Pure London closed yesterday (Tuesday) after three days during which buyers eagerly searched out short-order on-trend collections and forward order ranges that gave a high price-value ratio.
“This has been our best Pure London ever,” said Mark Ashton, chief executive of Little Mistress Group, which was offering next-day delivery on some items. “Last year was amazing, but this has been on another level. Across our three brands - Little Mistress, Paper Dolls and Girls on Film - we have written orders for over 20,000 pieces, all driven by independent retailers. If brands aren’t having a good show, they should look at their offering.”
Last season agent Robert de Keyser showed the US dress brand Taihari as a short-order collection; this time he was offering it as forward order for spring 15. “Six months ago we took 22 orders; this time we had written 82 by Tuesday afternoon,” he told Drapers. “Buyers who took it on short order this spring-summer have had amazingly high sell-throughs and that has given them the confidence to put down bigger orders for next spring. What most attracts them is the price-value relationship; these are brilliant products that retail at £99 to £149.”
De Keyser was one of many exhibitors who remarked that Irish buyers - from both sides of the border - had attended in good numbers (despite an Irish Bank Holiday on Monday) and had been more ready than in recent seasons to put down good orders.
“It’s been a tough few years at trade shows,” admitted Freda Hayes, head buyer for Blarney Woollen Mills in Cork, “as we have had one hell of an economic crisis in Ireland. The politicians may say there are green shoots, but we’ve not relaxed in our purchasing habits.
“We’re very conscious of finding value-for-money products for our customers. We’ve been at Pure looking for good quality products at a good price with strong design. They do a good job at Pure. It’s very different to Moda [which starts at the NEC on Sunday, August 10] - this show feels fresher, more design-led. Moda is where we buy volume and Pure is where we find our special pieces.”
While exhibitors noted footfall was down across all three days, there was general praise for the quality of buyers attending. Widespread reports also suggested buyers were more confident this season, taking more interesting pieces, while always keeping an eye on realistic retail prices.
Some brands felt shifting retailing patterns were also influencing buying decisions. Sofia Strazzanti of the Innocenza agency, which showed Ilse Jacobsen, commented: “In the past, autumn/winter notoriously has been the stronger season. We are seeing, however, a real trend of buyers investing heavily into spring/summer 15 collections, due to the early pre-Christmas Sale dates creating a longer summer selling window.”
Julie Driscoll, portfolio director for the event, remarked: “Pure London this season has met our objectives to deliver a re-edited show full of new and inspirational brands, which is reflected in the quality of visitor with buyers from over 60 countries and a strong attendance from the UK.” She listed Selfridges, Liberty, Fenwick, Debenhams, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Topshop, Next, Schuh, Jigsaw, Asos, Boohoo, Atterley Road and Anthropologie among the major retailers in attendance.
In 2015, Pure London is scheduled be held at Olympia on February 8-10 and August 2-4. Like Drapers, Pure London is part of Top Right Group.