Bright sunshine in London suited a confident mood on the first day of Pure London, which gathered more than 800 collections together at Olympia.
Footfall was steady rather than heavy, suggesting some buyers had postponed their visit to enjoy the weather.
Visitors and exhibitors confirmed to Drapers that they were expecting a good three-day event, as there are plenty of signs of an improved mood across the womenswear sector. “We are finding buyers are a lot more positive than they have been for a long time,” said Cynthia Parise, InWear’s country sales manager. “They seem more confident in the economic climate in general and in their own selections. But they are still careful about prices; it has to be special to warrant a higher price tag.”
At Charli, director Samir Ebrahim echoed those sentiments. “There’s a real feeling that we have turned a corner. We are expecting a good turnout at Pure. It’s noticeable that more buyers are looking at our higher price-point, better-quality, lines, as the shops that have been trying to compete on price are the ones that have been suffering.”
Mark Ashton, chief executive of Little Mistress Group, said: “Pure is our main show. We invest most of our budget in it and we get a very nice return. We pick up a lot of contacts for distribution; we started in Italy and Sweden from [contacts made] here last year.”
There was general praise for the look and layout of Pure, which has been overhauled during the past two seasons. This season it is three weeks later than its London rival Scoop and a week ahead of Moda at the NEC. Exhibitors seem split in their opinion of which is the favoured date - several complained that Scoop’s dates made it difficult to get completed collections in time. There is a general feeling, however, that Pure is an excellent and reliable platform for taking orders.
Elena Todary, director of London-based brand AV by Adriana Voloshchuk, said: “We don’t have a permanent showroom, so we did Scoop a couple of times. Although the location is beautiful and we liked the concept, we found the dates were too early. Most of the buyers were away and our collection wasn’t ready. Pure works better for us, especially now it has the (more directional) Agenda section.”
From a buyer’s viewpoint, the plethora of shows does not make for an easy schedule. Hilary Haresign, owner of occasionwear specialist Snooty Frox in Harrogate, remarked: “It’s clear that a lot of the occasionwear brands that used to show at Pure now sell from their showrooms or go to Moda. It makes a buyer’s life easier if they all show together. Pure always had something a bit different. I used to spend three days at the event, but am only doing one this season. But my accessories buyer is coming for the first time; the accessories section is really good.”
Pure London runs until Tuesday, August 5, at Olympia