Despite their best efforts, the rain, wind and snow of the past months did not dampen the enthusiasm of buyers and suppliers, and the selling season ended on a reasonably positive note.
Paris again confirmed its position as the most popular location for womenswear companies to wrap up sales to international and tier- one UK buyers. More than 200 companies headed to the French capital for the final push in the selling cycle. And for menswear, even generally lower attendances at Pitti Uomo and Bread & Butter could not disguise a positive attitude overall.
The new year’s extreme weather conditions mirrored the extreme business decisions that retailers and manufacturers alike needed to make to ensure their survival for another season. Conversations with young designers are now more likely to parallel those had with the more established brands. They include debates on the importance of preserving margins rather than chasing orders; the difference a great credit controller can make; and being more selective about who really are the best retailers to sell to. Suddenly, the focus is on the business side of their operation as well as finding the must-have fabric for the next new look. And that is how it needs to be.
Industry recognition is also becoming a more important part of the sales and marketing package, which is why we were not surprised that almost 100 companies entered the UK Fashion & Textile Export Awards. We are looking forward to our Awards lunch and presentation on Thursday, May 13 and hope that many Drapers readers will want to enjoy a great industry event and celebrate success. Details are available at www.ukft.org.