Exhibitors welcomed some of the changes at Moda for the autumn 20 edition, but the Birmingham trade show got off to a relatively quiet start after changing its dates to later in the season.
More from: Did the Moda revamp deliver?
Organiser Hyve Group had promised a new vision for Moda this season, including a revamped layout that divided the show into “Neighbourhoods”.
The show also moved into new halls at Birmingham’s NEC exhibitors were better grouped together with clear brand adjacencies. However, the original plan for Edge, Luxe, Occasion and Fusion sections was reimagined into “Neighbourhoods”. Although these were communicated to exhibitors, they could have been more clearly differentiated.
Martin Arnold, portfolio director, fashion, at Hyve Group, said: “Following research and discussions with exhibitors and visitors, we felt that the introduction of ‘Neighbourhoods’ was more relevant for the future of the show and will enable us to evolve and offer a home to each unique fashion tribe by bringing them together in a community.”
A separate sustainability section, “Moda Life”, had also been touted, but instead ethical brands appeared to be dotted among the other exhibitors.
Hyve event director Adam Gough added: “We are potentially planning a whole sustainability area going forward, but this year with the re-edit on floor plans we wanted to focus our time on supporting our existing brands rather than searching for new sustainable ones.”
A new dedicated kids’ footwear section proved successful, and brands such as Skechers and Superga took stand. Children’s footwear brand Start-Rite made its return after more than 10 years from trade shows.
Moda also trialled a new boutique format in womenswear, which allowed smaller, start-up brands to show in a prime location at the front of the show.
Because of a potential clash with Milan footwear trade show Micam, Moda took place slightly later this year – from 23-25 February instead of its usual slot a week earlier. Hyve told Drapers some womenswear brands pulled out as a result, deciding it was too late in the season to write orders.
But Gough noted that, because of travel difficulties during some of Hyve’s other UK shows – namely Pure London, which was hit by Storm Ciara – some womenswear brands, including Pomodoro, booked with Moda at the last minute in an effort to see buyers they had missed elsewhere.
Some exhibitors Drapers spoke to this season complained of unanswered emails and lack of support from the event organisers. Most were positive about the management team, and noted its flexibility with late sign-ups.
Gough said: “It’s a new brand sales team, so it will take time for them to build relationships [with exhibitors] and gain their trust. We have a long-term vision for Moda and the better relationships we have with exhibitors the better, to get feedback on what’s working and what’s not.”
There was a notable emphasis on buyer events at this season’s show. A new speed networking event between buyers and brands attracted big names such as etailer Boohoo, independent department store McElhinney’s and London womenswear independent Pamela Shiffer. The team said this was a success and would be expanded for future editions.
The organisers also plan to further distinguish the new neighbourhoods, including a specific occasionwear section for the spring 21 edition.
Moda remains an important order-writing show for many. But it needs to deliver on its promised revamp to retain long-standing exhibitors and attract new faces.
The next edition of Moda will take place on 2-4 August at the NEC.
Views from the show
Brian Devalle, Midlands sales agent, Pomodoro
It’s been OK so far [on day one] and we’ve already picked up three new accounts. We originally hadn’t planned on coming, with it being a week later than usual and a lot of people having done their ordering, but are glad we did. We’re hoping to catch people who couldn’t make it to Pure because of travel issues.
It has been a bit quieter than we would expect on the first day. We are likely to come back although they need to have a look at their costs because they are increasing. The Hyve team were really good with our late sign-up and have been very helpful during the stand set-up and dealing with any issues.
Sarah Northage, head of sales, Start-Rite
It’s been 10 years since we’ve done any trade shows. UK trade shows are really important and we need them as an industry – so it’s vital that we as a big brand support it.
The kids’ footwear section is good, but there are some key players missing, such as Dr Martens and Geox, and it would be nice to see some more of the bigger brands that have kids’ collections.
It’s a difficult market at the moment but back-to-school is still a real peak and remains buoyant for us. The timing isn’t perfect for order writing: it could be earlier.
Kurt Fritzsch, director, KuSan Accessories
I think as a small brand, it’s important to do trade shows – so you know that the pressures and problems you’re facing aren’t just yours – but you’re paying a lot for the privilege of attending.
More people are placing orders online. We used to write 20 orders at shows, and it’s more like 12 or 15 now. I’ll still come in the future, as I’d have to drive up to see bigger customers otherwise, and it’s good to chat to other exhibitors.
Graham Baister, founder, Oak & Hyde
[A lot of] independents can’t afford to travel to the international shows, so tend to come to the UK ones. It’s a completely different feel from Micam: you won’t see the likes of Office or Schuh at this show, and you can’t dress up the NEC much. But the support has been good from the Moda team.
Siobhan Lennon, sales manager for Northern Ireland, Lighthouse
There are fewer people around than last season, but we’ve still been busy. Coming here from Northern Ireland isn’t cheap if the people and the orders aren’t here. Monday was still quiet, but better than Sunday. We had quite a few orders.