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Innovation is the focus at UKFT during 2011

Peter Lucas

Even well-established events such as Pitti Uomo need to innovate or risk being overshadowed by alternative shows. Last week’s exposition was full of new ideas to generate excitement for both exhibitors and visitors.

Even well-established events such as Pitti Uomo need to innovate or risk being overshadowed by alternative shows. Last week’s exposition was full of new ideas to generate excitement for both exhibitors and visitors.

The New Beat section, the Jane Carr pop-up shop and the Superdry pavilion were certainly worth a name check.

The need to continually innovate is what drives the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) team.

Over the past year we’ve done much to improve our branding and embarked upon a marketing campaign to improve awareness both within the industry and to external influencers. Our stand at Pitti Uomo was an example of this. For 2011, we plan to make a further step change to help grow the UK fashion and textile sector through commercial development, the advancement of jobs and skills and political representation.

In 2010 we took more than 700 companies to more than 40 overseas trade shows. We helped secure in excess of £1m worth of help for our industry’s export effort and as part of our ongoing lobbying activities we will be fighting hard to ensure the industry receives a similar level of support this year. In 2011, we will see the development of specialist UKFT promotions in key markets. We will also continue to grow and develop our seminar programme. To help boost members’ international sales we will study both established markets as well as some ‘newer’ ones.

On the broader business front, we want to address topical issues such as multichannel retailing and the environment, and look at what the sourcing landscape might be in 2020. UKFT seminars are presented by specialists from our industry. They offer a unique insider’s view as to what works and, just as importantly, what doesn’t. Watch this space.

Peter Lucas is chairman of the UK Fashion & Textile Association

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