Fashion fairs face uncertainty as new regulations postpone events once more
Small and medium-size business-to-customer shopping fairs have been restarting over the past month as local lockdowns lifted across India but the continued second wave of the virus has seen numerous events cancelled once more.
Following months of online-only events and a pause in many shopping fair schedules, June saw recurring womenswear fairs including Marriage Mantra’s Pink Almari and fashion and lifestyle fair The Haat restart their events calendars with summer editions. Pink Almari held its ‘Monsoon Edit’ at Blue Sea in Worli, Mumbai on June 24 and The Haat held a traditional and ethnic wear showcase in Indore on July 9, the events announced on their respective Facebook pages.
However, as some states are extending lockdown restrictions as coronavirus cases fail to fall, many shopping fairs are getting cancelled again. Marriage Mantra has decided to postpone its ‘Soho Style’ by Pink Almari shopping fair, scheduled for July 16 at Blue Sea in Worli, Mumbai as well as its Parineeti shopping fair, originally set to run on August 2 at the JW Marriott in Juhu, Mumbai.
“Due to some fast evolving Covid related guidelines, Marriage Mantra’s upcoming exhibitions stand postponed,” Marriage Mantra announced on Facebook.
“New dates will be announced as soon as we have clarity from the concerned authorities. Please note this decision has been taken in order to give priority to public health and safety and abide by newly imposed laws and regulations.”
Cancelling events is costly for events businesses and clothing brands alike and many of the participating brands saw shopping fairs as a way to boost business after months of slow sales in lockdown. The fact that numerous shopping fairs announced new editions as lockdown began to open showed demand for in-person shopping fairs was still strong but the new round of cancellations could dampen consumer spirit.
Long-established women’s shopping event Fashionista Fashion and Lifestyle Exhibitions is adapting to changeable lockdown regulations by planning ‘private’ shopping fairs, the event announced on Facebook. Its next fashion fair, scheduled to run from July 26 to 28 at the Hotel Kanha Galaxy in Kanpur, will still allow free entry for visitors but they will have to book their slot to ensure Covid-19 safety precautions can be followed adequately, in line with local regulations. The event also acknowledged that the current regulations are subject to change, encouraging shoppers to continue to check local guidelines.
Fashionista’s upcoming Kanpur private edition will feature a range of women’s festive wear for the upcoming wedding season as well as accessories, jewellery, ethnic wear, and gift items among other product categories. Featured designers will include Marvos, SM, and Label Anam among others. As Kanpur’s local authorities are currently allowing small-scale events, it looks set to go ahead. On the other hand, Fashionista has had to postpone its editions planned for Nashik and Jaipur due to Covid-19
Other shopping fairs are more confident or lucky to take place in areas with fewer retail restrictions. The Haat’s Hyderabad edition kicked off on July 16 and runs until July 18 at the city’s Taj Krishna Hotel with a wide selection of women’s ethnic, traditional, and western wear, it announced on Facebook. The Haat also plans to hold editions in Patna from July 20 to 21 and Raipur from July 24 to 26, two locations were regulations are currently less strict.
Another long-standing women’s fashion fair, Adaah plans to go ahead with its contemporary fashion and lifestyle edition in Gurugram from August 7 to 9. However, it has postponed its Hisar fair set for July 19 to 20, as well as its Rohtak fair which was scheduled to run over the weekend.
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