The a/w 15 edition of Moda Footwear saw buyers from across Britain and beyond meet with a diverse mix of mainstream fashion brands and essential business advice, as the show returned to the NEC between 15-17 February.
Year on year the number of visitors registered as buyers increased by 5%, with more than 97% of those having purchasing responsibility, which translated throughout the show with strong business written onsite.
The show continued trends witnessed in previous seasons with growing positivity from both buyers and brands with Philip Marsh, managing director of Chatham saying: “The a/w 15 Moda show was Chatham’s best show to date! We took a record number of sales, from both current buyers and new retailers who we haven’t dealt with before. I am delighted with the show and of course, will be back in August.”
David Wiley, Regional sales director for Helly Hansen, which joined the footwear line-up for the first time this season, also commented: “Moda was everything we hoped it would be and more – we met many new buyers, some whom we would have struggled to engage with had we not attended the show. Moda delivered for Helly Hansen, and we will definitely be back.”
Notably this season, was a welcome resurgence of Irish buyers, with brands and buyers across the sector noting the growing confidence in this geography. Olga Cripps-Traynor, manager at Cripps Footwear said: “There is very much a growing confidence in Ireland at the moment and we come to Moda as there’s more choice for us and we are able to see full collections. We also get to speak to the suppliers and directors themselves; being able to talk to people one-on-one is always very advantageous and important for independent retailers to stay up-to-date with the industry.”
Elsewhere buyers praised the show for the variety of product on offer with Nigel Hamilton of Bishops Footwear Ltd saying: “We had a brilliant time at Moda and saw a mixture of existing suppliers and new names. We come to the show because the ranges on offer are excellent, and the timing is very good. In terms of location, it’s also the most convenient footwear show for us in Europe.”
Laura Tregoning of Scorpio Shoes in County Durham mirrored this sentiment saying: “We come to Moda twice a year to look out for any new and emerging trends and we haven’t been disappointed this season, with so many styles and brands on offer.”
Talking about Moda’s seminar programme, which this season benefitted from additional panels as well as more intimate business seminars, Tregoning added: “My partner focusses on the buying and I attend the seminars which help me make sense of what to prioritise. I attended five different seminars which covered different aspects of e-commerce and between them I’ve come away with a lot and it’s helped me build up a picture of what we need to do.”
The show’s new initiative, the BE2B Hub which centred around this season’s seminar theatre, also assembled a host of key retail services providers such as online marketplace Downyourhighstreet.com, photographic specialist Orbitvu and EME Digital, e-commerce website company Visualsoft and stock management providers Top To Toe, to name but a few. The area builds on the growing demand from visitors for e-commerce and in-store information in one easy-to-access space within the show.
In addition to the seminars in the BE2B Hub, the introduction of expert panels to the seminar programme this season welcomed daily discussions around marketing and PR as well as e-commerce. Nicola Seller, owner of women’s footwear and accessories store Shoobyloo, Brighouse said: “We are a small family business so finance and resources for e-commerce can sometimes be difficult, so the seminars are invaluable. Moda is perfect for us, as having all the brands we stock in one place and this level of business advice saves us so much time, which is always at a premium for retailers like us.”
Summarising the growing positivity within the show, Sean O’Connor, event director for Moda Footwear said: “The mood throughout the show was one of more decisive buying and it’s pleasing to see that the investments made by brands have been rewarded by the increasing improvements in the market starting to make a real impact on trade business.”
The next edition of Moda Footwear will showcase s/s 16 collections and will take place at the NEC from 9 to 11 August 2015.