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Q+A: Julie Driscoll, Pure London's brand mixologist

The portfolio director of Pure London tells Drapers how she has increased the brand mix and what we can expect for autumn

Julie Driscoll

Julie Driscoll

Julie Driscoll

Julie Driscoll, portfolio director for Pure London – an i2i Events Group event – was brought into the position three years ago. One of her main goals was to introduce a greater brand mix to the show using customer research and insight to understand the demand. The spring 17 show ran from July 24 to July 26 at the Olympia London and was South America themed. Its motto was “live a life less ordinary”. Drapers sat down with Driscoll on the show’s second day.

What do you attribute to Pure London’s success?

Fashion is cyclical. We use intensive research to see what the customers want and then we execute it. That is cyclical for us as a business, too. The brand mix is the most important thing for the show’s success – Pure is known for having brands you can’t find in department stores.

A new addition to this year’s show was the content sessions, which included trend reports from WGSN, a Brexit panel [moderated by Drapers editor Keely Stocker], and a social media strategy workshop to help retailers understand how best to engage with customers. People are time-poor, so they come to Pure to find brands, as well as to learn and be inspired by others in the industry.

What are some of the trends you’ve been seeing in retail?

Menswear has been a big area of growth in the UK – men are wearing fewer suits to work so they need more diversification in their wardrobe. The introduction of a menswear section into the show [this year was its second season] has also enabled us to bring in more lifestyle and unisex brands. Athleisure is a big trend for autumn, too. More people are working from home now, so there is a more relaxed feeling overall. You can blend pieces like yoga pants and tailored jackets. I believe fashion is a reflection of the community it serves. 

Pure is known for having brands you can’t find in department stores

Is there a future for trade shows?

People love meeting face to face. Most buyers hold out for Pure to make orders. But shows need to react to the changing needs of buyers and brands and continually instil newness for them. As with any business, we are constantly evolving and changing.

Has there been any change since the UK’s decision to leave the European Union?

There is an air of optimism after the panic of Brexit. And I think Theresa May will instil more confidence in business.

How are the independents feeling?

They just get on with it. A lot of indies are ahead of the curve. The UK is brave and creative. Shops are no longer just about having people walk through the door. They are more social, more alive. Customer service is very important. That’s where independents are going to win.

 

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