The UK heatwave showed no signs of abating this week as the Drapers team headed out to sunny spring 19 editions of trade shows Pure London and Scoop, which ran concurrently on 22-24 July.
Both shows kicked off with a slow but steady pace, as predominantly independent buyers from across the UK and Ireland trickled in, perhaps due to buyers’ reluctance to sacrifice a day in the summer sunshine for the sprawling halls of Kensington’s Olympia for Pure and the Saatchi Gallery’s warren of rooms for Scoop.
The big talking point at both shows was the recent confirmation of Scoop’s parent company ITE’s purchase of Pure London, bringing both trade shows under one owner.
An overwhelming majority said the change was a positive one, calling it an opportunity for Scoop and Pure London – once seen as competitors – to work together much more closely to provide excellent trade shows for buyers.
Some also believed the move could prove refreshing for both shows but pointed out that now all of the UK’s biggest trade shows – Moda, Jacket Required, Scoop and Pure London – are under the ITE umbrella, they must work hard to maintain their individual identities and, even if brought under one roof, remain clearly separate.
This season, Scoop and Pure London took place at the same time, which most buyers and exhibitors were happy with. The two shows also “collaborated” on a free and easy-to-use taxi service for buyers linking the two locations, which visitors called a positive start to the two shows working together.
The sunshine seemed to put everyone in a positive mood, and exhibitors were broadly happy with buyer turnout, despite some having low expectations. This was particularly the case in the busier and buzzy main hall at Pure London, while exhibitors at Scoop praised the quality of buyers in attendance, rather than the quantity.
The number of buyers from Irish independents was noticeably high across both shows, and visitors from the US and Europe, particularly Belgium, were on the stands at Pure. Buyers were also ready to do business – Drapers spotted brands with order forms in hand at both locations.
There were several new additions to Pure London this season, including new sustainability section Pure Conscious and kidswear area Pure Kid.
Exhibitors in the new Conscious section and sourcing area Origin, which launched at the autumn 18 show on 11-13 February, remarked that footfall was taking a while to wind its way towards the fringes of the vast show.
Over at Scoop, visitors continued to respond positively to the trade show’s location among the artworks of the Saatchi Gallery, which creates a different atmosphere and a more elevated feeling than the traditional trade show layout of Pure London. However, some did remark that Scoop is beginning to feel quite repetitive – the same white rooms and similar layout – and that the slightly cramped feeling of the gallery is good for browsing but does not provide as much space for sitting down and comfortably writing orders.
Five minutes with: Julie Driscoll, managing director of Pure London
What will change now Pure has been bought by Scoop owner ITE?
It’s all about how we can work together and best serve our customers. If we do more, then they can do more and that’s what it is important. I’ve been over to Scoop to chat to [founder and managing director] Karen Radley to get to know her and what we can achieve. There’s already been a good reaction to the fact the shows are on at the same time and that we’re providing a free taxi service between the two. Buyers want to come to London once, they want to learn and they want to network. We’ll speak to each other, to customers and to the industry at large to find out what they want and what we should be doing.
Tell us about the newness at Pure this season.
There’s a new sustainability section, Pure Conscious, which reflects the sustainability conversations happening throughout the supply chain at the moment. We’re also running the “Power for One” campaign, which is the idea that each brand, each retailer, can all do something to help. It is not about big corporates throwing millions of pounds at sustainability initiatives, but the small steps that we can all take. There’s also Pure Origin, which is about the other end of the industry and supply chains. When you speak to sourcing directors, their challenge is getting product made in five or six weeks but in a sustainable way. They’re grappling with that, and that’s something we can help address.
What can we expect next season?
Technology is becoming increasingly important in sustainability, so that’s something we’ll be including more of in the next edition of the show. We’ll also be including a new area called Generation Z instead of the existing Spirit section. It’ll be all about attracting the next generation – there used to be a perception that younger shoppers didn’t spend a lot of money on fashion and that’s just not the case any more. It might be a brand that has the same product for men and women, directional brands, sustainable brands – anything that customer is looking for.