Weekly Insights: Fashionable Exhibiting

We’re in the middle of Fashion Week Season around the world, but did you know that fashion can play a role in your exhibiting? (And no, you don’t even need to sell apparel or accessories!)

Over the years, I’ve seen various trade shows take a cue from the fashion world. There have been runway-style fashion shows of all kinds of products:

  • Newly-published books carried down a runway by models dressed according to the book’s topic (from a publisher at BookExpo America, but could also work with many other types of products)
  • Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show at NPE2015 (which we covered previously, or you can check out a more in-depth article from FlexPackMag.com)
  • Work boots and safety goggles were the featured looks at ASSE’s 2015 Safety Expo fashion show
  • There’s even a catwalk (or dogwalk) at the Rocky Mountain Pet Expo!
  • And of course for those who do sell apparel, there are fashion shows at bridal expos as well as at Surf Expo and the Outdoor Retailer shows (and probably many other industry shows)
Not your typical runway in a booth at HD Expo (photo by Marlys Arnold)

Not your typical runway in a booth at HD Expo (photo by Marlys Arnold)

I’ve also seen exhibitors get creative in their displays as well. The publisher mentioned above had mannequins in the booth holding the books throughout the show.

But one of my all-time favorites was at HD Expo, the show for designers in the hospitality industry. An upholstery fabric exhibitor decided to create runway-style fashions from drapery and furniture fabrics, then set up a mini runway of mannequins in their booth. It definitely showed off their inventory in a fun and fresh way!



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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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