As the UK extracts itself from the EU, trading conditions continue to be challenging for British brands. For leading British brand Chatham however, the uncertainty hasn’t dampened a strong selling season. MD Philip Marsh shares his experiences of the season just gone, and reveals why heading back to Moda Footwear is a key element of the brand’s business plan for a/w 18 and beyond.
“The retail market as a whole lacks confidence at the moment,” says Philip Marsh at the end of a busy selling season. “There’s an element of uncertainty surrounding Brexit and what this may mean for the UK but, despite all that, we are pleased to report great successes from last month’s edition of Moda Footwear, with new accounts opening and impressive order numbers for our s/s 18 season.”
As a brand with a strong British ethos – which includes some British manufacturing – Chatham has a strong export business which sees the brand exhibit at trade shows all over the world. Its recent travels put Moda Footwear in context as one of the label’s best-performing exhibitions which this time, exceeded expectations.
“Moda Footwear continues to be the most important trade show for Chatham,” says Marsh. Having visited many trade shows around the world, there has been in general a dip in orders and confidence. However, we were once again pleased to have exceeded our expectations at the show, and we are on a par with our order books last year – so I’m really happy, and looking forward to a good season.”
It’s a success story currently in its 25th chapter. Established over two decades ago, Chatham’s roots are primarily in sailing culture and to this day, each collection is characterised by strong marine aesthetics.
Never a brand to stand still however, Chatham has evolved season after season, constantly impressing Moda visitors with new and improved collections. The original marine brand has expanded beyond classic boat and deck shoes to encompass a more all-year-round lifestyle approach to footwear, and each offer is carefully curated to suit the changing demands of the retailer, and ultimately the end consumer.
“We’ve had some really good feedback on the women’s Country collection for autumn so, as we plan to continue this impressive growth for a/w 18, we will expand and develop this range,” says Marsh. “We will also be working with some innovative new materials for the men’s a/w 18 collection, and will introduce some exciting new lifestyle pieces to the market.
“With the incredible feedback and success of our Made in Britain BYU collection for s/s 18, we have exciting plans to launch an extension of this for a/w 18, so watch this space.”
Whatever the future holds for Chatham, Moda Footwear continues to be the essential platform from which to start each new chapter.
“Moda Footwear is the perfect platform for our brand to launch each new season to the UK,” says Marsh. “The show provides us with a great opportunity to meet with both independents and multiples, and also allows us to meet with other exciting brands in the industry with whom we can share our successes and challenges – we are already looking forward to returning in February 2018.”
Chatham will return to Moda Footwear on 18-20 February next year.