Exhibitors at the Designer-Manufacturer Innovation Support Centre (Disc) trade show in London enjoyed a steady flow of “serious” visitors following on from the organiser’s efforts to weed out student attendees.
The fourth bi-annual event on April 23, which gathers small to medium British manufacturers, saw a drop in visitor numbers, from 1,000 at the last show in October 2014 to 750, however exhibitors noticed an increase in the quality of people visiting stands.
Nichole de Carle, owner of her own eponymous lingerie and swimwear brand, told Drapers: “We’ve seen fewer chains this year and an increase in smaller independents, but all are looking to do business.
“We met a lot of people looking for opportunities to extend their product lines, for example bridal shops wanting to produce lingerie and clothing brands wanting to get in on activewear.”
The organisers also implemented a time-zoned entry system for the first time, allocating time slots to visitors who signed up online.
Jenny King, owner of her own embroidery business which has worked for the likes of Stella McCartney and Erdem, said the move helped avoid stands being overwhelmed with a rush of people.
“There’s been a steady flow rather than ups and downs which we like. We’ve definitely noticed fewer students and more serious attendees, which also makes it good to be here for networking.
“What we do is so specialist that we’re not in competition with other manufacturers here and in some cases we’ve worked alongside them on something so it’s great to catch up.”
Designers, some of whom were attending for the first time and looking to place small orders, said the range of business sizes on show made the event accessible to them.
Former C&A menswear designer Paula Dale, who recently started her own menswear label said: “I came to see who could produce for me as I look to expand because at the moment I’m doing it all myself. It’s actually quite difficult to find suppliers so it’s good to be in a room where they’re all gathered and the smaller businesses here don’t mind taking orders for lesser volumes and sampling.”
Jennifer Davies, head of sales for menswear designer Nabil Nayal, who was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize in February, added: “[Nabil] wanted to establish where he was going before meeting with buyers. Within what we do there are a lot of intricate pieces so it’s hard to find someone who can do everything in house. It’s been great to come here so my next step is to feed back and set up meetings with Nabil and the people I’ve met here.”
Disc launched in October 2013 and is organised by the Dean of the Graduate School at London College of Fashion Wendy Malem.