Fashion Magazine

Baselworld is Keeping Us on Our Toes

By Attireclub @attireclub

Baselworld has had a rocky couple of years, as, after the 2016 and 2017 edition, 57% of the brands who were showcasing during the event pulled out from the show. This has led to a decrease of the show - not just in terms of number of booths, but also in number of days and attendance.

Baselworld is Keeping Us on Our Toes

Thus, the show itself has been at the center of many discussions. First, there was talk about focusing more on quality than on quantity, which could be a fair point. But then, many media outlets started talking about the very sustainability of the Swiss trade show. Problems such as the high prices for attendance and for accommodation in Basel during the show seemed to be some of the top problems.

Baselworld is Keeping Us on Our Toes
To reshape and reimagine Baselworld, the MCH Group, which organizes Baselworld, has hired a new managing director for the show, Michel Loris-Melikoff. However, this news was in large part eclipsed by the even bigger bad news that the Swatch Group has pulled out of the next edition of Baselworld. The Swatch Group owns 18 brands, including Omega, Tissot, Blancpain, Jaquet Droz, Longines, Breguet and Harry Winston and was a very big part of Baselworld, as the group took about half of Hall 1.0.

To many, it seems that Baselworld is a giant that has a hard time improving. And, it can be said, that such a fair has indeed a lot at stake: any wrong move could have negative impact on it. But Baselworld has changed a lot before, over the course of the last century, the fair has shown it can and wants to change. Being aware of your problems and of the concerns participants may have is definitely a first, but probably most important step when it comes to rethinking an event of this magnitude. Michel Loris-Melikoff replaced Sylvie Ritter who has been in charge of Baselworld for the last 15 years, so it's pretty clear that there will be new wind blowing into Basel. The show organizers have announced that for the 2019 edition, they will focus on an entire day for media, "further innovations" for catering, hospitality and events, and strategies to reinvigorate the jewelry sector of the fair. Indeed, talking to people at Baselworld, one gets the idea that more structure and more hospitality is what is needed, which is why it can be argued that the right problems have been identified. Moreover, the organizers have announced that they are in talks with the hoteliers of Basel in order to make the city more economically appealing to those who come for the show. A more open approach is also something Baselworld could benefit from, in many ways, it seems that the fair is a connector of brands with buyers and press - which is, of course one of the purposes, but it may spark more interest if the attendees would be able to be somehow more connected. Maybe the media will day will have a bigger impact on that.

Baselworld is Keeping Us on Our Toes

The bleak news about Baselworld don't show the fact that the fair is still the go-to place for independent brands such as MB&F, Louis Moinet and Schwarz Etienne. These are labels that create truly stunning pieces and for whom it seems that a fair such as Baselworld is the right place to be.

The bottom line is that Baselworld organizers have their work cut out for them: they need to find key retailers, as this will make the big brands stay and they need to make it easier for the smaller brands to connect with their audiences, may it be through the press or in other ways.

Today we live in a world that is more and more open, but at the same time connected, and this is the change that must come to Baselworld as well.

"We want to conduct the fair in 2019 as attractively as possible, in a new style and with a new way of thinking," Loris-Melikoff said in a statement and we believe that they definitely can do it - in the end, a fair that is all about innovation and creativity should be able to redesign itself and stand up from the ground.

Times are changing for Baselworld and the 2019 edition will definitely be one of the most important editions of recent years, as there is a lot at stake, but at this moment, Baselworld has no choice but to change boldly and rapidly.

Fraquoh and Franchomme

Further reading:

Baselworld: The world in a watch (InCompany by Attire Club April 2018) Going to space: Baselworld 2018 edition An overview of Baselworld 2018 We'll meet you at Baselworld 2018!

P.S. We want to hear from you! What do you think of the changes at Baselworld? How do you think the fair will change? Will the Swatch Group return? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

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