Next up in my series on the Creativeworld 2014 show that I attended in Frankfurt, Germany, last month, I want to take a look at how the culture and routine of the show differs from what attendees of the U.S. trade shows in the industry (especially the Craft & Hobby Association) are used to experiencing.
The differences start right from when you pack your suitcase and get dressed in the morning. The wardrobe that I packed for Creativeworld was very different than what I packed for CHA two weeks earlier – and not just because the weather in Frankfurt is the polar opposite (literally) of Anaheim.
For Anaheim I packed more casual, less conservative wear – jeans, and khaki pants are perfectly fine there, and plenty of personal style is on display on the show floor. Creativeworld’s unofficial dress code, however, is somewhat more narrow and dressy.
Instead of wearing khakis and golf shirts, a large percentage of men walked around in suits (or at least jackets). Alternatively, a really good sweater seemed to be an option. For women, dressier looks are mostly on display as well. A wardrobe of dress slacks or a skirt and sweaters seemed to be the rule for most women, and worked well for me all week. And whereas fabulous (preferably handmade) jewelry is the must-have accessory at CHA, in Frankfurt the must-have accessory for the show is a scarf.
Earth tones were the preferred fashion color palette I saw all around me. I stuck out like a neon sign riding the train every morning in my bright pink winter coat – I would literally be the only spot of color in a sea of brown, black and gray coats in the train car. Other riders eyed me with sharp sideways glances like they weren’t sure what to make of me!
For footwear, comfort has to be the rule at the Messe. I saw a lot of women wearing dress boots with their outfits. Personally, I opted for running shoes, the only viable option for that venue due to the arthritis in my feet. Paired with slacks no one seemed to pay much mind to my less than stylish footwear.
Business totes or briefcases are the luggage accessory of choice in the Messe – you won’t see rolling crates and craft totes there. The reason for this is two-fold. First, there is the strict emphasis on business style. Second, on a more practical level, they just aren’t needed to carry large volumes of paperwork and giveaway materials (I’ll address why in a moment.) I used my new leather SOLO Vintage Collection Bucket Tote. I also used it for CHA and am totally in love with it – it holds my laptop and plenty of other things very comfortably while staying on my shoulder very nicely, but folds almost completely flat to fit in my suitcase for the trip to the show.
This my best blending-in outfit that I wore all week: earth tones, sweater & slacks, scarf, and my leather tote.