The 2014 autumn/winter edition of Moda hailed another season of success with a series of new features and brands across the five sectors contributing to an overall increase in visitor numbers of 5% compared to last February’s show, with the first day of the show netting an 8% increase in visitor footfall year-on-year.
The fashion trade event welcomed the largest UK gathering of women’s, men’s, footwear, accessories and lingerie & swimwear brands, with 1,450 collections exhibiting under one roof at the NEC Birmingham between 16-18 February. Among the line-up this season newcomers made a particular impact with the likes of Dr Martens, Crew Clothing Co., Léo Guy, Zandra Rhodes Handbags and Pleasure State joining the roster, attracting even more buyers from good quality independents as well as department stores and multi-chains.
Launching this season, Moda Noir, a new area dedicated to evening and ocassionwear showcased the latest collections from a gathering of key international brands in Moda Woman. Avril Forbes, of Dress Code said: “Sunday was fantastic – we were very pleased. There was a real buzz, and it was a lovely day. Customers come to Moda for the occasionwear because it’s easy access for everyone in the country and I think the new Noir area will be and continue to develop.”
Moda Noir sat alongside a newly expanded Moda White, with exhibitors in the dedicated space for fashion forward and directional womenswear design also benefitting from a prominent new position within the show. Joy Redfern, sales agent for Elisa Cavaletti, and first time Moda brand, Léo Guy said: “We have had a phenomenal response this season and I think that both our new position and presence on the catwalks have contributed to the sales success we have seen. Between the two brands we have had almost 60 new accounts. Where else can we write that amount of business in just three days.”
Meanwhile, Moda Urban Life saw a consolidation of Moda Gent's strong offer of sports, street and lifestyle brands making it easier than ever for buyers to find the brands they are looking for. Among them were industry heavyweights Billabong, Santa Cruz, and Björn Borg, Garcia, Lindbergh and Shine. James Bunch, area sales manager for Urban Beach commented: “We have seen some great independents here supporting the show and from our experience it seems like things are picking up again, we were last here a year ago and the difference in people’s willingness to buy is marked.”
Moda Boutique returned for its second season in Moda Lingerie & Swimwear with a host of debuting brands including KS Paris, Charlotte & Co., Evollove and Pleasure State who benefitted from the stand out space. Leona Henry, sales manager for Evollove and Pleasure State said: “Boutique is an absolutely fantastic space and we have taken good orders and have had a lot of interest in the brand which is great for raising our profile in the UK.”
New brands across the sectors enjoyed success this season with those looking to grow their UK presence or widen their market in particular finding the event very beneficial. Darren Wilcox, country manager for footwear brand Sorel said: “As a new brand to the show we have received a lot of attention and it has been a brilliant platform to get new designs out there in new environment. We have seen so many good quality multi-chain buyers.”
Echoing this sentiment, Emma Wessman of Swedish based lingerie brand PJ Salvage said: “We have only been in the UK for a year so this has been a first trade event so we didn’t know what to expect but we have been received very positively with new accounts and lots of interest in our collection.”
In Accessories, newcomers Zandra Rhodes Handbags and jewellery brand MelanO were among the brands reporting a strong show. Alan Rosen, managing director of Zandra Rhodes Handbags said: “We’re very excited to be at Moda, and have taken lots of orders from new customers, a real cross-section from all around the country. Overall, it has been very positive, and we are already looking forward to August.”
Among the other UK based brands, Robbie Nichols of Crew Clothing which made its debut in Moda Gent summed up his experience of the show: “We were aiming to pick up new business, and we’ve got 13 new accounts, so we’re really happy. There’s been a really good buzz, and we’ll definitely be coming back. We’ve been getting in front of people we haven’t been in front of before, so it’s been a success. The atmosphere has been good too, and a lot of people have been talking about the show.”
As well as an impressive brand line-up, new for the footwear industry this season, Moda’s Big Live Footwear debate added to the popular Big Live Debate series, offering retailers and brands alike the opportunity to examine and discuss the latest topics affecting their sector. Nigel Hamilton of Bishops Footwear in Northern Ireland who participated in the debate said: “It has been great to get a few things off my chest but even better to know that I’m not alone in my thinking, approach and experience of the sector. Had I not been talking in the debates it would have still been an invaluable insight for me so I was delighted to take part.”
Playing an increasing role within the tradeshow’s offer, Moda’s seminar and debate programme featured a discussion with Dr Pixie McKenna of the Channel 4 show Embarrassing Bodies, as she took to the stage alongside Freya Active to discuss the science behind their latest sports bra collection.
Susan Parkinson, owner of Belle and the Peacock’s Feather in Lincoln commented on the seminar programme saying: “I was interested in learning about websites and mobile commerce and after the seminar I’ll definitely be going home and having a word with my web designer. The seminar has given me the tools to develop my own site and overall Moda has been interesting so far – there’s lots to see.”
Elsewhere, Sue Robinson, owner, Fifth Avenue, Doncaster said: “We are a relatively new business so this is our first time at Moda and we have been impressed. We found some great new brands and the catwalks are such good food for thought. The standard of everything we’ve seen so far has been really high.”
Summarising the season’s success, Nick Cook, portfolio director for the show commented: “It has been a great show, both buyers and brands appear more confident, and the reports we have had indicate that lots of good business has been written onsite. The new areas we've introduced this season have also been well received, and have brought new names and a new look to the show.”
Looking ahead at the future of the show, Nick added: “Having tested the water this season with new product areas there will be some changes to the look and feel of the show going forward. We are focussing on making the show even more accessible for buyers with key product zones and more intimate business seminars and support at the core of the enhancements we will be making.”
The next edition of Moda will welcome spring/summer collections back to the NEC Birmingham from 10-12 August 2014.