At Who’s Next, the What’s Up space gathers the coolest Streetwear, sneakers and accessories brands to keep on the radar, between unisex fashion, sportswear and lifestyle.
This season, Umbro makes its grand entrance in this space, under the Royer group (Kickers, Creepers…) banner. On site, the brand was impossible to miss, as a constant crowd was gathered in front of the booth where Nolan, a soccer freestyler, executed some acrobatic tricks.
Also a first-timer, Caterpillar presented, a few steps from there, its new Gen Z dedicated lines and its upcoming collaborations. Jessica Gomis, Operation Marketing Manager for the Royer group, tells us about these two Who’s Next newcomers, and Hughes Amani, Marketing and Communication Manager for Umbro, details the brand’s strategy for the upcoming seasons.
It’s almost surprising to see brands like Umbro and Caterpillar here, why this choice to be present this year?
Jessica Gomis: Who’s Next is a major B2B event and the group has already being present for a few seasons, with Diadora and Kickers. We’ve had excellent results, with new account openings and a good turnover. So this time we decided to expand the team with Umbro and Caterpillar, in order to increase their visibility among the professionals, the press, the influencers, and to show that they are at the heart of this fashionable universe.
So, this is a real challenge for you in terms of image.
Jessica Gomis: Absolutely. Being here allows these brands to defend their legitimacy to a high-end audience while standing out from other exhibitors. That is why we bet on strong activations, such as Nolan’s presence on the Umbro booth.
What new directions do you want to develop for these brands?
Hugues Amani: Umbro is rooted in the sports culture with a strong attachment to soccer, and has been a partner of England’s rugby team since 2020. It has also made a name on the fashion scene through collabs with Avnier, Off-White or Vetements, and soon with MTV. So we developed a dedicated line, inspired by sports but more style-focused, to offer a new solid base to these partnerships.
Jessica Gomis: With Caterpillar, we are pushing the premium lifestyle angle to its peak. Especially with the Re Powered line, with its large soles and fun color that offer cool, genderless products for the Gen Z. We also show a preview of our BOTH Paris collab and of our new collab with Nigel Cabourn, whose last iteration worked very well.
What is the right strategy to re-launch such brands in the fashion landscape?
Hugues Amani: Up to this day in France, Umbro was present in specialized department stores. We are now increasing our presence in stores such as Citadium, Printemps or Galeries Lafayette, to gain visibility and show that we are legitimate on the fashion field, which reaches a younger audience who considers sport as a lifestyle.
Jessica Gomis: As for Caterpillar, we rely a lot on image. For this first Who’s Next, we designed the hosts and hostesses’ shoes, to introduce our presence and our upcoming news. The idea is for the brand to always be where it is not expected: for instance, we will launch a line inspired by the metaverse in April, for which influencers will have the possibility to create exclusive NFTs.
So, did this Who’s Next edition meet your expectations?
Jessica Gomis: Completely. Visitors are pleased to see Umbro and Cat here, curious about their updates, and most of all, they are delighted with the creativity of the collections and the quality of the products. It is very encouraging for us to have such live feedbacks.