Is ITA’s ‘no-weekend’ Interwoven market a precursor of things to come?
HIGH POINT — When the International Textile Alliance announced the new calendar dates for Interwoven earlier this week, one noticeable difference from previous years was the absence of weekend days on the schedule.
Beginning with the fall edition of Interwoven, show dates will take place during the work week, allowing buyers to avoid weekend travel and underscoring the ongoing work/life balance conversation that became a mainstream topic of conversation during and after the pandemic.
“We’ve had a few members asking for this for quite a while,” said Carrie Dillon, managing director for ITA. “People don’t want to be away from their families, and Sunday has 40% less attendance than the other days of the show, so buyers are showing us that they aren’t as engaged on Sunday. So we decided to make the change.”
Dillon noted that travel and restaurant factors were also part of the decision.
“Airfares have changed, so there isn’t the same benefit there once was,” she said. “Additionally, a lot of restaurants in the area are not open on Sundays, so both the buyers and exhibitors have better dining options during the week.”
Although proportionally a significantly smaller event than the biannual home furnishings markets, ITA is tapping into current dialogs about future business evolutions, the new normal post-pandemic and the next generation of employees described by Forbes as a “collective catalyst for change.”
“Our No. 1 goal is to attract new buyers,” Dillon said. “We have younger buyers coming into the industry, and this helps attract those who don’t want to be away on weekends.”
ITA is also building its content offerings to become an educational resource on textiles and leathers for buyers who want to learn more about the category. For the May show, the educational theme will be “The Language of Textiles,” and Dillon is curating content to encompass some of “the basics” that might benefit new buyers.
“We’re working on the final sessions over the next few weeks, but I’m thinking we’ll have a seminar about matching fabric to frame, different testing methods, leather 101 and a fiber discussion,” Dillon said. “We’ll also have Fashion Snoops and maybe something on old textiles or finishes.”
Find more information on Interwoven here.