Men’s footwear brands have vented their frustration after Birmingham trade show Moda revealed it was shifting its menswear section to Pure London.
Earlier this month Moda announced it was moving Moda Gent to join Pure London’s menswear offer, Pure Man, from February 2019. The move follows the sale of Pure London to Moda’s owner ITE Group in July, and is the first significant change under its new ownership.
However, the move has upset men’s footwear brands who have questioned how the potential fall in traffic from menswear buyers will impact orders.
“It’s concerning as quite a lot of clients do men’s clothing, too,” said Derek Moore, chief executive of London Brogues, which is already signed up to the February edition of Moda.
“A lot of our clients are menswear [retailers], as that’s where the market is going, as retailers become one-stop shops offering grooming and footwear. If we don’t have a good Moda in February, then we might not be back.”
He added that he would not be tempted to exhibit footwear at Pure: “In the footwear [industry], it doesn’t have a good name.”
Philip Marsh, managing director of boat shoe brand Chatham, which is also showing at Moda in February, echoed Moore’s concerns: “It puts men’s-focused brands in a difficult position. It did concern me [when I heard about the move].
“Footwear draws in those from men’s clothing. We would consider whether to do Moda or Pure in future. We might have to do both – we’ll have to discuss it.”
Others questioned if the changes would result in an overall drop in footwear.
Christopher Gorrod, managing director of Brevitt Rieker, the UK arm of the Rieker Group, said: “For us as a brand we don’t deal with a lot of clothing retailers, but we need as many people as possible [to visit the show]. If they reduce areas that create demand, then that is concerning. Anything that reduces footfall is not great.”
Similarly Unisa UK sales agent Sam Hunt said that, although the changes will not affect the women’s footwear brand directly, the atmosphere will be impacted: “One reason we do Moda is that there’s a buzz around the show and I think that may go, which will be a bit of a shame.”
However, some menswear buyers said the move was logical.
“Going to London makes more sense than visiting that soulless building that is the NEC,” said a menswear buyer from an independent department store, who wished to remain anonymous.
“From an international point of view, London attracts more buyers and is the place to be – you can visit retailers and gain inspiration.”
Spencer Davis, director of menswear independent Stag London in Hatfield, said: “I think it’s a good idea. It keeps everyone on their toes and makes it more exciting. Moda was getting a bit stale. London is easier for us. I’m looking forward to it.”
Nick Cook, fashion industry director of ITE, said: “As the UK’s national show for the footwear industry Moda Footwear will continue to cover all areas of the footwear sector. We have no plans to move men’s footwear to Pure, and menswear stores who stock both clothing and footwear will continue to be an important part of Moda footwear’s target visitor audience.”