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Asian buyers dominate day one of Who's Next

Brands exhibiting at this season’s Who’s Next trade show in Paris noted a prevalence of Japanese and other international buyers, while only a handful of British customers made the trip.

“We write nearly all of our Japanese business here,” Samir Ebrahim, commercial director of Charli, told Drapers. “Asia is an important market for us.”

Bruno Pfalzgraf, sales and marketing directing for Bellerose, said he’d seen fewer Italian and Spanish buyers than normal, and more from France, Belgium and Japan. “But we have a showroom in France, so international is more important to me,” he explained.

By 4:30pm, the three tables in Bellerose’s stand were full of customers making orders and Pfalzgraf said it had been busy throughout the day. “Who’s Next is good because it’s very commercial. We were at Capsule [in Paris] last week and it was a bit dry; you make good contacts, but you never take orders.”

He said he was hoping for more buyers from southern Europe and from department stores between now and the final day of Who’s Next on July 7.

Most brands Drapers spoke to had been visited by at most a handful of UK buyers. “British buyers are travelling less, cutting back,” said Ebrahim.

Overall, the mood on day one was positive, with many brands welcoming the mix of international buyers. But for Orla Kiely, the day got off to a bad start after a dress and two wallets were stolen overnight.

Audrey Khew, head of sales and marketing for the brand, said the show had seemed quieter than normal. She added that the timing of Who’s Next did not suit Orla Kiely, which shoots its spring 15 collection in September.

“We haven’t been able to sell our spring collections, so we’re showing our resort collection. Customers are confused because they think it’s small, particularly because people are showing their full collections next to us.

“If we were showing our main collection, this is where we would take the bulk of our business.”

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