Annual sourcing show Fashion SVP intends to add a second seasonal event from 2016 after a successful three days at London Olympia this week earned praise from exhibitors and visitors.
The event, now in its fourth year, brought together 50 suppliers from “near shore” production areas, including the UK, Portugal, Turkey, Romania, Lithuania and Egypt. Production and sourcing managers from major retailers such as Karen Millen, Jigsaw, LK Bennett, Thomas Pink, Marks & Spencer, Arcadia, Asos, Monsoon, F&F, All Saints and Mothercare, plus their counterparts from smaller designer names like Roland Mouret, attended.
There was praise for the free seminars on production issues which ran on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Speakers included Fay Tear, production director of Karen Millen, Liraz Golan, head of sourcing and production at LK Bennett, and Stephen McNamara, director of sourcing at German-based fashion chain Peek & Cloppenburg.
“This is my third time at the show and it’s improved every time; the quality of the suppliers it brings together is improving too,” said Jaeger sourcing manager Stuart Leon. “The seminars have been very, very good,” added Belinda Scott-Maberley, technical and production director at Jigsaw.
Among the exhibitors, a first-time participant was Howard Klepper, managing director of Manchester-based womenswear supplier Karpelle (which is a finalist in the Supplier of the Year category in the Drapers Awards 2014). “Most of my customers are based in London, but I can get to meet them in Hong Kong easier than I can get them to drive to Manchester, so I thought I would come and see them here, “ he said.
“Sunday was not for me as the visitors were almost all small designers, but I saw existing high street customers and made some new contacts on Monday. I will make a decision about coming back once I have assessed the performance over the three days.”
An enthusiastic exhibitor was womenswear producer Calvelex, which employs 700 people in three factories in Portugal and numbers Hobbs, Karen Millen and Jigsaw among its UK clients. “There should be more support for this show. I’d like to see a lot more factories here promoting European manufacturing; there is enough business for everyone. Our customers don’t have the time to run around to find us,” said César Araújo, who runs the family-owned concern with his brother Marco.
Event director Buzz Carter of organiser Idex Exhibitions (which also runs discount stock event Off-Price Show alongside Fashion SVP) told Drapers the growth in stature of the event had encouraged him to double the number of sessions. “From 2016 we will definitely add a spring edition, possibly at the end of March, but we always consult a panel of exhibitors and visitors about things like dates.”
He reported that the first two days of the show, which was about one third larger than in 2013, had seen 28% more visitors than last year.