Established names thrived and independent buyers dominated at a steady season for UK trade show Moda, which ran on 5-7 August at the NEC in Birmingham.
More from: Consistency is king at a steady Moda
The first day of the spring 19 edition of the show started slowly as crowds drifted through the doors on a sweltering August Sunday. Nevertheless, exhibitors seemed generally positive, and several signed orders and secured new accounts before lunch time.
Independent retailers from the UK and Ireland dominated the visitor mix, and many brands were anticipating Monday and Tuesday to be far busier.
There was a muted buzz in the aisles of the show, and the central mainstream womenswear brands and footwear offer were particularly busy. Buyers and brands highlighted Moda’s importance as a footwear show, and more than one named it as the most important UK show for footwear.
Crowds gathered at stands including womenswear brands Latte and Lizabella and footwear brand Superga. Towards the back of the hall the crowds thinned considerably, particularly in the menswear area, despite the lure of the Moda runway show area, which included catwalk shows and panel discussions from BIRA (British Independent Retailers Association) and others discussing topics such as influencer marketing, online retail and blogging.
Pastel colours and heavy embellishment were popular on the womenswear stands. Several brands also highlighted their sustainable credentials, including Thought Clothing and newcomers Bombay Hemp Co and The Bamboo Wardrobe.
In menswear, streetwear styles stood out, and there were many examples of graphic prints and sporty items throughout.
Most buyers were focused on established names, and the buzzword of the show seemed to be consistency, rather than newness. Buyers were regular Moda attendees visiting to network and place orders with their established brands. Several buyers lamented the relative scarcity of exciting new names in the exhibitor line-up compared with other trade shows in the UK and Europe, which specifically showcase or focus on upcoming brands.
The event was the first Moda exhibition since owner ITE acquired rival trade show Pure London, and the merger was a hot topic on the stands. Unlike at Pure and Scoop, where buyers stressed the need for diversity and distinction between the events, the dominant hope at Moda was for a more consolidated trade show offering. Buyers and exhibitors alike noted that one large event could make trade shows a more appealing prospect for buyers – with newness and big names all under one roof.
Overall, the sense was one of satisfaction, not excitement: attendees found the show as they expected, and hoped that the background shifts may trigger the addition of more shine to the show in seasons to come. A solid and steady season at Moda, but not a dazzling one.