There was a positive mood on the first day of the London Textile Fair (January 13-14) at the Business Design Centre in Islington, which based on pre-registrations is expecting to attract 4,500 visitors from the likes of Marks & Spencer, Next, Jaeger, River Island, Whistles and Oasis.
London Textile Fair
Buyers were sampling cloth for spring 17, as well as looking at autumn 16 fabrics for fast turnaround product from the predominantly European exhibitors.
“We have put more of a focus on pushing the show as trade only and while students are important, we want to encourage quality buyers to attend the show,” said fair founder John Kelley.
“We’re seeing a lot stronger demand for European fabrics as China is pricing itself out of the market. China also has less need to attract international buyers as its manufacturers are enjoying such strong domestic business.”
Holland & Sherry sales executive Hasnaa Nabeebocus agreed that the show attracts a number of decision makers. “The buyers attending this show are more specific about what they want compared to other shows.”
For Joseph H Clissold designer Kenneth Forsyth the show is a good opportunity to meet UK retail customers such as Marks & Spencer and Daks. “This is a great show for meeting all those customers in one go, as well as attracting new business. We like to meet new people trying to get into the fashion industry as this has been really good for business for us. The show itself looks particularly busy, but time will tell if it’s going to be successful.”
The January 16 edition of the London Textile Fair attracted 380 exhibitors, 5% of which are newcomers, with a particular increase in Spanish and Portuguese manufacturers.
Making its debut in London, West Yorkshire heritage manufacturer Marton Mills is hoping to raise its profile amongst the fashion industry. “We’ve been fairly under the radar, but we’re hoping to use the show to increase awareness of the wool tweed side of our business,” explained managing director Laura Watts.
“We have some meetings already arranged, but we’re definitely hoping to meet new customers. The show is in a very good location and we thought as a British manufacturer the London Textile Fair would be a great opportunity for us to showcase our brand.”
On the visitor side, Paul Smith menswear assistant designer Hannah Paradise was on the lookout for men’s jersey and technical sports fabrics for spring 17. “There is definitely a good range of options here, but I’ve found that a lot of the jersey options are catering much more to womenswear. It happens at every trade show, but even more so here.
“The key things we look for in new suppliers is a quick turnaround and high quality, so this is always a good show for that. We’re mainly looking at mills in Italy and Turkey, but also in Japan.”
For John Lewis menswear designer (tailoring) Simon Holden, the timing of the show is the big draw. “This show is early in the season, so it’s very important to pull together trends from what we see today. The show has got better and better over the past few years. While I do think it’s quite womenswear orientated, more so than other shows, I see a lot more relevant mills for my market than I used to.
“I’m looking for suiting a shirting today, mainly from the UK and Italy for their heritage, but if the product is right we would look elsewhere.”
The London Textile Fair continues tomorrow.