Mmgnet Group’s Plans to Connect and Empower the Fashion Industry

Informa Markets Fashion, now Mmgnet Group, is launching a new parent company to deliver the company’s strategic shift into a year-round fashion market insights resource, in addition to innovating the activities of B2B fashion events like Magic, Coterie and Project in the US. The shift is reflective of the company’s mission to cater for the fashion industry at large and serve as a connection point for the group’s portfolio and their diverse communities.

Mmgnet’s new product offerings include trend reporting, industry insights and business resources that provide a steady stream of inspiration-led or analytical content. This output will include programming additional key moments for the wider industry to connect and innovate together throughout the year, alongside a suite of enhanced digital marketing opportunities. Its purpose is to help connect, inform and empower the industry.

With its well-established history in American and international fashion markets, Mmgnet Group is tapped into an expansive community from which it both gathers — and shares — data-led knowledge, trends and insights. In 2023 alone, the brand’s events attracted nearly 100,000 retailers, buyers, press, influencers and other industry professionals to attend the brand industry events across the US. Its digital reach and online communities already consists of over 600,000 industry professionals representing fashion retail, brands and design, sourcing and manufacturing, marketing and creative, education and more.

Now, BoF sits down with Kelly Helfman and Teodora Nicolae to learn more about Mmgnet Group, its evolved offering and community-led focus moving forward.

What led to the decision to transition Informa Markets Fashion to Mmgnet Group?

President of Mmgnet Group, Kelly Helfman

Kelly Helfman: There are more challenges than ever within the fashion industry as a whole and we asked ourselves: how do we solve for this? Over the past few years, we conducted market research, customer surveys and held conversations within and outside of our existing communities and we realised that, while we can’t solve for everything, we can deepen the connections we make and take that to the next level in order to help the industry find the answers and support they need.

At the heart of Mmgnet, our purpose is about arming people with knowledge and opportunities, whether it is in-person at our live events or digitally, outside of those events. We want to connect our audience across segments year-round — this is what our customers have been saying that they need.

Why does your community and a wider cross section of the industry need more expansive data and programming?

Teodora Nicolae: Gut feelings form a huge part of decisions made in the fashion industry, but if you want to run a profitable, better business, you must make informed decisions. We will still provide our trend programme with the colour palettes, the silhouettes and the higher-level aesthetic inspiration, but we also want to provide a wider range of industry data and insights, including technology, sustainability, consumer and retail trends.

The key words here are “actionable insights” — we want to help people make better business decisions moving forward, to give our customers and our communities a better understanding of what’s happening within different markets and the industry in general. No one needs more data without context, so that important next step is how to contextualise it — to connect the dots and make it actionable, whether you’re a small start-up designer or a large fashion brand.

No one needs more data without context, so that important next step is how to contextualise it — to connect the dots and make it actionable.

KH: It will be exciting to bring together, both online and offline, different communities to discuss the results and trends that we are seeing, to talk about the future of this business digitally as well as in-person. We reached and engaged almost a million people last year. That’s a huge digital platform with a lot of opportunity.

SVP of Communications at Mmgnet Group, Teodora Nicolae

How do you collect and share the data that informs your insights?

TN: It’s a combination of surveying, market research, forecasting — and we collect data on a global level as well as the regional level in North America. It is also about anecdotal conversations we have with our communities. We are well-positioned to collect this information with our live events and industry gatherings. We also work with the right partners who understand what’s happening in the industry.

KH: What we have always done well is connect with our community in-person, talking to them and understanding their pain points in the different market sectors and on a global scale. At Coterie, for example, we have over 30 countries represented and we often hear from the buyers and manufacturers there about the challenges they face producing under different governmental rules and regulations. With Mmgnet, we can now create this connection both digitally and in-person.

TN: And to connect smaller cohorts across our segments, we can also start testing and piloting new formats, new products. For example, we intend to create in-person, intimate community events during fashion weeks or in specific segments of the market, such as bringing together those who are passionate about sustainability in sourcing, to discuss what’s happening in the industry, what’s relevant, what’s of interest to them.

How is Mmgnet working towards profitable responsibility?

KH: We have a big responsibility, as an industry partner and resource for the community, around sustainability and social responsibility. We look at how we can further support designers to produce and manufacture more responsibly through strategic partnerships with non-profits, for example.

What we have always done well is connect with our community in-person, talking to them and understanding their pain points in the different market sectors and on a global scale.

We have had great programmes with verification of sustainable brands under UN standards. In 2020, we launched a programme called Fashion for Change, through which we support and sponsor minority-owned emerging brands to come to our shows. We offer consulting, mentorship and resources — it’s a nurturing process throughout a couple of shows to meet great retailers. We are going to continue to enhance that, with new pillars under the Fashion for Change programme.

TN: We are using the term “profitable responsibility” because we believe that those two things are not mutually exclusive. While we don’t necessarily know what the answer is to get to that “nirvana,” as we like to call it, we are committed to trying to figure it out together — and we do believe it is possible.

What is in the pipeline for 2024 and beyond?

TN: This isn’t just a new brand launch. We want to make sure that everything we intend to do, we do. To begin with, we will be releasing our first actionable insights report soon on “2024 US Fashion Consumer Outlook”, which is a rich piece of content. It is representative of the type of insights, programming and content that we want to continue to provide year-round.

KH: We will announce some of these community meet-ups outside of our market cycles in the next month or so, which we intend to align with many other major global moments, even outside of fashion. We are also looking at how to grow our verified sustainable and IMFC programmes, on which we will announce more soon. And finally, we are exploring ways to better power up our true matchmaking programmes moving forward.

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