MILAN — The Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week is already preparing for its next edition with a new director.
Albasarí Caro was named head of the bridal salon last month, succeeding Estermaria Laruccia, who left after seven years.
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Caro plans to move forward with continuity, but has made it clear that she wants to boost the international appeal of the show and make it the benchmark for the industry, beyond business.
“At the end of the day, we want everyone in the industry to have FOMO when thinking about dates,” Caro said in a Zoom interview from Barcelona.
Held from April 19-23 at the Fira de Barcelona exhibition centre, the show on Tuesday unveiled the theme and concept of the edition centered on the world of cinema.
After the 2022 Viktor & Rolf show, a guest designer is also expected next year, but the name is being kept secret.
Boasting 25 years of experience in the Spanish fashion and retail scene, Caro’s most recent gig, which spanned 10 years at Pronovias, gave him an in-depth knowledge of the industry.
“We will continue to lead by having many steps ahead of the curve. We are a salon, of course, but we don’t sell square meters, we sell a source of inspiration, a reference for the wedding industry, that’s what we have always aspired to do. she says.
This involves providing added value to the traditional business-to-business platform through conferences, which Caro has compared to “Bride’s Ted Talks”, and further anchoring the fair’s strength in its networking component.
“I know that buyers — and especially multi-brand buyers — know each of their microcosms in their cities… obviously they’re going to come and buy collections, discover new brands, that’s going to continue to be true. But what we can offer them that they won’t get anywhere else [is] the networking opportunity and also the industry discussions,” she explained.
In the context of increased supply chain issues and shortened lead times for brides’ wedding days, which pose challenges in terms of inventory, pre-orders and meeting drastically changed needs – think sustainable manufacturing, the variety on offer and more – Caro highlighted the show’s role as a beacon for the industry.
“We will share ideas and become that place where people learn about the industry, about trends not only in terms of fashion but also about the industry itself… sharing tips, know-how, best practices , this type of place where we can all come together and share… we are kind of competitors but in the end we share the same customers, the same sector, [our aim is] to create a neutral place where everyone can come to learn, not just come and buy,” she added.
Although the talks component will be expanded from 2024, hints of this will be found in next year’s edition, Caro said.
The executive noted that the majority of brands and buyers at the fair are international, with 75% and 80%, respectively, coming from outside Spain.
“That added value is always an incentive for buyers and brands to come, that’s how we see it. It’s motivating, because buyers would want to come themselves, the lead buyer would come and only send not a second buyer, because that’s the place to be,” she said.
She’s also adamant about sticking with the format, which mixes the fairground with fashion shows by big-name bridal names.
“We are at the heart of a trade show, there is absolutely no doubt about that. People come here to do business, to place orders and to sell, that’s the heart of what we do,” she said, adding that the glamorous component of the show experience cannot be overlooked because it offers visibility and content to brands.
Caro’s objective is to further strengthen the international appeal of the show. She explained that the team is looking for key players in currently underrepresented markets, including South Korea and Japan.
“It’s always a challenge because of the distance mainly, and they are completely different markets, but still very interesting for us too. We really want to grow there and we are exploring to attract both brands and buyers…because we think there is great potential for them to find new and interesting things here. So it’s a win-win situation for the buyers and the brands that we have,” she explained.
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