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UK buyers uninspired at Pitti Bimbo

The mood was mixed at kidswear fair Pitti Bimbo in Florence last week, with UK buyers uninspired by a lack of innovation.

M-J Messenger, buyer for seven-strong Scottish independent Little VIPs, said the trends would not translate well to the UK market. "There was too much glitter, as if the ranges were designed for children beyond their ages," she said.

Selfridges assistant buyer Michael Berry and Janette George, owner of Kontinental Kids in Guildford, Surrey, agreed that some ranges were too "fluffy".

George said: "Italian brands tend to be stuck in the past, with fussy pieces that don't work in the UK."

Miss Sixty sales executive Kate Andrassy said UK visitors were in the minority this season. "It's been pretty quiet because UK buyers prefer to visit in the autumn," she said. "Independents are very brand-loyal and tend to be scared of picking up new labels."

Paula Ohrenstein, director of PO, the UK agent for Guess Kids, said the brand had a "fantastic" show but agreed that few indies were looking for new labels. "Our regular UK buyers are here, but there are fewer UK visitors," she noted.

Michael McGonigle, director of boyswear brand Ollie, said he received plenty of interest from South American and Israeli buyers as well as UK visitors, with Selfridges and Arnotts both showing interest.

The number of UK visitors fell by 28% compared with last year, from 198 to 155. Total visitor numbers were up 3.5% to 8,189.

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