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Steady stream of visitors at Textile Forum

Exhibitors relished a busy two days at this season’s edition of Textile Forum as manufacturers presented more than 70 collections.

The show’s 30th event which ran 11-12 October, featured the Centre for Fashion Enterprise’s Manufacturers Trade Show, bringing the two shows under the roof of One Marylebone in central London for the first time.

While some stands were filled with buyers from high street multiples, students and start-ups ruled the roost in terms of footfall, and specific requests for holographic and tulle were popular.

“It’s been really good, very busy, though got a little quieter in the afternoon,” said Louise Bradley, director of National Weaving. “We come every year and it’s always great, we’ve enjoyed talking to students. Lots of people have been requesting holographic product.”

This year’s event showcased a wide variety of materials from lace, faux furs and leathers to embroidery and customisable labels.

Though one fabric proved particularly popular according to Drew Unwin, sales executive at Holland & Sherry: “Corduroy is popular at the moment – there’s so much corduroy, and everyone loves red.

“Lots of new starts having been coming around today, which is a good sign, and we like to do a lot of work with students. They’re the future of the industry.”

A new exhibitor to the show this season was Vanners. Megan Candice, fashion and accessories designer at the firm said: “We’ve met a lot of startups, costume designers and fashion designers, though I haven’t spoken to any big buyers.”

Chomok Ali, production manager of New Planet Fashions said he had met potential buyers at the show. “We’ve met potential clients, potential buyers and had seen some potential orders. We’re based in Leytonstone, and we had someone looking specifically for London-based manufacturers.”

Will Steele, managing director of Pongees, has been coming to the forum “since the dawn of time”. He was happy with attendance on both days, though said the success of this year’s event depends on how it converts to actual business.

“We’ve had quite varied requests,” he said. “People have shown a lot of interest in tulles and stretches. There have been lots of lingerie buyers and many of our regular customers were here but despite the fact we were told big buyers had registered it was hard to tell whether they turned up or not.”

Around 90% of this year’s exhibitors are regulars, according to show founder Linda Laderman, including many smaller companies and designers that offer smaller minimums.

“This appeals across the board,” she said. “When minimums are smaller, people are buying more frequently and in smaller amounts.

“We have good exhibitors with us this year, though we know business is tough and we’ve got to breathe through it.”


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