The 44th annual Showcase event officially launched on the 19th January 2020 at Dublin’s RDS welcoming buyers from 26 countries worldwide keen to engage with over 400 brands exhibiting at the show which has become one of Ireland’s largest and most important trade fairs over the past four decades. The show was officially launched by Dr. Orlaigh Quinn, Secretary General at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation alongside the world premier of the short fashion film Só by acclaimed director and photographer Boo George and art director and stylist Paula Hughes.
Dr. Orlaigh Quinn, Secretary General at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation officially launches Showcase 2020. Photograph: Leon Farrell, Photocall Ireland.
The event, which runs until Wednesday sees over 400 creative brands exhibit including over 50 brands who are newcomers to the event. Showcase, one of Ireland’s largest international trade fairs attracts buyers from both Ireland and around the world who are interested in brands across fashion, jewellery and the home and gift sectors. Over 2,760 buyers are expected to attend the event which has seen a leap in registration from US buyers alone of 24 percent since last year. In 2019, orders generated over four days at the show amounted to €25.1m equating to annualised sales of 159.2m in 2019. Strong sales are expected at this year’s event thanks in part also to promotional events worldwide with the support of Enterprise Ireland, events and film screenings in New York and Tokyo and a direct marketing campaign in Germany since last year’s event.
A model wears a coat by The Dualist with silk trousers and blouse by Reuben Avenue. Photograph Leon Farrell, Photocall Ireland.
An inspirational short fashion film, entitled Só, premiered after the official launch of Showcase in the morning. Created to celebrate the beauty and relevance of Irish-made textiles, accessories and apparel, the film was commissioned by Design & Crafts Council Ireland and direction by acclaimed fashion photographer Boo George with art direction by Paula Hughes. Commissioned by Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) to raise the profile of luxurious Irish made textiles, accessories and apparel, ‘Só’ in the Irish language is pronounced ‘sow’ and refers to ‘comfort’, ‘luxury’ or ‘ease’. The film follows a young couple as they travel around Ireland and weaves the beauty of the Irish landscape with the incredible Irish fashion design it inspires.
(Right to Left) Fashion director and stylist Paula Hughes and film director and photographer Boo George at the launch of the fashion film Só today. Photograph: Leon Farrell, Photocall Ireland.
A key element of Showcase 2020, as in previous years, is the Design Ireland area which can be found in the Main Hall as one enters the fair. Presented by Design & Crafts Council Ireland, this area features the work of 67 leading designers and makers, carefully selected by a jury of international retail experts for their creativity, innovation, craftsmanship and market potential.
Over the course of the next three days in Dublin visitors to Showcase can also avail of the extensive programme of lunchtime seminars held each day. These daily seminars will focus on a range of topics from multi-channel selling to harnessing the power of your smartphone to make videos to boost your business.
Sisters, fashion journalist and stylist Corina Gaffey and photographer Naomi Gaffey attend the opening of Showcase 2020. Photograph: Leon Farrell, Photocall Ireland.
Upstairs on the balcony at the RDS the Local Enterprise Showcase presents unique products from emerging and young brands around Ireland who have been supported by their Local Enterprise Offices around the country who have assisted them with supports such as mentoring and funding. Kieran Comerford, chair of the Local Enterprise Offices Exhibitions Committee, said at the show that many of the exhibitors on the balcony at the RDS were just in the beginning stages of their businesses while others has exhibited before and were keen to build on their experience of previous years. “They have the chance to potentially make business and life changing deals so it’s an exciting few days ahead for our clients,” said Comerford. “
A scene from the fashion film Só directed by Boo George with art direction by Paula Hughes.
“This world-class fair focused on Irish creativity is instrumental to sustaining and developing Ireland’s innovative design and craft sector which makes an immense contribution to our economy and culture and provides vital sustainable employment in every region. Showcase offers trade buyers a unique opportunity to meet with hundreds of enterprising Irish companies, ranging from brand new start-ups to family businesses established for generations,” Dr. Orlaigh Quinn, Secretary General at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation said. “For exhibitors keen to diversify or extend their market presence internationally, this is where they can connect with buyers from around the world and secure orders, enabling them to build resilience and maximise their potential to scale and grow. I look forward to seeing the design and craft sector continue to evolve through the exciting opportunities that Showcase presents and wish all those involved a fruitful event this year.”
Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo®️ runs until Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at Dublin’s RDS.