Summer Trade Shows’ New Normal

For 2020, Functional Fabric Fair NY will shift to a virtual platform.

How we gather for trade events continues to evolve as spring gives way to summer. Shows slated for NYC in June and July are changing formats and dates, and for the first time in forever, the outdoor industry will not commune for an Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

In the case of the Functional Fabric Fair NY, the third time around is not the charm.

The July 2020 show, powered by Performance Days, has been rescheduled for January 2021. Launched in 2018, the Functional Fabric Fair NY got out of the blocks quickly as a go-to textile fair.

According to show organizer Reed Expositions, “For 2020, Functional Fabric Fair will shift to facilitating business connections through a virtual platform that will launch early summer and offers customers the opportunity to connect with each other through Matchmaking, appointment setting, and digital learning and development.”

Functional Fabric Fair Portland is currently scheduled to take place November 18-19, 2020 at the Oregon Convention Center.

The 2020 summer edition of Texworld USA and Apparel Sourcing USA will happen on a virtual platform. These co-located events along with Home Textiles Sourcing Expo will occur as a planned, July 21-23 with a digital exhibit presentation, including an online showroom featuring material innovations, that will allow visitors to chat with representatives about specific requirements, factory options and more, according to show management. A comprehensive educational program will run alongside.

“Amending the platform for this edition allowed us to be considerate of the changing textile industry and global business climate,” said Constantin von Vieregge, president and CEO of Messe Frankfurt North America, show organizer.

Both the Functional Fabric Fair New York and Texworld USA/Apparel Sourcing USA were going to be held, as per usual, at the Javitz Convention Center in Manhattan. That facility was retooled as a temporary hospital during the height of the coronavirus crisis in New York City.

Kingpins is another NYC textile show on the summer circuit that is changing with the times. Known as Kingpins24, the denim fair is set for June 23/24 and will feature a combination of on-demand and livestreamed content targeting the U.S.-based denim industry. Following on the heels of Kingpins24 Amsterdam, which debuted in April, the NYC edition will include product info, panels and webinars, trend reporting and conversation on industry issues.

And lastly, for those of us who were expecting to be in Denver this June for ORSM, there is Thin Air. This virtual brand and media event is billed as an interactive outdoor industry gathering — it is not intended as a replacement for the cancelled Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Tradeshow, but rather as something entirely new.

Thin Air is described as a virtual brand and media event that “has aligned with some of the most powerful brands, organizations, media and decision makers in the global outdoor industry.” Brands can create virtual show booths, while attendees can create avatars to navigate the 3D virtual environment to simulate an actual trade show environment.

According to Thin Air founder Erik Boles, Thin Air had already been in the works for several years and has nearly a half million dollars invested in the platform alone.

Thin Air will take place June 24-26, 2020. For more info, visit