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I have said this time and again, yet I would like to say this again…, there are too many fairs of the same con­tent hap­pen­ing…, that too prac­ti­cally back-to­back!

Not only are the par­tic­i­pants ex­hausted with the pres­sure of de­cid­ing where to ex­hibit and how to man­age man­power for the same, not to men­tion the dis­played prod­ucts, but even the in­dus­try is con­fused on which event to at­tend. Only re­cently, Lud­hi­ana was wit­ness to three tech­nol­ogy events in a span of less than two months. Ob­vi­ously, each fair lost a few vis­i­ta­tions to the other…; just imag­ine what would have been the re­sult if all the three fairs were com­bined to cre­ate a huge event, cel­e­brat­ing tech­nol­ogy! And the clash is now no longer lim­ited to na­tional fairs…; this year the IIGF in New Delhi clashed with the Hong Kong Fash­ion Week due to which many buy­ing teams were forced to take a pick on which event was more im­por­tant for their buy­ing strat­egy.

Only a few buy­ers had the de­ter­mi­na­tion to at­tend both fairs, but many of them ad­mit­ted that they could not spend enough time at ei­ther of the events to re­ally get full ad­van­tage of the visit.Twice a year – Jan­uary/Fe­bru­ary and July/Au­gust, the in­dus­try is ‘bom­barded’ with ex­hi­bi­tions and mak­ing a choice and pri­ori­tis­ing can be a big chal­lenge. No one can deny the im­por­tance of at­tend­ing fairs, as not only do they up­date the in­dus­try on trends – in fabric, gar­ments, tech­nol­ogy, ac­ces­sories etc., but also serve as a plat­form for in­ter­ac­tion with peo­ple of di­verse ideas and get­ting feel­ers on how the mar­kets are mov­ing.

Yet, en­rich­ing as they are, ex­hi­bi­tions lose their charm if they be­come rou­tine and repet­i­tive! Un­der­stood, fash­ion fairs need to hap­pen twice a year be­cause fash­ion is on the fast track and col­lec­tions are made and dis­carded al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ously. But bet­ter date plan­ning will help buy­ing teams to man­age their trips more fruit­fully, while also giv­ing the ex­hibitors a chance to check out what other coun­tries are up to.

Tech­nol­ogy fairs, on the other hand, can eas­ily hap­pen af­ter 2/3 years when there is some­thing new to show­case. In-be­tween, tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies can hold pri­vate shows to dis­play new up­dates on their ma­chines. As long as the shows are in the hands of pri­vate or­ga­niz­ers, com­mer­cial con­sid­er­a­tions will drive all de­ci­sions. I think the in­dus­try needs to come to­gether on this is­sue and col­lec­tively de­cide as to when and how many shows should hap­pen?

At a re­cent event, one of the top tech­nol­ogy providers im­plored me to take the mat­ter up as a ser­vice to the in­dus­try, high­light­ing the se­ri­ous­ness of the is­sue. This is not a new re­quest, and over the last few years, the noise has been get­ting ‘louder’ as ex­hi­bi­tion fa­tigue is set­ting in. Both the ex­hibitors and the vis­i­tors need value, not just quan­tity.

Also jus­ti­fy­ing so many fairs with the ex­cuse that In­dia is a huge coun­try, is not ra­tio­nal. If peo­ple are se­ri­ous about tech­nol­ogy/fash­ion trends, they can travel to China, Eu­rope and the US for fresh ideas; or can cer­tainly travel within their own coun­try for a ‘must visit’ event!

I hope the or­ga­niz­ers of ‘ma­ture’ shows are lis­ten­ing… It is time they take a prag­matic ap­proach and pay heed to what the ex­hibitors and in­dus­try are say­ing, be­fore it is too late…

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