Buyers from Zara, Asos and Evans were among the names attending the second day of London’s Textile Forum. They were joined by 120 university students from across the UK, who attended a briefing with exhibitors in a bid to forge closer relationships between textile companies and emerging designers.
“Far more visitors are looking for collaborations with exhibitors, enabling the textile companies to extend their ranges,” reported show founder Linda Laderman, who will look to encourage more design collaborations at the next edition of the show from October 14-15.
One such company to strike up a collaboration at the show is Hainsworth. At the October 2014 session, the heritage West Yorkshire weaver met tailor Lee Marsh, who in February launched a collection of bespoke and ready-to-wear fashion using Hainsworth wool rich fabric. The collection includes a suit made from 70% wool ‘under collar’ Melton cloth, (normally used under the collar of a jacket), as well as a bright blue Melton blazer and a khaki Melton finish bomber jacket.
“There is a nice cross-section of people here at Textile Forum,” said Hainsworth marketing manager Julie Greenough. “We’re introduced to lots of students and designers who we love to collaborate with, such as Christopher Raeburn and Alex Mullins. The people who come to this show know what they’re looking for. They love the colour and soft finish of our fabrics.”
Alongside the spring 16 collection, Hainsworth previewed a selection of autumn 16/17 fabrics, including a 700g, 100% Merino cloth with a soft handle for coats and jackets. Available from June, there is already a waiting list for samples from visitors at the show.
Now in its 150th year, fellow British exhibitor James Hare showcased a special anniversary collection of bridal fabrics inspired by iconic bridal dresses throughout history. Buyers responded particularly well to a decorative floral embroidered cloth with silver thread and beading detail inspired by Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding dress.
According to James Hare fashion fabrics designer Vanessa Kay, the company saw a good response from bridal buyers, occasionwear brands and tailors, opening new accounts and making important connections with existing customers from the UK, Scandinavia, the US and Poland.
Ilaria Perra, creative director of yoga accessories brand Stilelibero, was on the lookout for digital print fabric for wide leg yoga trousers, whereas Alexis Temonanin of London-based menswear label Dent de Man attended Textile Forum to sample the spring 16 casual collection.
“I’m here at the show looking for UK-based companies making denim, as we would love to work more with British manufacturers,” said Temonanin, who was particularly interested in 100% cotton fabric from High Wycombe-based textile company Anbo Textiles.
Established exhibitor Laurent Garigue of the Laurent Garigue Partnership, a manufacturer of novelty and plain fabrics for high-end markets, said that Textile Forum is a great show to take the pulse of the top end of the industry and get fresh ideas from fellow exhibitors. “The show attracts a lot of emerging British designers, which is very encouraging, especially as they are gaining such recognition on the international stage.”