Department of Small Business Development. The main aim of this project is to support and grow small businesses in the Eastern Cape Province by providing them with a marketing platform. We are now able to get international exposure for beautifully crafted goods that have a strong contemporary take on Xhosa cultural designs and crafts.”
Eastern Cape Craft Collection was created to have a store and online presence where customers can get access to a curated selection of handmade products, ranging from wood carvings, grass work, ceramics to clothing made in the Eastern Cape. The initiative was started in 2016 and now gives at least 120 people permanent work to sell their goods, with both women and the disabled provided with the opportunity to earn an income.
“allfashion sourcing has around 3000 visitors expected and that includes international buyers,” says Frew. “This is opening doors to locals for an opportunity to showcase the creativity, innovation, quality, products and skills that our beautiful country has to offer.”
The allfashion sourcing virtual platform uses an Artificial Intelligence powered networking engine that delivers smart recommendations for attendees to meet and enhances the reach for visitors and exhibitors across Africa, as well as globally. “We’re investing time in exhibitors by providing comprehensive toolkits and training to ensure that everyone gets the most out of the technology that we’re providing. This also applies to our visitors, who all receive detailed information on how to use the various tools to get real value from this virtual edition of the show,” says Frew.
According to Stuart Hopwood, Group Sales and Creative Executive at Bolton Footwear, “This is our first allfashion sourcing event and we are thankful that they are going ahead with a virtual edition as we are looking to grow our local and export business to fill our factories and keep our staff employed.”
allfashion sourcing has a diverse complement of exhibitors to provide both local and international fashion buyers a selection of on one platform. One such example is proudly South African exhibitor, FSP Collection, based in Woodstock, Cape Town. “We create elegant, beautiful handbags from a by-product of the meat industry for the stylish, adventurous and conscious global traveller,” says Fiona Borthwick, owner of FSP Collection. “We have been producing deliberately designed, unique, handcrafted game skin and leather fashion accessories and home wear by dedicated artisans since 1998 and currently hold 70% of the game skin handbag market share. Once tourism bounces back, the company will offer great potential return on investment manufacturing luxury artisanal products and the allfashion sourcing platform gives us global visibility during a time when that is difficult”.
“This year we have exhibitors from Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa and Mauritius and we hope to grow our African exhibitors’ base,” says Frew.