The Challenging Future of Denim Trade Shows (with Tilmann Wröbel)

One of my favourite things about the denim industry is the people. Meeting fellow denim lovers at events and trade shows throughout the year is something I’ve always prioritised and looked forward to. This year, for obvious reasons, that’s not happening.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives. And it’s impacting all branches of the denim world too, some more than others, though. With social distancing and restrictions on travel, trade shows are taking a particularly hard hit.

If you’ve done any work at all this spring and summer, chances are you’ve been on Zoom, Google Meet or whatever they’re called. It’s convenient and a great alternative to ‘meeting’ people when real life isn’t an opinion. But it’s just not the same. Especially for a trade show.

I feel like I’m going to the movies and I only have the advertisement and there’s no movie”

Tilmann Wröbel on the Denimhunters Podcast

Trade shows bring people together. Ideally a lot of people! And that’s a big ‘no go’ for health authorities these days. So most showrunners have gone virtual. But not Munich Fabric Start, Bluezone’s parent show that was established in the mid-90s.

Ever since the dates were announced some 6 months ago or so, my calendar has said “Bluezone” this week. Unfortunately, for personal reasons, I’m not going to Munich this week. But others are. Renamed ‘Fabric Days’ for this autumn edition, the show is happening.

Someone I would be sure to meet at Bluezone is Tilmann Wröbel. With his design studio Monsieur-T., Tilmann consults for Bluezone, creating the show’s trend area, among other things.

This week, Tilmann joins me on the podcast to share his story and his opinions on the state of our industry. As Tilmann and I discuss on the podcast, one of the key reasons people go to trade shows is to meet other people. To create relationships and get new ideas through interactions with others.

You can listen to the interview in the embedded player above or on Apple PodcastGoogle PodcastSpotify, and Stitcher.

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Related reading: Blue Blooded Q&A with Tilmann

Disclaimer: I have produced sponsored content for Bluezone in the past (see all my content from and about Bluezone here). However, this podcast episode and blog post are not sponsored. And while Tilmann Wröbel consults for Bluezone, the opinions expressed are his own.

Featured image by Brian Engblad aka @oddhunt.


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