June 22, 2021

‘I am afraid Europe is a difficult terrain at the moment’

4 min read

Kingpins, the international denim trade show, has announced that its New York edition will take place as a physical edition on December 5 and 6, 2021. The show’s European edition Kingpins Amsterdam, instead, will happen as a digital event once again and has canceled the physical edition that used to take place in October. Andrew Olah, founder Kingpins, explained to The SPIN OFF the reasons for these decisions.

Kingpins New York will take place again as a physical trade show in December 2021. Does the overall situation appear to be recovered by December in the US?
It seems that those that want a vaccine in the US have a vaccine. Even children aged 12 and older are eligible, and here in the US there is no longer a need to schedule appointments for vaccines. They are available in many places and whenever you wish without appointments. So yes, we think by December there will be no pandemic reason to block a show.

Does the US market seem to be ready for a physical show to happen again and is it showing recovery signs?
Absolutely yes. In fact, I think in our market people can’t wait to all get back together and see each other and socialize again, and even discuss work!

How many exhibitors are you planning to host and what kind of eventual activities are you planning?
We hope to have the same number of exhibitors that we always have in NYC and activities will be as normal: new fabrics, trend, seminars, discussions and a party. As always, sustainability will be the essential topic of the days.

Kingpins New York, June 2019

Photo: Kingpins Instagram

Kingpins New York, June 2019

What kind of security protocols will you follow?
We have not studied this at all because we will follow the laws in NY State which I am sure will require temperature checks, recent Covid-19 tests and proof of vaccine, but we will know more in the fall and deal with it then.

It’s a different situation for Kingpins Amsterdam. As you announced it won’t take place in October. Is the Netherlands so behind with its recovery from the pandemic?
Yes. I am afraid Europe is a difficult terrain at the moment. Europe travel is not working the way travel occurs between the various states in America. It is quite hard to predict anything but people in the USA are flying anywhere, everywhere whenever they wish like pre-pandemic.
Differently, one of our concerns is that fewer people might be able to travel to Europe by October.

Did you consider the possibility to temporarily hold it physically in another European country? In Germany or Italy vaccinations are running at full speed and by August or September many might feel safe again.
No. We did not consider this for many reasons including our commitment to Amsterdam and obligations we have to our team and suppliers. How could we leave them when they need us the most?

Kingpins at Amsterdam's Westergasfabriek, 2019

Kingpins at Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek, 2019

These days in Europe, when travel to Asia is still not permitted, we heard that many companies from the Mediterranean basin are starting working again… What is your opinion about it?
It’s wonderful that our industry is so flexible that it can easily jump and hop and switch without compunction their sourcing from region to region. I only worry about the workers who lost their jobs or the ones that think they have new jobs when the orders return to Asia later.

Is all this matter more related to Europe where the market has been facing a much harder and longer lockdown situation than the US one and sales haven’t recovered yet?
Europe has had a much more severe lockdown situation compared to the United States. Of course this has dramatic impact on retail sales so yes, it’s very difficult in Europe compared to America and closer suppliers reduce risk but impact cost and margin.

When could Kingpins Amsterdam start taking place as a physical show again in the future?
We will be back in April 2022.

Is there any other clear sign you noticed that shows some new evolution–hopefully for the better–in denim market?
I think shows will incorporate much digital aspects and I believe fewer people will attend, so digital will be a very important element to educate those that can’t come and allow them to see new products on Kingpins Exchange.
Kingpins Exchange had digitalized fabrics from over 50 denim mills and will add by the time our Amsterdam Show launches, digitalized accessories, trim, buttons and garments. Through this site we hope clients will be able to see the show and the fabrics from their living rooms.

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