Brands welcomed the positive attitude of buyers on the second and third days of Moda from February 16-17, reporting a renewed interest in new or different labels as independent retailers look to stand out from the competition.
“A year ago the buyers we were meeting at exhibitions were not looking for new brands,” said Nigel Addison, managing director of young fashion menswear label Duck and Cover.
“This season, more and more buyers are looking at their businesses in more detail, analysing the winning brands and those which are not working. More importantly, they are defining gaps in their product porfolios and are now looking for the right brand to fill those gaps.”
George Remmler, international sales manager for menswear brands Carl Gross and S4, said: “We’re finding the market is saturated with a lot of big brands and buyers are looking for something different – the market has quite a bouncy feel at the moment.”
This was echoed by Michael Black, owner of womenswear label Latte, who reported his busiest ever day at an exhibition with the collection on Sunday, which was then surpassed on Monday. “I think buyers are looking for edgy, innovative collections which offer value for money to stand out from other stores. It is not easy at the moment, but there is a lot more positivity out there, which is nice to see.”
Many brands said the first day, Sunday, was the busiest, while Monday remained a steady and it was quieter on Tuesday, as expected for the three-day show.
Carol Capener, owner of Carol C Collections, which distributes womenswear brands including French label Ana Nonza, Italian label Emozioni D’a Mare and New Zealand brand Foil, said: “It was very buzzy on Sunday and steady all through Monday. This morning has been quieter as it always is.
“We’re finding buyers are nervous about ordering coats because they had so many left from last season. We’re expecting to do a lot of in season repeats again.”
Daniel Cook, key account manager at Aigle, said he was pleasantly surprised with the diversity of regional retailers from across the UK, particularly pointing to a good turnout from Scotland and Ireland.
“The conversations we are having are a lot more upbeat than they were 12 months ago,” he said. “There’s a lot more positivity out there.”
Michèle Poynter, owner of independent lingerie retailer Mish in St Leonards, Cornwall, said: “There have previously been some worries about it not being too busy but it has been good this season. I have spoken to some of the brands I stock like Wacoal and Panache, and a couple of new ones.
“I was hoping to pick up some new hosiery and chemises, but it was a bit limited. However, it is good to be able to compare ranges and pick up trends – there’s a lot of cobalt blue for later in the autumn 15 season.”
This season was the biggest edition of Moda menswear in terms of number of exhibitors, while organisers ITE Moda pointed to new names such as performance label Helly Hansen in the footwear area and Italian label Mama B in the womenswear area.
“As with last season, we are really happy with the quality of buyers that has come through the door,” said portfolio director Nick Cook. “It has been widely reported that the mild weather last season meant it difficult across the industry but most of our exhibitors felt that the mood was better than expected and there’s a feeling that things are going to get a bit better.”
Moda took place at the NEC in Birmingham from February 15-17.