Pure London, organised by i2i Events Group, closed its doors yesterday following three days of good business as high calibre buyers and retailers attended from across the UK and overseas. Now in its 33rd season, the show is one of Europe’s leading transactional exhibitions, making it an excellent barometer for how retail is fairing in the current climate. A buoyant, confident mood was reported at the show with positive feedback from both exhibitors and retailers alike.
The 'who’s who’ of fashion buying attended Pure London, including many retailers found on this year’s Drapers Inspiring Indies shortlist, and winner ‘The Dressing Room’. Key independent retailers such as Anne Furbank, Attic, Black White Denim, Diffusion, Doodie Stark, Lewis Yates, Love KR, M&Co, Okeefe, Richmond Classics, and AB10 were joined by etailers such as ASOS, Amazon, Figleaves, and BrandAlley. This season saw an increase in department store buyers with the likes of Fenwick, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Selfridges and Hoopers, whilst the high street was out in force with names including Author, Berties, Dune, Joy, Mango, Monsoon, New Look, Next, Oasis, Office, Top Shop, Urban Outfitters, and Warehouse all visiting the show.
‘It’s been great to see so many new and diverse brands, I thought I was coming to see brands I already stock, but there is such a great atmosphere, buzz and excitement at Pure London, that I picked up a new jewellery brand and niche clothing brand, who I want to keep under wraps. Pure London is a great platform to discover new and exciting brands, I can see them in their studios but it is great to see them next to each other.’ Enthused Sarah Clare, Owner of What Sarah Did, Hertfordshire.
Exhibitors reported plenty of orders being written by quality retailers from all sectors. Fiona Freeman, Production Co-ordinator of womenswear brand Darling, commented; ‘We have had an amazing show; it has been consistently busy across the three days and we have taken lots of good orders. This season has been a lot better for us than the last, we have all really enjoyed being at the show, there is a great atmosphere.’
This season over 1,000 brands were presented including directional fashion, footwear and accessories. Underlying the importance of Pure London on the international buying calendar, the show played host to buyers from Europe including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and as far afield as Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. Mark Ashton, Managing Director of Little Mistress, commented; ‘The reaction to our new collection has been really strong. We came with a target of signing 60 new accounts for Little Mistress and we achieved 75% of that figure by the end of the first day. New accounts have been opened in new international markets including South Africa, Spain, Cyprus, Belgium and Luxemburg.
Pure London focuses on bringing key international retailers and brands to the show and this season presented 320 international labels, a year on year increase of 6%. Amongst these were 63 French brands, 35 Italian brands, 49 Spanish, 12 Portuguese and 18 German. An international team is now in place headed by International Sales Director, Hans Stoter, with representatives in key markets including France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Footwear saw a big increase in interest from buyers as Pure London now presents the strongest and most directional offering of branded footwear in the UK. Brands included Kat Maconie, Melissa, French Connection, Hudson Shoes, J Shoes, Moda In Pelle, and Julian Hakes.
The feedback from the floor was overwhelmingly positive. Claire Bank, Managing Director of Moda in Pelle, commented; ‘We have attracted a lot of new buyers both from the UK and internationally, our collection has been received really well. We have had an excellent show and love the expansion and new layout of the Gallery Level, it works perfectly with our brand and our positioning.'
While Alex Chupin of K By Karston stated, ‘This is our first time at the show; we love the environment and atmosphere. We have had lots of great interest with quality buyers, we can’t fault Pure London.’
Kelly Baker, Assistant Buyer of Dune Group, commented, ‘We come to the show each season and today we are on the lookout for accessories. Pure London is a brilliant resource for us; right on our doorstep and fantastic for new ideas and inspiration.’
Buyers and retailers visit Pure London to write orders and source new collections, but are also using the show as a vital live resource for business advice. Over 50 hours of insight from 75 top industry experts was showcased over three stages. Speakers included Julie Deane, Founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company, British designer Zandra Rhodes and CEO of People Tree Safia Minney, Richard Pollin, Head of Business at Google, and James Barnett, Production Coordinator of Selfridges.
In particular there was an increased interest in ‘clicks and bricks’ with a hunger for knowledge of online retailing. Draper’s Editor in Chief, Caroline Nodder, chaired a discussion panel about ‘The Future of the independent fashion market’ on Sunday to a full theatre, while David Walter, CEO of Little Black Dress, discussed the importance of staying ahead online to an audience on Monday.
Deryane Tadd, Owner of award winning store The Dressing Room, St Albans, commented; ‘We have had appointments with existing brands and have written orders. We always come to Pure London to have a look for new brands and to see what is out in the market. The seminars and content at the show are amazing! As an indie I can’t always afford to take time out to go to seminars, Pure London offers great business advice and product all under one roof.’
Jan Shutt, Owner of Sunday Best in Rossendale, commented; ‘Pure London is a great venue to catch up with some inspirational indies and share notes as networking is such an important part of any business. By listening to others it can give you an indication of what’s hot and what’s not!’
Taking the show forward, the Pure London team has seen a restructure to bring additional expertise into a strong retail portfolio, which includes Pure London, The Jewellery Show, Jewellery Show London, Spring Fair and Autumn Fair. New appointments include Louise Young, Managing Director of Retail, Julie Driscoll, Portfolio Director for Fashion and Jewellery, and Katie Nicholls, Brand Manager for Fashion and Jewellery.
Julie Driscoll, Portfolio Director for Fashion and Jewellery, commented; ‘We have had a fantastic show! It is an exciting time for Pure London. We are listening to buyers and exhibitors and held focus groups on-site on what we can do to make this the best show in the market. I look forward to implementing the feedback and taking Pure London forward for seasons to come.’
Pure London is set to take over London Olympia once again this August for its Spring/Summer 2014 edition. From the 4th-6th August 2013, over 1,000 brands will be welcomed to the show as they debut their latest collections for S/S14.