MIDO is looking at the possibility of a putting on a new event in Rome in the first week of September. The organizers of the Milan fair insist that it would not be a new trade fair, but a “Business Forum” during which manufacturers and buyers would meet to look at what is new in terms of fashion and technology. MIDO is currently sounding out the manufacturers about the possibility of holding this forum on Sept. 5-7 at a new fairground near Fiumicino Airport. The event would be far less costly than a full-fledged trade show. A decision is expected following a meeting of MIDO’s board of directors to be held shortly.

The news didn’t go down too well in France, where observers fear that it may be detrimental to the participation of certain firms in SILMO, which suffered the pull-out last year of Safilo. Exhibitors and buyers complained about the timing of the fair, held in the midst of a public transportation strike at the same time as the World Rugby Cup, inflating the price of hotel accommodation. Furthermore, many Italian eyewear companies have been boycotting the SILMO d’Or awards, claiming that they have been systematically side-lined.

For the moment, representatives of SILMO have not expressed any open hostility to the Roman project, but the French eyewear portal Acuité said that a new eyewear event just eight weeks before SILMO could rob the Paris show of its primacy during the season by showcasing new models and launches for the Spring/Summer season, and lead to a drop in international visitors.

Some companies have new styles ready at the time in view of trade shows like Vision Expo West in Las Vegas, and some may not want to participate in both events for budget reasons. According to Acuité, which sees MIDO’s move as being directed mostly against the Asian trade shows held in the second part of the year, SILMO will no doubt remain a more international fair.
MIDO’s new chairman, Dan Levi, expresses surprise about these concerns. Stressing that no final decision has yet been made, he says that the aim of the proposed business forum is not to put on a new trade fair, but rather a meeting point prior to the launch of the new collections.

Separately, there has been some discussion recently about holding the regular MIDO show in mid-March, at the same time as MICAM and MIPEL, two large trade fairs for footwear and leathergoods being held at that time of the year. The idea resurfaced recently when the regional government of Lombardy decided to allocate a special budget to promote all the Milan shows related to the fashion sector.