The London fabric fair drew the crowds – from students to high-end designers
Textile Forum attracted a steady stream of visitors across two days (12-13 October) at One Marylebone in central London. Exhibitors praised a particularly busy first day that had packed stands, as buyers came to source luxury fabrics with low minimum orders.
The show, which turns 15 next year, offered more than 80 collections from the UK, France, Italy, the US and Japan, while exhibitor numbers rose from 42 to 44 across two floors.
“There are some great examples of innovation on show, such as Bennett Silks, which is the first UK firm to have won a prestigious prize at fabric fair Première Vision Paris; Bella Tela, which produces fabrics for a lot of the haute couture houses in Italy; and Laurent Garigue, which does some amazing directional wools,” said Linda Laderman, co-founder and organiser of Textile Forum.
Buyers in attendance came from firms including Harrods and Jasper Conran, while fashion designers, tailors, bridal specialists, costume designers and students browsed the range of woollens, silks, laces, cottons, prints and leathers, for daywear, eveningwear, bridalwear, lingerie, childrenswear and accessories. As well as fabrics, suppliers were also showing buttons, zips and labels, and demonstrating sampling and small-run garment manufacturing capabilities.
Leeds-based silk specialist James Hare noted interest for its guipure lace on crêpe-backed satin and white feather georgette, while Holland & Sherry launched its 180th anniversary collection of luxury fabrics woven from Super 180s, 14.5-micron yarns.
“Fabric suppliers may well have taken a hit because of the poor exchange rate, but they are still investing in their stock collections and offering even more choice of qualities for spring 17 and autumn 17,” said Laderman.
“The UK has always been in this situation with currency fluctuations and if you are looking at fabrics that are £40/m or even £350/m, then in reality the difference will be a small percentage of the total cost and that impact won’t be a huge issue,” she added. “Prices may increase, but I have not heard many people saying it is a huge issue at this stage so we just have to get on with it.”
View from the show:
BRITISH ALPACA FASHION COMPANy
“We have just launched a ‘one-stop shop’ design studio using our own specialist British alpaca yarns from our farm in Exmoor National Park in Somerset and state-of-the-art Shima Seika technology that can create virtual samples from any image or design. We can create various patterns or styles for small boutiques and designers in 100% alpaca or blends with linen, silk, cotton, merino or cashmere to create an interesting point of difference.”
Anila Preston, director at British Alpaca Fashion Company
THE SAMPLING UNIT
“We have been established for 15 years offering patterns, sampling and small production runs for high-end designers in north London and this is the first year we’ve done any trade shows. We did Meet the Manufacturer, Fashion SVP and Textile Forum, and this has been the best for us so far – lots of discussions with designers and costume designers. Since Brexit, we have had a lot of interest from US customers, which could be a coincidence but is good news nonetheless.”
Andrew Theodosiou, managing director of The Sampling Unit
“We’re seeing a lot more interest for lace trims, which should be big for spring 17 and going into autumn. We are the last lace manufacturer of our kind in the UK and still manufacture in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, with a few complementary French laces. Brexit could be potentially fatal for us. We get everything dyed in France, our yarn is from France and our main export market is into Europe, so I can’t imagine how we can get products back and forth without tariffs. It’s a worry.”
Charles Mason, managing director of lace manufacturer Cluny Lace
“It’s been a really busy show for us, probably even busier than last season. We’ve added a lot of new bridal and damask fabrics which have been proving very popular. Like the Marmite issue in Tesco, we have seen our costs go up because we source from China and Indian so new price lists are up about 10%, which means we are absorbing some of the increase too. Our customers seem to understand that we’re not profiting from it and that cost is probably not the biggest part of a designer item anyway.”
Will Steele, managing director at silk specialist Pongees