Despite a subdued turn-out, good-quality buyers from the likes of Fenwick, House of Fraser and Boohoo lifted the mood at this year’s Fashion SVP at London’s Kensington Olympia.
Andrew Theodosiou, managing director of London-based sample production company The Sampling Unit, observed that visitor numbers were disappointing, but the calibre of buyers was much better than at other sourcing shows.
“This is the slowest show I’ve been to [this year],” he said. ”At most other shows, such as Meet the Manufacturer, we’ve had a lot more traffic at the stall, but the quality of the visitors here is good.”
This was echoed by Rupal Goswami, chief designer of Top Fashions in Leicester: “There have been slightly too many new starters for us personally, as our focus is the high street. But we’ve spoken to Fenwick and House of Fraser. If I got orders from the people I’ve spoken to so far, I’d be very happy. It has been quiet, but that makes it easier to talk to people.”
Event director Buzz Carter reported that this year’s show was 40% bigger than last year, with 100 exhibitors: “We’re much more of a business-focused show than some of the other events, and we attract a lot of smaller chains and a lot of independents and start-ups.
“We added an innovations space this year and so far the response has been very positive.”
First-time exhibitors were generally positive, and there was particular enthusiasm about the networking opportunities.
Tim Newman, sales director for the Leeds-based hosiery brand Madison, was optimistic about the “springboard potential” of the show, despite other reservations: “It’s been a little quieter than we thought, but it’s been a fantastic opportunity to come face to face with some of the people we work with. There have been too many indies for our minimums, but we’ve also had interest from Zalando, Next and House of Fraser.”
The show took place in June for the first time this year, shifting from September on the request of buyers. The change was well received by attendees, who appreciated the convenience of the timing.
Phiona Mundle, production manager of luxury knitwear brand Chinti and Parker, said: “June is very good timing for us, as this falls right between two seasons, so we would have the time to speak to new suppliers before we start designs. It gives us a little more leeway.”
Fashion SVP ran on June 28-29 with exhibitors from more than 20 countries. There will be a second event later in the year.