As he prepares for its fifth edition, the founder of menswear show Stitch tells Ian Wright how he keeps the brand line-up looking fresh.
What challenges do you face in running a modern menswear show in the current market?
I believe we are challenged by ourselves to always deliver a fresh offering of brands in a creative and exciting environment for business and networking.
How do you differentiate Stitch from its competitors?
As the international London-based order-writing menswear show over the past four seasons, we continue to review our event seasonally to ensure each edition delivers what the industry would want from a British show. This season we’ve developed a section called Vision to offer brands an entry into the trade show with a more urban presentation and affordable rates.
What shows, apart from Stitch, would you attend if you were a buyer?
I’ve always admired Bread & Butter for its sheer scale and ability to deliver 600 brands in such a fantastic presentation season on season, and Capsule for its brand mix and diversity in opening up new territories. To recommend one show would be very difficult but if I was to advise a buyer it would be to be in Berlin for the days when Bread & Butter takes place, as there is such a diverse offer of shows and brands that you could stock in any store.
What are the key brands to look out for at the next edition of Stitch?
With names like Dockers, Marshall Artist and Pretty Green exhibiting, we can look forward to another exciting presentation for autumn 12. New brands include Ferguson of London, Am Golhar, Giaroye and Stone-Dri.
How do you go about sourcing the exhibitors?
We have a mix of brands who have Stitch recommended to them through the industry or have heard of the show through our marketing campaign. Our international awareness has been building season on season and we are investing to increase this awareness for both brands and buyers.
How does the power of the internet affect the way you operate?
We’ve moved all of our business to be managed over the internet through various software packages. This includes database management, registration, sales and marketing.
What’s next for trade shows? Does the whole model need redesigning?
I think the model works but it is expected that each event delivers to the audience exactly what it promises. I think we’ll see a certain amount of technology being introduced to the trade show to enable more opportunities but I don’t envisage the format ceasing as it’s just too much fun for the industry to meet up for the two to three days for business and have a beer … or two.
- Brian Duffy is founder and managing director of menswear trade show Stitch, which is on February 12-14 in London
Chinos or jeans?
Jeans (Acne, pictured).
Whose personal style do you admire?
My pal, Eddie Prendergast (owner of London indie store, Present).
Blazer or Barbour?
I’m completely split here but favour a blazer slightly more.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
And what would be on the soundtrack?
My Generation sung by Liam Gallagher.
Trainers or proper shoes?
Proper shoes (Salvatore Ferragamo, pictured).
What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve bought but never worn?
A Christian Dior jacket.
If you could wear one brand for the rest of your life, what would it be?