As the season draws to a close, buyers reveal their trade show highs and lows.
Jack Schneider, assistant buyer at premium independent Accent Clothing in Leeds
We attended menswear fair Jacket Required in London this season, but no others. The show was busy with a good brand mix.
Most of our buying has been done [at appointments] in London this season as that is where most of the brands are based. However, more are starting to open Manchester showrooms which is much more practical for us, like Luke, Money, Denim is Everything, Pearly King, Weekend Offender and Gibson.
Darren Skey, head of menswear at Harvey Nichols
We attended Capsule in Paris and CIFF Raven in Copenhagen [as well as the big four men’s fashion weeks].
Capsule Paris is always the go-to trade show for us and allows us almost a one stop shop with brands we already stock. This is extremely important when we are increasingly time poor. It was interesting to see some of the newer brands next to the established.
Although we didn’t write any orders at CIFF Raven, it provided a really interesting environment, bringing together some of the exciting talent from around the world in a very considered curated space. Great for inspiration and finding new talent.
Ravi Grewal, global director of Stuarts London in Shepherd’s Bush
We attended Pitti Uomo in Florence, Man and Capsule in Paris and Jacket Required in London.
Each show offers its own angle. However, I am a fan of Pitti and loved the new angle of bringing in brands from the US. If you look hard enough there is always some hidden gem at Pitti. Jacket Required was the best so far, with a great selection of eclectic brands under one roof. I can only see it going from strength to strength. I wasn’t quite a fan of Man, purely because of its layout, but it was still a good show with a fantastic mix of brands.
Tim Williams, buyer at Asos.com
We went to Jacket Required in London and Revolver, CIFF and CIFF Raven in Copenhagen. Jacket Required is fast becoming the strongest show out there in my opinion. Great brand mix, amazing attendance and a real buzz. Revolver’s Meatpacking venue was cool, another busy show with excited buyers getting their hands on great product.
On the contrary, CIFF Raven was beautifully curated but totally empty – commercially, a waste of time. CIFF remains a solid mid-market show but with the ever-diminishing menswear section it is becoming less relevant for me.
Anna Park, owner of six-store contemporary womenswear retailer Anna
I always go to Paris. My best show is Who’ s Next as I always find new things. A lot of people think Tranoï is the best but it’s very late - I get there and I’ve got no money left. I also do a lot of appointments in Paris, particularly with American brands that show in France but don’t show in London.
One of my buyers goes to Pure London and finds things there, and I do Scoop, which I like. I just worry that it might get too big and become less exclusive. It used to be cool and small. London Fashion Week is so big brand-centric now - there’s only a few stores that sell those brands.
Trade shows are still so important for me. Those who don’t think so are quite snobby about it. Trade shows for real clothes are what I like.
Pamela Shiffer, owner of womenswear boutique Pamela Shiffer in Primrose Hill, north London
I only attended Scoop and Pure London this season. It’s the first time in years I haven’t travelled abroad, but I felt Who’s Next in Paris was too early and the Danish brands I buy from are all well represented in London, which saves me the trip to Copenhagen.
I have recently adjusted my buying too, so I’m holding more budget back for in-season spends and top-ups. The buying season seems to go on forever, which is also an issue, and my time is better spent on the shop floor rather than wandering around shows, as much as I like to.
Giulio Cinque, owner of designer independent Giulio in Cambridge
I selected Pitti Uomo in Florence, London Collections: Men and London Fashion Week this season. Pitti as usual was excellent, it has a monopoly on attracting some of the most desirable new and established brands, making it a must-visit show. Nobody does it quite like Pitti.
LCM and LFW are not the greatest when visiting the brand showcase venues, as there are very limited brands showing. Most of the established brands show off-site at their own showrooms. If more established brands showed at the LCM and LFW venues it would save a lot of travelling from showroom to showroom. Secondly, some more established brands would draw greater participation from emerging brands.
Luke Conod, managing director of young fashion store Fit in Hereford
We didn’t attend any trade shows, all our buying was done at pre-booked appointments at showrooms. We don’t find shows as relevant any more. If we are looking for new brands we tend to look online, as we can get a really good feel for the brand there, and then contact them direct for an appointment.
For brands we already stock we visit them in their showrooms. We used to attend Bread & Butter but stopped going in 2010.
Jo Davies, owner of premium womenswear boutique Black White Denim in Wilmslow, Cheshire
We didn’t visit any shows this season. The main reasons are costs – in terms of travel and being out of the business. Secondly the brand representatives at trade shows are often only interested in a hard sell, not understanding our business.
There is often more quantity than quality at trade shows as the exhibition companies try to make as much money as possible and I find them very impersonal. I’ve not yet discovered a brand at a trade show. I discover more through magazines, social media and visiting other stores.
Helen Oliver, senior womenswear buyer at independent department store Psyche in Middlesbrough
I attended Pure London and Scoop. Both were good for different reasons. We look for newness at Scoop as it is a bit more inspirational and a higher-end brand mix, but more commercial than London Fashion Week. Pure is good for in-season fill-in brands, if you are missing out on a trend you will find it at Pure. Both are really good for networking.
We’ve been to the Copenhagen shows, Pitti and Bread & Butter a few times. They’re all great but we didn’t pick up any new brands. We can see all our brands in the UK at the moment.
Janine O’Keefe, owner of contemporary womenswear etailer Okeefe
I went to Scoop and Top Drawer in London. Top Drawer was good as it showed more fashion and jewellery brands that are not at Pure London. I picked up three new brands on short order for spring 15.
I did most of my buying at showroom appointments but also went independently to Paris on a buying trip and found several brands there. Mainly it was just showroom appointments but I’m always trying to source unique and exclusive collections and even found one brand by walking into its store to enquire if it did wholesale.