Hot weather and widespread road closures in central London were being blamed for an under-par turnout of independent womenswear buyers at Pure and Scoop today (Sunday).
“It’s been steady” was the most common description from exhibitors about traffic across both events, Pure at Olympia and Scoop at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. The temperature reached 26° in the afternoon and sunny weather often discourages buyers from turning up. To add to the two organisers’ dismay, large parts of central London were closed for cycle races and taxis were in very short supply. Even seasoned London-dwellers had difficulty getting to the venues on time.
Ben Haywood, director of lifestyle brand Lily & Me at Pure, told Drapers: “Compared with February, when we were mobbed, it feels quiet, but maybe the summer shows are always going to be like this. I am not complaining but it will be interesting to see what it all adds up to at the end of the three days.”
There was no doubting the continued appeal of stockhouses for the indie contingent. At Whispering Smith, creative director Rohina Kumar said: “We’ve had a busy morning and we wrote a few good orders before lunch, which is always a good thing. Pure looks good; they have stepped it up since February.”
On a packed stand at Olympia, Sanjeev Kumar, director of Neon Rose, like Whispering Smith another Manchester-based stock specialist, said he had been busy seeing good accounts.
Agent Sandra Bibby, who was showing Dutch accessory brand Uzurii Luxury Footwear at Pure for the first time, also runs a womenswear store called Trip at Parkgate on The Wirral. She noted that even premium boutiques are spending money with stockhouses in-season rather than forward ordering. ”The sector is reasonably buoyant but retailers just don’t buy at shows like they used to. They prefer to get new things every week.”
Olivier Lievre, agent for Audley, who was showing at Pure’s new Premium Footwear section, also runs a fashion-and-footwear store, Olivier’s Lounge in Wandsworth Common. He was disappointed with the traffic in the new area and asked: “Where do buyers buy these days? Times are tough, of course, but I find it incredible that more independent retailers don’t come and see what is available, even if they don’t buy. Surely they would want to be ahead of the game?”
There are always mixed views when Pure and Scoop coincide exactly as they do this season, but many buyers find it convenient. Deryane Tadd, owner of Drapers Awards-winning independent The Dressing Room in St Albans, was devoting Sunday to Pure and Monday to Scoop. “Having them running together gives you a good overview of everything – there’s loads of great stuff across the two. I have put down a lot of orders with existing clothing suppliers at Pure and I have found a couple of new accessories brands. Pure is so strong on accessories – it’s really commercial and you know you are going sell it easily at a good margin.”
At Scoop, traffic also was slower than expected. Julie Macauley, creative director of costume jewellery brand John & Pearl, noted that buyers had been arriving late due to the traffic problems. By Sunday afternoon she had seen some good UK buyers but no international visitors.
For Danish brand Bitte Kai Rand, UK and Ireland country sales manager Rachel Wiles, told Drapers: “It’s been a good start. We’ve seen the people we were expecting so far but it hasn’t been overly busy on the top floor as people are slowly making their way around. It will be interesting to see the impact of Pure being at the same time but it’s still early to tell.”
Samantha Craddock, who was selling German brand Laurèl via her Brand Studio agency, said: “It’s been a nice start to the show with some great people here already.”
Pure, which has about 800 brands at Olympia, and Scoop, which has about 250 exhibitors at the Saatchi Gallery, run until Tuesday.