While buyers at Moda remained faithful to their tried and tested brands, they also sought something different to get shoppers spending.
Mainstream independents from across the UK and Ireland descended on the NEC at Birmingham for the 27th edition of Moda, where more than 1,450 brands showed their womenswear, menswear, accessories, footwear and lingerie ranges.
The three-day show got off to a steady start on February 15, with buyers seeking out safe bets for autumn 15 such as shift dresses, boxy tops, tailoring and casual outerwear.
Although indie buyers were in a cautious mood following a difficult autumn 14, many were searching for labels with a point of difference that would encourage customers to spend.
This season saw the debut of The Loft in the Moda Gent section, desccribed as a pop-up marketplace for trend-led men’s labels. It grouped brands including Björn Borg, Blend and Gabicci Vintage into a small aisle of booths, receiving positive feedback and attracting menswear buyers looking for more contemporary styles.
The team at Adini struggled to pick just a few bestsellers, but did single out a boxy navy blue and lime weaved top (wholesaling at £15) and one of its bestselling prints, Verdi, seen here on a cotton tunic in an aubergine colourway (£17.50).
The print is designed in-house using discharge printing for extra durability. The Newquay wool-blend bouclé coat in midnight is also popular, at £40. Wholesale prices range from £3.50 for a scarf to £45 for a coat.
- 020 8560 2323 Adinionline.co.uk
One of the stars of the show at James Lakeland is this 1950s-style, floaty-yet-structured dress with a digitally printed polka-dot pattern, which looks like giant paint splodges. The viscose and satin dress is very wearable and feminine, wholesaling at £74. Although some buyers are cautious about coats, James Lakeland’s quirkier designs have found favour, such as this fake snakeskin and fake fur number with stretch crêpe black sleeves (£105), which also comes sleeveless (£99). Wholesale prices range from £14 for a vest top to £370 for a leather coat.
- 020 7636 7130 Jameslakeland.net
This German brand expects its ‘cardie coats’ and capes to sell well, as women look to layer rather than buying a structured coat. One cardie coat, a wool/acrylic mix at £32, is textured at the front and co-ordinates with the greys, soft antique pinks and taupes in the rest of the offer. The brand predicts this animal-print wool and acrylic pencil skirt with detachable lightweight chain detail (£20.50) will be a bestseller. Wholesale prices range from £9 for a T-shirt to £70 for outerwear.
- 020 7291 0520 Steilmann.com
Maddox Street london
Maddox Street London is the younger tailoring label from the Gabicci stable, pitched at men aged 35 and over. Included in the 55-piece autumn 15 range for the first time is a double-breasted blazer jacket (£80). The port-coloured windowpane-check style has a cut allowing
it to be worn both open and closed. The brand intends to expand this to multiple styles in coming seasons, to sit alongside its plain and Liberty-print shirts, knitwear, single-breasted jackets, trousers and coats. Wholesale prices range from £20 for plain shirts to £85 for coats.
- 01442 233700 Maddoxstreetlondon.com
Lingerie label Lepel’s Mathilda range has an updated fit and shape for autumn 15, with a moulded inner cup for an improved silhouette. The black lace version offers an opulent, glamorous look, at £11.42, while a bright aqua style comes with magenta contrast straps, underband and bow detail. The Fiore full-cup and padded plunge lace bra in bold shades of red and magenta also catches the eye, at £10.47.
- 0115 983 6063 Lepel.co.uk
Boots continue to have a utilitarian theme at women’s young fashion footwear brand Rocket Dog, with buckles and straps taking on a workwear and western look. The core style is the Jazzin, a lace-up canvas pump in various prints (£19). Bestsellers include the Thunder, a PU boot with buckles (£35), the Hamdon, a PU boot with straps and a chunky heel (£37.50), and the Camilla, a PU Chelsea boot with zips (£32.50).
- 020 7380 8340 Rocketdog.co.uk
As well as producing knitwear in a merino/cotton blend (£28.80) for the first time, German menswear label Fynch-Hatton has upped production of jeans and trousers (£30.80) by 20% and increased its outerwear range by about 12 pieces by bringing in casual jackets (£21.90) and a fake fur hooded parka. These sit with shirts, tailoring, knitwear and accessories. Wholesale prices range from £21 for shirts to £82.70 for the parka.
- 0116 236 2304 Fynch-hatton.de
Layering is a strong theme at occasionwear brand John Charles. A prominent piece is
this blush pink lace dress with a sequined underdress, giving it a subtle sparkle (£299 with matching cropped jacket; £349 with matching coat). Another evening dress features black lace over a nude lining, with 1920s flapper-style fringing accentuating the Great Gatsby look (£180). Wholesale prices range from £199 for a dress with cropped jacket to £349 for a dress with matching coat.
- 020 8888 8833 Johncharles.co.uk
Back at Moda after a three-season break, lingerie brand Triumph showcased fresh colours navy and burgundy in its Magic Wire range, which uses silicon instead of a traditional wire to provide comfortable support. It also celebrated its iconic Amourette series, which launched its first advertising campaign 60 years ago, with a collection of archive pieces. Turquoise and plum are among colours for the Amourette 300 wired push-up bra and a blue floral print features in the Mon Amour Spotlight series. Pictured is the sheer velvet Sensation Magic Wire bra (£20) and dress (£30.48).
- 020 7977 800 Triumph.com/uk
Plus-size womenswear brand Elvi made its Moda debut as it prepares to launch a wholesale website. Following a rebrand, it now targets ages mid-30s to mid-50s. Form-flattering shapes are key, while this top nods to the sportswear trend (£11.85). Wholesale prices from £8 for a top to £53 for a mac with leather detail.
- 0845 524 0260 Elvi.co.uk
Skechers will unveil its biggest-ever TV campaign in March, with ambassadors including actress Demi Lovato, model Kelly Brook and musician Ringo Starr promoting its comfort fashion styles. The Memory Foam range for women has been updated with new colours
such as the blue and pink (£29), and a sporty navy blue and orange design is a highlight in the men’s Equalizer Memory Foam range (£30.50).
- 01707 655955 Skechers.co.uk
“It’s been a tougher winter because the weather hasn’t driven footfall - dressing gowns and slippers didn’t top people’s Christmas lists. We need new trends andnew ideas to give people a reason to buy.”
Denise Green, womenswear and lingerie buyer at Jarrold in Norwich
“Our concern is that since the beginning of the year we’ve had six stockists close in six weeks and these probably won’t be replaced. We see the growth coming from range extensions -if the market is shrinking you’ve got to make each store count.”
Andy Wrench, partner at UK lingerie, swimwear and nightwear agency AWG Brands, which represents brands including Moontide, Maidenform and Maison Lejaby
“We’re slightly cautious for the autumn season based on last year’s weather, although we still managed to grow. We are looking closely at what we know will sell and making sure not to double up. We’ve seen a couple of things we are going to dip into, such as an Italian range of women’s tops. We have to take a risk to have something different.”
Neil Raven, managing director of department store Ravens in Southend, Essex
“Our customers are spending so we are feeling optimistic about the year ahead. Our success has a lot to do with the direction we are moving in - merchandising as a brand and trying to tell a story. Moda is good for us to find new things and see existing suppliers.”
John Lambert, owner of County Clothes in Canterbury and Tenterden, Kent, and Reigate, Surrey