Travel disruptions due to ongoing poor weather did nothing to dampen spirits at the latest edition of Moda this week, as brands and buyers alike reported a solid, if not spectacular, show.
The exhibition at Birmingham NEC played host to 700 women’s clothing and accessories brands, 300 menswear, 265 lingerie and swimwear and 400 footwear brands from February 16-18. Although visitors – particularly those from London – were affected by transport problems, the show experienced brisk trade from the outset.
Organiser ITE Moda said more than 80 exhibitors were new to the show, including womenswear names Ella & Cherry, Derhy, Van-Dos and Signal and menswear labels Weekend Offender, Marshall Artist, Bertoni and Crew Clothing.
Jane Sharpe, co-owner of Cleeve Clothes in Bishop’s Cleeve, near Cheltenham, was one of the first into the show. “It was very busy initially – really quite buzzing – and everyone was very enthusiastic,” she told Drapers.
Sharpe was mainly looking to buy from existing stockists, but was impressed with the range of colours and designs being readied for autumn 14. “We came away feeling we’d had a good day,” she added.
Ashley Holt, who was exhibiting as Holts International Shoe Agency and buying for Lancashire-based retailer Holts Shoes, said Moda was better than expected and he had opened accounts both as a supplier and a retailer.
He said: “I can’t say we noticed any impact [from the transport disruption]. We were near the entrance so we got customers from 9.30am on Sunday and it’s carried on since then.”
However, there was no change in cofidence from either buyers or consumers, he said. “People aren’t seeing any real improvement yet, but at least things aren’t getting any worse.”
Neil Raven, co-owner of lifestyle retailer Ravens of Southend-on-Sea, was less impressed. “We are a bit disappointed about what’s being presented for autumn 14 as we haven’t yet seen anything that will get consumers excited,” he said. “Too many suppliers are playing too safe.”
Despite this, buyers and brands were “more confident”, according to Nick Cook, portfolio director for the show. “The reports we have been hearing indicate that lots of good business has been written on-site,” he added. “The new areas we’ve introduced this season [a special section for eveningwear called Moda Noir and one for streetwear called Moda Urban] have been well received, bringing new names and a new look to the show.
“Having tested the water this season with new product areas there will be some changes to the look and feel of the show going forward. We are focusing on making the show even more accessible for buyers with key product zones and more intimate business support at the core of the enhancements we will be making.”