A strong turnout from international buyers and a slick show set-up made up for slow footfall at alternative trade show LondonEdge this season.
The event, which took place on 4-6 September, showcased more than 220 alternative fashion and lifestyle brands at London’s Business Design Centre in Islington. It has returned to the venue after showing at London Olympia in February.
Exhibitors were impressed with the high numbers of international buyers at the event, particularly those from European countries including Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Kate Moses, sales assistant at reproduction vintage brand The Seamstress of Bloomsbury, said: “Today has been slow, but we’ve had quite a few UK buyers and a lot of European buyers, which is a big advantage for us as we do well in Europe and aim to sell a lot there.”
Buyers praised the mix offered at LondonEdge. Kate Ashwell, owner of Heartfelt Vintage in Bristol, said: “I’m only just starting to stock reproduction vintage at my shop so this is my first trade show, I normally spend my time rummaging around flea markets. It’s great to see so many relevant brands in one place and I’ve found some really good brands already.”
Despite a slower day on Monday, attendees were enthusiastic about the success and organisation of the event and the show’s venue. Catriona Stewart, managing director of Catriona Stewart Clothing, said: “The venue is great – it’s so accessible and there’s a really nice feel to the show. Everything about the show from the people to the brands and the organisation is so efficient and nicely done.”
However, some brands were disappointed at the layout. Samantha Peton, designer at Isolated Heroes, said: “The show is a good chance to network, but I wish they would bunch similar brands together in the space. The contemporary, young brands are very spread out.”
Katie Bergman, brand development at Californian footwear brand Bettie Page Shoes
“It’s not been super busy, but Sunday was better than Monday. The venue this time is better, as there’s so much more around it so the buyers seem to make a day of it. I’ve mainly seen my usual clients, I was hoping to see more new business so that is a little disappointing. There’s been a lot of international buyers, from the Netherlands and Spain, but it has mainly been UK based. We do a lot of domestic trade shows in the US and this is much better, it has a much nicer atmosphere.”
Benjamin Sors, production manager at retro french womenswear brand Pygmees & Turbowear
“We haven’t had a busy show really, but I think we don’t fit quite as well with the brand mix here as we had hoped. It’s our first time here and we were hoping for a more eclectic, rock and roll atmosphere. This and Pure are the first trade shows we’ve done in the UK, we usually only do Who’s Next in Paris. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success yet, but we’ve seen a lot of international buyers today in particular – from Belgium and Europe in general.
Catriona Stewart, designer and managing director of latex brand Catriona Stewart clothing.
“This is our third time at Londonedge but we don’t tend to get the kind of byers we’re looking for here. It’s a very specific market. Last February we did well because we called people to ask them to come. The show itself is really strong this year, the venue is great, it’s so accessible and there’s a really nice feel to the show. The event is doing a lot for the buyers as well, the catwalk is fantastic and has been very busy. Everything about the show from the people to the brands and the organisation is so efficient and nicely done. It’s a really nice space.”
Kate Ashwell, owner and buyer of Heartfelt Vintage in Bristol
“I came here looking for very particular brands and I’ve found just what I wanted. I’m only just starting to stock reproduction vintage at my shop so this is my first trade show, I normally spend my time rummaging around flea markets. It’s great to see so many relevant brands in one place and I’ve found some really good brands already. It seems quite quiet but I prefer being able to really look at the items and talk to the brands, so I’m glad it’s not too busy.”
Alex Ibsule, stylist and online sales at VWS vintage wholesale and EVintage
“It’s been really good for us so far, we’ve done a mix of individual item sales and big wholesale orders which is great for us as we’re really aiming to expand. It’s also very good for us to get our name out there a bit more. We’ve had such a positive reaction, we’re one of the few original vintage brands here and a lot of the reproduction items have very similar themes so people have said our originality is very good. Our position is great too as we’re right by the seminar space so we get a lot of passing footfall. We’ve mainly seen UK indies but there have also been a lot of EU buyers as well, which is great, and we’ve picked up some new stockists, which is great because we’re looking to expand in Europe.”
Samantha Peton, designer, womenswear brand Isolated Heroes
“This is our first year as a brand and so also our first here, and we’ve had a couple of orders already. It’s very quiet today, but yesterday was good and it’s a good chance to network. This is the only lifestyle show in the UK that’s really suited to our offering and it has a really good positioning. We’ve seen a lot of international buyers, from Italy and New Zealand who have been ordering with high minimums which is great. I only wish that they would bunch similar brands together in the show space, we’re surrounded by very diverse brands and I think that makes it feel quite scattered.”
Sunniver Perdersen, buyer for Norwegian vintage store Skadefryd
“The show has been really nice, better than I expected. This is the best trade show for us because it’s just the kind of clothes we’re looking for and nothing else, I’m very happy with the brand mix. There are a lot of brands I came to see after finding online, but that’s the advantage for me – you really need to see and feel the clothes. The show has a very good positioning with lots of good brands, I will absolutely come again.”
Karen Moses, sales assistant at reproduction vintage brand The Seamstress of Bloomsbury.
“This has been a really good show for us. Today is slower but there has still been some interest and in terms of sales the show has definitely been worthwhile for us. Personally I prefer this venue to Olympia, the setting and layout is much better. We have a really nice pitch here too, right by the catwalk. Yesterday there was a lovely atmosphere and it was nice and busy, but along with the weather today has taken a turn. Today has been slow but we’ve had quite a few UK buyers and a lot of European buyers, which is a big advantage for us as we do well in Europe and aim to sell a lot there.”