The IMC menswear buying show will take place at the same time as Birmingham’s Moda next summer, Drapers has learned, forcing brands and buyers to choose between the two exhibitions.
Moda is set to take place as usual on 5 to 7 August, at the NEC in Birmingham, while Northants-based IMC is scheduled for 5 and 6 August for spring 19, a week earlier than usual.
Matthew Rawlings, IMC committee member and director at department store Coes, stressed that the move was “not an attempt to marginalise Moda”.
“[It’s] not ideal, but we have to ensure our show remains as relevant for our members as possible,” he said. ”We have a committee meeting next month where we will finalise our plans, but our show certainly won’t be any later than the dates stated.”
Andrew Cox, owner of Cambridgeshire menswear indie James of Ely and an IMC buyer, said he was planning to attend IMC and would also visit Moda rival Indx, which is expected to take place earlier that month.
“I will continue to support the IMC since I am a member, but it is important to attend the larger shows to get an idea of trends and greater ranges from suppliers,” he said.
One agent, who regularly represents exhibitors at both shows, said: “It’s a problem, but something’s got to give. We will consult with our colleagues on what to do, but it is clear that there are too many shows for quality independents nowadays and none of them are as busy as they used to be.”
He highlighted that both shows invite “completely different crowds”, with Moda’s “more commercial” offering attracting different buyers to the more tailoring- and discount-focused IMC attendees.
Another brand agent said: “It’s a dilemma. The concern is there’s no way we could see all our customers at just one show. We’ll be discussing the issue with our brand next month. We may need to find another way of servicing our accounts.”
The IMC buying group comprises 94 independent businesses in the UK. The show, held at Whittlebury Hall Hotel near Towcester, is attended by 45 mainstream suppliers.
Moda declined to comment.