During Fabric Lag, Decorex Opts for Accessories
December 31, 1999
Syon Park, England (UK) — The twenty-second annual Decorex, held in West London's Syon Park from 8-12 September, featured 208 exhibitors and drew over 14,000 visitors from countries around the world. One portrait that emerged from the show was the general dissatisfaction of fabric and furniture exhibitors. A general lag in the U.K.'s fabrics industry and Decorex's growth the last few years into a more accessory-oriented show kept away visitors shopping for fabrics and furnishings products and hurt the few who exhibited those products. The change in the show's profile, however, may be reflective of a more general theme. "Go to any restaurant in London," said one show-goer, "and you won't see fabric anywhere." Decorex Press Editor Judith Boniface echoed those sentiments. "The trend is away from fabrics in general," she said. "The exhibitor base has shifted from fabrics and furnishings to accessories." Subsequently, Decorex, which is usually held on the same dates as Focus, scheduled itself two weeks prior. "We decided to move our date two weeks earlier because fabrics doesn't have the money to spend on exhibition space," said Boniface. Decorex organizers claim that changing the schedule this year gave accessories exhibitors a longer lead time to enter the Christmas market. But other exhibitors were unhappy that the show tailored its schedule at their expense to meet the needs of accessories exhibitors. Several fabrics exhibitors at Decorex '99 felt the loss of synergy between the two shows. "The timing has been disastrous," said Nouveau Owner and Designer Nigel A. Thompson. "Everyone's going to go to Focus. This is not frequented enough by fabrics buyers and the timing has hurt business tremendously." Thompson, like several other exhibitors said they're considering returning to Decorex next year only because the show plans to return to its former dates. "The show [Decorex '99] has been very quiet," said Alfredo Martinez, Export Manager at Marcus Lightfowler. "We may participate next year because the dates of this show will coincide with Focus." In other Decorex news, Boniface said that beginning in 2000, Decorex will move its location to the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Boniface said Decorex organizers hope the show will benefit from being held in the same place as the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. "It's in the center of London, so people will have an easier time getting to it," said Boniface. "After 10 years, it was time to do something different." With the new site next year, Decorex will resume the old date, running simultaneously with Focus and 100% Design. The Royal Hospital site is nearer than Syon Park to Chelsea Harbour, the Focus venue. The Decorex USA show will also move to a new location. After four years in Chicago, Decorex USA is relocating to New York City in May, 2000. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan will host the event concurrently with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), also in the Javits Center. Decorex organizers believe that ICFF will be complementary to Decorex USA. "The conjunction of the ICFF and Decorex USA will immediately create an event which will become an essential calendar date for the American design professionals," said Ian Thompson, President of Decorex USA Ltd.