Fashion SVP, the sourcing show for near-shore suppliers, got off to a promising start at Olympia on Tuesday.
Now in its fifth season, the annual event attracted around 80 exhibitors from 14 countries, representing 150 or so manufacturers and textile mills. The roster has grown about 40% since 2014.
James Lakeland, best known for his premium womenswear brand that shows at Pure London, was at the event looking for private-label customers for a factory that he co-owns in Carpi, Italy. “I have had a joint venture with our factory for 20 years and in the past we have done a bit of private label with people as varied as Harrods and Ede & Ravenscroft. The first day has been amazing for making contacts – we have had about 25 companies on the stand, including Amanda Wakeley and Benetton.
“I came here with zero expectations but I have been very surprised and I am feeling very positive. We have had a lot of little companies that might not be taken seriously by some suppliers, but we will take them seriously. I know what it is like to be small, looking to buy just 1,000 pieces.”
First-time exhibitor Garlita, a sophisticated flat-bed knitting specialist from Lithuania, confirmed that Fashion SVP attracts a strong representation of small design-led concerns, but it was also surprised at the number of worthwhile enquiries made. “We have been really surprised by the number of potential new customers. It’s been very similar to what we saw in the Knitwear Solutions section of Première Vision recently,” said Rita Norviliene, who runs the business founded by her father with her twin sister Rasa Staneviciene. “It is not just about the UK market; we have met people from Switzerland and Sweden too.”
Back for the second season is Calvelex, a Portuguese manufacturer that has a range of UK clients including Karen Millen and L K Bennett. Elsa Pereira from Calvelex told Drapers: “We are here to see new clients, not existing ones. There have been a lot of start-ups here today looking for companies to make their collections. We would struggle with some of the minimums, but these are people that are aware of the market, not students.”
This season Fashion SVP moved from a Sunday start to a Tuesday start, which improved attendance, according to Buzz Carter of organiser Idex Media. It also cut back from three days to two. “We are aiming to attract the medium-to-upper companies in the high street plus boutique buyers who are big enough to want to order own-label lines, and, of course, designers, “ he said. “Last season put us on the map and this season we have benefited from the momentum we have created through pro-active marketing.”
• Next year, Fashion SVP will run on new dates, based on requests from buyers. It will be held on 28-29 June and 15-16 November.