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The London Textile Fair: view from the floor

Buyers flocked to the textiles trade show at London’s Business Design centre on 11-12 Janaury to gain inspiration early on in the season, while exibitors told Drapers their customers were working closer to season and looking for smaller minimums.

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Alexandra Kaiser, womenswear designer

I come to The London Textile Fair for inspiration, because it helps that it is so early in the season. This might be the summer edition, but I’m actually looking for fabrics for winter, and lots of mills here are showcasing fabrics for both summer and winter.

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Chanelle Edwards, womenswear designer, Inoir

As a designer running my own company, I am always looking for suppliers that offer small minimums. Anything above 300 metres as a minimum is too much for me. I’m really looking for suppliers that are at between 100 and 200 metres. My designs are for the athleisure market, so I have come looking for technical fabrics.

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Elizabetta Pereira, marketing and sales manager, J&F

This edition of the show hasn’t been as good as it was last time. I think there is a lot of uncertainty around, and a lot of our customers are out at Pitti Uomo and couldn’t do both shows. Having said that, I have seen big accounts including Ted Baker, Jack Wills, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis. The first question everyone asks is what our minimums are, with most people looking for smaller minimums. We offer a stock service, so there are no minimums on that, and then on the rest of our fabrics we ask for a minimum of 300 metres.

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Filipa Cortez, international sales manager, Sanmartin

The show has been busy for us. We’ve seen a lot of new, start-up designers, and mostly from UK. The one thing I have really noticed is that they are looking for something different. We’ve had a lot of interest in non-traditional laces, for example.

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Frances Fletcher, UK sales agent, Isabelle Fabrics

The show has been fairly slow. They have changed the layout so that people enter upstairs to encourage footfall around the whole venue, but that does mean it has been slower in the downstairs section at the front of the London Design Centre, which was normally the busiest section.

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Gianni Colombo, export manager, Dragoni SpA

We’ve seen a steady flow of customers at this edition of the show, and numbers are more or less in line with last January. Working with cotton, this is a busier show for us than the winter edition in June, when people are generally looking for wool.

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Jonti Woodland, menswear designer, Reiss (pictured with Rachel Spencer, senior print developer)

We come to the show to meet with the mills we have been working with all season. As a high street brand, we come to top up the collection and fill in any gaps that we might have left later in the season, as we already attended Première Vision. The London Textile Fair is a great show, but we almost think it needs to go up a level now. It’s really big with lots of suppliers, but we think it probably needs a new venue so it can fit more in.

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Jordan Whyte, textile agent, Andrew Moss Agencies representing Lanificio Bacci

The London Textile Fair is a core staple for us every season, and we see all of our major customers here and pick up some new ones. It definitely competes with Première Vision and Milano Unica.

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Lily Cornell, womenswear designer, Alan Auctor

This show is amazing and it gets bigger every year. I don’t need to go to Première Vision any more as there is such a good selection here. I tend to come to find new mills. So if I am already working with someone, then I won’t spend my time visiting them.

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Maria Pernas, womenswear designer

I come here looking for different, more exclusives types of fabrics, and I think there is a great offer for that. I have found some Irish linen, which is really special, and some great wool and cotton.

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Michael Fullagar, dress fabric agent, representing Carrington Fabrics

I have picked up some great new bridal accounts, and where we tend to work with more expensive fabrics it is not unusual for our customers to be looking for smaller quantities. So we offer both a stock service and small minimums.

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Penny Brandler, UK agent, Angelo Vasino SpA and Centro Seta SpA

The first day was slow, but the second day at the show was much busier. The good thing about The London Textile Fair is you do see all of the big UK accounts. I’ve certainly noticed people are still shopping for winter fabrics, and even my accounts, which are more premium, are working much closer to season.

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Simon Jouan, export sales manager, Malhia Kent

This edition of the show has been really good, and I have seen a mixture of big accounts and smaller, new designers. The main question has been around minimum orders, with a lot of people looking for smaller quantities than normal.

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