Pandemic has ruined the traditional exhibition business !

Georges Papa Ready to Show Online Founder, Milan, Italy
Georges Papa Ready to Show Online Founder, Milan, Italy

1 ) please tell us more about your self and your background in the fashion and textile industry.

Let me first introduce myself as a free-thinker with long experience of textile and garments’ exhibition business – 45 years of organizing, representing and visiting, of course, exhibitions in more than 60 countries over 4 continents!

I was a fresh graduate from the number 1 French business school (HEC)when I worked for 2 years in Japan in a team organizing the 1st Tokyo Fashion Fair in 1975 and the 1st Osaka Fashion Fair in 1976.

From Japan, I moved on to Italy working at the French Embassy and opened my own consulting company TDF in 1981 as the exclusive agent of all Paris fashion exhibitions, then created my own exhibitions in Italy ; INTIMARE for lingerie and swimwear in 1995 and INTERTEXMILANO and READY TO SHOW in 2001 and 2002

In the meantime, my company has become not an only agent for the most prestigious exhibitions in New York, Moscow, Shanghai…..but also VETMA for Morocco, TEXMED in Tunis, MIATEX for Mauritius, Turkish Break for Aegean Association…. more than 50 formats.

In all these years, from number 1 fashion exhibition in the world PRET A PORTER PARIS with 250 Italian exhibitors out of 1,500 to local ones such as RIGA recently with a group of 10 Italian exhibitors, from Haute Couture in Paris to mass market in the People’s Republic of China.

But let’s focus on my last 20 years’ main experience in Textile & Clothing sourcing exhibition in Milan:


It represents quality sourcing for demanding Italian fashion industry and trade.
From Day 1, it has never been easy but very interesting as the personal experience of a private organizer :
Day 1, I cannot forget for double reasons. After 1 year of preparation, the trade show should have been a great achievement with 250 exhibitors opened in downtown Milan, it turned out to be September 11, 2001 !!

Some years later, I also organized TEXTILMUNDO in Feria Madrid at the same un-lucky dates !!

Anyway, we developed high knowledge of this sector, great database over 20 years….but it’s not enough when your competitor is TEXWORLD !!

Timing and Location are the 2 big issues when you are not a leader but a follower! Hopefully, these problems disappear with permanent on-line trade-show !!

Right to left: Justine D’Angelo, CEO of Gruppo Beyond, Georges Papa CEO of Ready to Show Online, Emanuela Sara Mattioli PR Director Beyond the Magazine
Right to left: Justine D’Angelo, CEO of Gruppo Beyond, Georges Papa CEO of Ready to Show Online, Emanuela Sara Mattioli PR Director Beyond the Magazine

2)When it comes to the fashion business, Italy is not a country like others!

To make it simple, Italian fashion is not for catered only to Italian consumers! For many brands, the domestic market represents only 10 or 20% of total sales, including independent tourists, businessmen and shopping tours !!
Made in Italy luxurious brands or even up-market brands are targeted to world elite – 1% of the world market represents more than all Italian consumers put together! Even when they are medium-rich consumers, they don’t wear Gucci!
They are proud of Italian fashion, but, in the best cases, they wear D&G or Armani Jeans, Made outside Italy, even they are demanding in quality fabrics and fit !!

During the last few months, Italian luxury products have suffered mostly because of the China market, by the same token, business. restarted now, thanks to Chinese REVENGE SHOPPING Basic Italian consumption will suffer the same way as all other European countries do.

COVID19 experience may also induce consumers to go for less quantity and more quality products, giving birth to a re-shopping to Italy of medium-priced fashion.

The industry now is on the go, working mainly to recover EXPORT !!  Shops are in heavy crisis because of NO TOURISTS !!

3) Pandemic has ruined the traditional exhibition business!
Just look at Salone del Mobile, Cosmoprof, Pitti Uomo,+ Bimbo, +Filati, all these top number one world exhibitions are re-scheduled to be held in 2021!

Now how can one believe that September 2020 will be the solution for all fairs in the world for all sectors, not only fashion ones !!??

Organization and promotion costs will be much higher. Restrictions of circulation will cut drastically the number of individual visitors.

Some companies will prohibit their buyers to take risk to visit exhibitions. Potential exhibitors will have limited budgets to spend for very doubtful footfall

Globally 2019 was not such a great year for European exhibitions. What can we expect from 2020 ??

Only local exhibitions at very limited budgets can offer pay-back to exhibitors!!

So far, there is no certainty about what will happen with “return to life ” during holidays, potential 2nd wave….

4) There has not been clear special policy for our sector, just the same for all the other industries and trade.

Future will depend on Tourists, anxiously expected, but so far, nobody knows when Shenzhen borders will be re-opened and export with great dependence towards the Chinese market!

Italian consumption may, most probably, fall down heavily, but will still remain at European best standards.

Local production of face-masks has been organized and Italy could be auto-sufficient now, but who knows what will happen in the coming months?

Exhibitions will never be the same like before !! We expected too much from one fair.
Companies should return to diversified local fairs, cheaper ones, one for each market because there will be fewer visitors. Finally, the major problem will be for hotels and restaurants.

Our strategy is to go ONLINE !! is recruiting exhibitors from all over the world and we’ll open very soon to buyers!

It’s not the platform online of 1 single exhibition, limited to the ones paying their booth at cancelled exhibition !! it’s not limited to 1 country it’s not limited to 1 product it’s not limited to 1 distribution channel

We show producers from all producing countries for garments, knitwear, fashion accessories, fabrics & yarns, services from freelance designers to supply-chain … We go from mass-market producers to Be-spoke tailors, Exhibitors only pay a limited registration fee for permanent exposure all year round. Contact with the buyer is direct and no% on sales is required!

We have built a user-friendly system with search by name, country, product, key-word… We’ll organize special events such as webinars or celebration days.

Bloggers and fashion contributors will give updated fashion information from diversified markets.

We may complete this with personalized services such as B2Bs in key-periods.

In a few words, benefits of ” membership” are not only networking and exposure but true business, and help to brand for many starting from OEM business. I don’t have the answer to all questions but I’m always interested in collaborations in a win-win spirit.


interview with Georges Papa Ready to Show Online Founder, Milan, Italy


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