Horns blared on west London’s King’s Road on Sunday as traffic built up as a result of the weekend roadworks, but inside the nearby Saatchi Gallery, premium womenswear trade show Scoop was its usual oasis of calm.
Scented candles burned throughout the show and music played gently in the background as visitors perused the autumn 18 collections. Artwork by 13 different artists – brought together in an exhibition focusing on iconoclasm – provided the backdrop to this season’s show, which ran from 28-30 January.
A positive mood pervaded Scoop throughout the three days, and many exhibitors and buyers were cautiously predicting a good year ahead. Visitor numbers seemed healthy on day one but slowed on the second and third days, although Scoop declined to reveal exact figures. Nevertheless, brands were happy with the quality of buyers in attendance – these included a good showing of independent retailers from across southern England and Ireland, as well as bigger names such as Fenwick and House of Fraser.
A mix of established and newer brands presented their collections, including several that were making their debut in the UK. Many exhibitors reported writing orders almost from the moment the doors opened on day one.
As always at Scoop, the emphasis was on high-quality, tactile fabrics. Many brands freshened up their offers for autumn 18 by juxtaposing different fabrics – cashmere with shearling; cotton with mesh – or imbuing their collections with fun elements, such as quirky animal graphics. Leopard print was back in force, while tweed emerged as a key trend for the new season.
“Buyers are sourcing more carefully,” said Karen Radley, founder and managing director of Scoop. “They’re being more selective and are looking for iconic, standout pieces.”
Upstairs in one of the top galleries, Scoop showcased a new tie-up with Villoid, the online fashion platform set up by model Alexa Chung and her friend, Karin Kaellman. Villoid presented three emerging fashion brands – Hades, Lovers & Drifters and Desmond & Dempsey – and a jewellery label called Milk Tooth LDN. Scoop said the initiative was the “beginning of a long-term joint ambition to support young designers”.
Scoop has been back in its familiar setting of the Saatchi for a few seasons now, after a temporary move to Old Billingsgate at the end of 2016 while the gallery hosted a Rolling Stones exhibition. With the limitations on space at the gallery, the show could start to feel stale – but visitors seemed more than content with the mix of brands, while the tie-up with Villoid added a fresh draw.
Views from the show
Adele Crombie, owner of contemporary womenswear indie ALC in Edinburgh
I love coming to Scoop. There is always an eclectic mix – different styles, different price points. It’s a nice, calm environment: better for placing orders. It’s not all doom and gloom [on the high street] but it’s tough. From October to December, we were busy but people seemed reluctant to actually spend. Our January Sale hasn’t been that good – I think Black Friday has ruined it.
Katey Charlton, key account manager at True Decadence
This is our second time at Scoop. The kind of customers here are the sort of doors we want to be in. The mood [among retailers] is very mixed: some accounts are sailing, others aren’t. It depends on their area and what they have around them competitor-wise. We’re here to meet bigger accounts as well as indies.
Jo Frances, head of womenswear at Love Brands
It’s quite positive out there at the moment. Indies seem to be performing well – we’re selling through on spring 18 and we’re writing orders on the stands. I think it was challenging after Black Friday, but trade picked up after that and indies have gone in to spring 18 in a good mood. Same for department stores.
Anna Reidinger, European sales associate at Charli
Scoop has been extremely busy for us as we have a lot of customers in the UK. Some customers have said they prefer it when Scoop is on at the same time as [fellow London trade show] Pure London, but others prefer it when they’re on separate dates. Retailers have had a good autumn season just gone, which helps.
Christian Lynch, director of sales at New York-based womenswear brand Lilla P
We’ve been selling in the UK for five years and are looking to expand our wholesale accounts here – we currently have 20. We’ve built such a loyal following in the past 29 years – some stores have carried us since we sold one T-shirt – so we’re here to cultivate existing connections and connect with a UK agent.
Frankie Macaulay, owner of Cocowai Cashmere
It has been good – we’ve had a lot of interest from potential new customers. It feels quite busy, but I think that usually varies depending on where you are [in the show] – this time we’re on the first floor. Most of our regulars will come down at some point, such as Fenwick, Brown Thomas and a number of indies.
Cory Burke, director at Last Agencies
For us, the second day of the show was similar to the first – it was a ghost town first thing but footfall picked up as the day went on and people wound their way up to the second floor, where our stand is. We’ve seen some good independents, like The Dressing Room, and today we’ve seen Fenwick and are expecting House of Fraser. It’s been steady. Some people are saying it’s been a quiet edition, but when we look back at who we’ve seen on the stand, it’s been really positive.
Sarah Spada, sales representative for Vone
On Sunday we saw the boutiques, and on Monday some of the larger independents and department stores like Fenwick. The brand usually shows at some of the US trade shows and Scoop compares favourably. It’s very well presented and well laid out. It’s a nice environment and people want to stay, whereas some of the US shows are so overwhelming people want to get in and get out again.