Exhibitors at alternative trade show London Edge were satisfied with the quality of buyers in attendance at the 40th edition of the exhibition, which took place at London’s Business Design Centre in Islington on 1 and 2 September.
Showcasing their spring 20 collections, more than 150 global exhibitors were present.
Despite a large number of European buyers – from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium in particular – there were fewer UK buyers in attendance this season, according to several brands.
Owner of Swedish retro clothing brand Daisy Dapper, Malin Hanning, said she had mostly seen smaller, international buyers: “This is my eighth year exhibiting at London Edge, as it’s great for attracting very niche, alternative buyers.
“We’ve mainly spoken to people from the European Union this year, including both new and current customers. It’s been a little bit slower in general, but I’m not disappointed and will return next year.
“I think Brexit is on everyone’s minds right now, and I’ve definitely noticed that our UK customers are a lot more cautious with spending. They’re holding back more than ever.”
The owner of one London-based sustainable brand agreed footfall was down on previous seasons: “The show has been a bit quiet this year, but we’ve seen some good potential customers and have taken a few orders, so we can’t complain. Buyers have mainly come from the EU, like Norway and Germany, which has been great exposure for us.”
The director of UK label Retuned, Sonia Au-Yeung, said: “This is my third time here and it’s definitely a bit quieter than normal but that’s not surprising given the difficult market conditions and the dreaded “B” word.
“Buyers are a lot more cautious and have come here with an agenda – they know exactly what they’re looking for and the price they’re prepared to pay. Brexit is undoubtedly taking its toll, but we can’t let it take over. Business must continue as always.”
However, Luiza Muszynska, wholesale account manager at vintage-inspired alternative label Collectif, said the stand was busy from when the doors opened on Sunday morning: “We’ve been exhibiting [at London Edge] for around 14 years, and it’s definitely our busiest show – it’s made for us.
“This season we launched our menswear line, which has really helped boost sales and interest in the brand. It’s also opened [Collectif] up to more customers, including menswear-only retailers and current clients whick stock both genders.”
Nicola Mary Wyatt, director of label Mary Wyatt London, welcomed buyers from Asos and German merchandise retailer EMP onto her stand.
“This has been a really good show. We’ve seen key buyers from Asos as well as lots more smaller boutiques from the EU, which has a strong alternative market.”
However, she added that trade shows in general were “dying”: “Monday, as normal, has been a lot busier than Sunday, but trade shows in general are dying. Buyers come here to see the clothes and have a chat – they don’t place orders anymore, all of that is done later on via email.”