Visitors and exhibitors were upbeat at mainstream fashion and footwear trade show Moda, which recorded a 22% rise in attendance on last year.
Exhibitors at the three-day show at the Birmingham NEC, which ended on Tuesday, wrote strong orders but buyers kept budgets flat, concerned about the impending VAT rise and increased wholesale prices. John Robertson, partner at indie department store Robertson’s in Berwick, said: “You’ve got to stay cautious, because [brands’] prices are slightly higher. Hopefully our key brands will hold stock, so we can do more in-season ordering.”
Claire Fallon, owner of womenswear indie Jacquie’s Boutique in Weybridge, Surrey, said she would keep budgets flat. “We need to see what the shopper reaction to the VAT rise will be like,” she added.
Brands said that, while footfall was volatile, Moda had been a good show for order writing.
Stacey Booth, chief executive of womenswear group Betty Barclay, showed occasionwear brand Vera Mont at Moda for the first time. “We saw a lot of existing customers on Sunday then wrote good new orders on Monday and Tuesday,” she said.
Nigel Hughes, director of agency APT, which showed mainstream womenswear brand Gelco, added: “There has been a genuine feel of renewed optimism this season.”
Louise Johnson, general manager of occasionwear brand Alexia Designs, said buyers were driving hard bargains: “People have asked about discounts more than anything.”
Andrew Townsin, country manager for the UK and Republic of Ireland at menswear and footwear brand Aigle, said: “We put some of our key looks on the catwalk and generated new business from it.”
Many lingerie brands launched new collections at Moda. Younger consumers were a key target, with younger sub-brands introduced at Ballet and Lejaby and smaller sizes at Panache and Chantelle.
Robert Looker, sales manager of The Body Cover Group, which showed its After Eden range and the younger Boobs & Bloomers brand, said: “The teen market is the fastest growing - they want branded lingerie and more colour and fashion.”