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Spotlight on Moda

We catch up with buyers, agents and brands ahead of the Birmingham show.

Michèle Poynter

Michèle Poynter

Michèle Poynter owner, independent lingerie retailer Mish in St Leonards, Bodmin, Cornwall
“I go to Moda every season. It’s got most things I’m looking for under one roof, so it’s time efficient. Brands we stock such as Panache and Fantasie are always there. The show has a good range of D cup-plus bras, so it’s also a good opportunity to look for something new. We picked up Tutti Rouge for spring 14 last season, a fun and relatively fashion-led brand that has a good range of sizes available. We also picked up maternity brand Hot Milk at Moda a year ago; it’s from New Zealand and we wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise. That’s a big advantage of the show.”

Yvette Davies

Yvette Davies

Yvette Davies owner, womenswear independent Thirty Three Boutique in Lymington, Hampshire
“Because I’m based on the south coast, I don’t attend Moda every season; I tend to see most of what I want at Who’s Next in Paris, and London shows Pure and Scoop. However, I’m going to Moda this year because I can’t make it to Pure. There is quite a lot of overlap between the two. I much prefer Scoop these days for quality. But three of our footwear labels will be at Moda and one of our scarf brands, so I’ll go to place orders from their spring 15 collections. If I come across a new brand that is very good quality, but at a commercial, accessible price point, it would interest me.”

Darren Farrell

Darren Farrell

Darren Farrell managing director, accessories brand Knightsbridge Neckwear
“Exhibiting at Moda is a no-brainer. We have exhibited as part of Moda Gent since 2008, and we also started showing in the Select area two seasons ago. The event covers all corners of the UK menswear market and we seem to pick up several new accounts at each show. The styling of iconic British celebrities, combined with the sartorial look in Hollywood movies and TV dramas, are all driving the men’s neckwear market. Social media is another key factor, as is demand for British heritage fabrics, which is playing into an appreciation for the Mod and Northern Soul scenes. Basically, all of these factors thrown together have created a fresh cult following for us.”

Darren Evans

Darren Evans

Darren Evans owner, menswear independent Smart Ass Menswear in Conwy“I’ve gone to Moda for five years and I’ll be there again for this edition. I like it because I come back with a good sense of what’s going on in the market. My shop is in a holiday town, so I have to cater to all ages, and my customers are quite conservative. This means I tend to stick to colours I know they’ll pick up such as navy blue, white and grey. I’ll always try to find something a little different to add into the mix, too. The only essential thing for me when buying is that the quality has to be good. When looking at wholesale prices, my buying range is between £10 for a T-shirt and £200 for outerwear.”

Neil Raven

Neil Raven

Neil Raven managing director, department store Ravens of Southend, Southend-on-Sea
“The economic climate makes buying very unpredictable, so I use Moda as a barometer for what’s happening in the trade. I want to come back with a clear picture of what we need to do for the seasons ahead. I don’t actually buy at a lot of trade shows, but I’m happy to pick up a new brand if we can slot it in. We’re quite a classic shop so I’ll go to Moda looking for easy, fuller cuts for my menswear and I might try and look for some interesting prints for our shirts. I always find that if a product can catch my eye at a trade show, chances are it will catch the eye of my customers in store, too. My wholesale price range is from £15 for a shirt up to £175 for outerwear.”

Richard Benson

Richard Benson

Richard Benson product director, menswear brand Guide London
“At our level, the main market driver is good value for good product. As seasons and trends are merging, brand identity and consistency are what matters, along with great product, obviously. The UK needs a purely mainstream menswear show. We show at Moda because it is the best show in the UK and we have been there for many years. It is a great opportunity to meet our existing customers in person and build stronger relationships, listening to their feedback and discussing what they are expecting from our collections. However, what we really want from the show is new business with new customers. This keeps us moving forward.”

Callum Sneddon

Callum Sneddon

Callum Sneddon UK managing director, underwear brand Bjorn Borg
“The women’s underwear market is being driven by a desire for standout product. The major trend on the high street is for performance underwear for the activewear market, which we have given the usual Bjorn Borg colour treatment. We attend Moda because it’s a buying show with a wide geographical reach. We expect to see many of our current stockists, who will place orders at the show, as well as secure lots of new business.”

Michael Black

Michael Black

Michael Black joint owner, fashion agency Premier Fashions
“All the clients we’ve met with for the spring 15 buying season have been very optimistic and upbeat. After a tougher 2013 for the mainstream market, the start of 2014 has been noticeably more positive and we’re all feeling a definite turn in consumer spending. The advantage of the economic downturn was that fashion brands had to work very hard to produce innovative ranges, with a clear distinction from the high street, and at competitive prices. We’re now seeing the benefits of our hard work, and in turn are inspired to keep this going in the future. Historically Moda has been a very successful show for our brand portfolio. I believe the collections are very strong this season, so I’m feeling positive and looking forward to a great show.”

David Austin

David Austin

David Austin managing director, department store Austins in Newton Abbot, Devon
“Austins has been going to Moda since the show started. We go for three reasons: to keep in touch with the menswear market at large, to look for new suppliers and to keep up with trends. We stock suiting and more formal menswear, but at Moda, we’re mostly looking for informal and casualwear ranges. The number of brands we pick up at Moda varies from show to show. Last time we specifically looked at Olymp shirts and Meyer trousers.”

Sarah Decent

Sarah Decent

Sarah Decent owner, footwear independent Modish in Cambridge
“Some of my brands only show at Moda. Others exhibit at both Pure and Moda, which gives me the chance to look at them at Pure, think about it, then order at Moda. I am really picky these days when looking for brands. It’s got to look great, be comfortable and offer good value for money. My customers will pay for a premium product, but only if it offers value. With my customers, it’s more and more about having it all: fit, comfort, style and price. My suppliers have really stepped up to the mark on this; most have much stronger offerings than a couple of years ago, which makes it easier to meet the requirement of my customers. I will also attend Pure and The Kensington Shoe Event in London (September 7-9), and Micam in Milan (August 31 to September 3) this season.”

Louise Garner

Louise Garner

Louise Garner womenswear controller, buying group AIS
“We use Pure more for seeking trends; when it comes to Moda, it’s more about placing orders with [existing] suppliers, filling any in-season opportunities and gaps in trends. We obviously do look at all new suppliers, and if any of them jump out we will follow up on it. Some of the bigger brands have been selling for a good couple of months by the time Moda comes along, though, so a lot of our buying has already been done. Still, it’s important from a footwear perspective, which is a relatively new category for us, and it means we can really review our supplier base because it brings such a large amount of product under one roof.”

Kim Jackson

Kim Jackson

Kim Jackson owner, children’s footwear retailer Klodhoppers in Hove and Haywards Heath
“We always attend Moda in February, mainly because my husband and I are the owners of two kids’ shoe shops, and the spring show falls during one of our busiest times: back to school. We like to attend Moda to look at other suppliers and get new ideas and inspiration, but we also like to touch base with all of our current suppliers exhibiting there. I prefer to look at the quality of the shoe close up and check the true colours and any other detail, which is something you can’t do from a distance. I think the combination of quality and affordability is driving the footwear market now, as we emerge from the recession. As a qualified member of the Society of Shoe Fitters, I am hoping that the false economy of parents buying ‘off the peg’ kids footwear in the supermarket has had its day. I doubt we will have time to attend any other shows this season other than the [mini-trade show] Gatwick stock room in September and any other local stock rooms close to our shops in Sussex.”

Jean-Pierre Streich

Jean-Pierre Streich

Jean-Pierre Streich managing partner, menswear brand Fynch-Hatton
“We have taken part in Moda for a long time because it is an important place to connect with the UK market. For this edition of the show we expect to gain new customers. It is crucial for independent retailers to find collections that differ from department stores, so customers are increasingly looking for good quality and workmanship. Linen will be a key fabric for summer 15 shirts. We expect greater demand for fitted shirts, too, with more detail and trimmings across all styles. Colours are quieter for spring 15, for a more sophisticated look.”

Donald Finlay

Donald Finlay

Donald Finlay commercial director, menswear distributor Douglas & Grahame“As men become increasingly aware of the latest trends, we are seeing a shift towards soft tailoring, smart casual looks and a strong demand for quality fabrics. Detailing and styling on garments across the entire product range is key. Moda provides a great opportunity to strengthen existing relationships with key accounts, as well as gain exposure to potential new independent retailers, which is vital to our development. The show is also a platform to showcase the breadth of the Remus Uomo and Douglas & Grahame collections. We expect Moda will be busy as consumer confidence grows, enabling us to expand our UK market. We are already seeing increased consumer demand for quality garments as a result of the current economic improvement.”

Jane Sharpe

Jane Sharpe

Jane Sharpe co-owner, womenswear independent Cleeve Clothes in Bishop’s Cleeve, near Cheltenham
“I go to Moda hoping for the element of surprise. I like to see any trends developing between brands, so I take a good look at colours and styles to see how they have developed. I haven’t had the business that long [two years] so I go with an open mind. Moda is a good show for us. Usually it has a really good buzz to it, especially with Sunday being the first day. Everyone is fired up to have a good season.”

Melissa Needham

Melissa Needham

Melissa Needham owner, two-store footwear boutique Black Truffle in London
“I will be attending Moda this year, as it is great for sourcing accessories and footwear for our entry-to-mid-price offer. I also attend Micam, Pure, Platform and Scoop. I’ll be looking for flat, trendy sandals with a bit of cushioning to retail for about £45, as well as flip flops to retail for about £19. I think comfort and simplicity is driving the footwear market at the moment.”

Hilary Haresign

Hilary Haresign

Hilary Haresign managing director, evening and occasionwear independent Snooty Frox in Harrogate
“I am frustrated this season because [brands] don’t understand how hard it is when you’re a buyer when it comes to the logistics of trying to get around everywhere. A lot of people have stopped showing to cut costs, which is all well and good for their expenses, but it makes it harder for us to go to all showrooms. What is lovely about Moda is everyone is there - as a buyer, it is so important to see brands all under one roof. We can’t wait to come to Moda.”

 

 

 

Janie Theaker

Janie Theaker

Janie Theaker, owner of womenswear independent Bridge in Solihull
“I’m not going this season - I don’t find it as relevant as other trade shows and the brands are a little bit older. Instead, this year I’ve been to Scoop, Panorama in Berlin (in July) and I’m going to Pure. I prefer to buy in showrooms, so I tend to use trade shows just for looking - and the earlier ones are therefore better. It’s located really close by to my shop but I’m not convinced I would see anything new if I went to Moda. It’s also a really busy time of year now with Sales.”

Moda takes place on August 10-12 at the NEC Birmingham. Find out more at www.moda.co.uk

 

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