The spring/summer edition of Moda, the UK’s largest fashion trade show, took place between 11-13 August at the NEC Birmingham, and saw brands and buyers in a positive mood with many hailing the season as a turning point for the retail industry.
With brands reporting a year-on-year increase in sales figures at the show, for many it has been the best season since the start of the recession. James Lakeland, designer and owner of James Lakeland said: “This has been our best show ever. People are changing their buying habits and it certainly feels like we have reached something of a turning point in the industry.
“As both a supplier and retailer I know that I am here ready to buy and have found some amazing brands and this was definitely the vibe I got from the buyers visiting me.”
Concurrent with the recent increase in spending across the apparel and footwear industry, several brands identified the effect of the summer as a key factor in this change of mood. Paula Freedman, agent for handbag specialist Bulaggi, commented: “We have had a busy show and written lots of orders and I think the weather has played a huge part. Having a sustained summer this year has allowed retailers to sell any stock back logs and has left the whole industry feeling optimistic that spring/summer 2014 is going to be a break in the clouds.”
This sentiment was echoed by retailers across all sectors with footwear specialist Chatham Marine reporting a 20% increase in their sales compared to this time last year. Phillip Marsh, the brand’s managing director said: “We have seen some serious buyers this season and we have really hit our target market. This is the only UK show we do and because of that our returning customers know where to find us. It’s also a great place to meet new business, and this has very much been the case this season.”
Across the show a range of new launches and exclusive collections have found particular success. In Moda Gent, Rohan Basi, designer of new urban brand, Future Cut Cloths praised the event as an opportunity to showcase his products: “Moda has a great reputation and that’s why we chose to launch the brand here and it has far exceeded our expectations. It has really helped having our products on the catwalks which has led directly to orders.”
John Snare, of organic womenswear brand, Braintree Clothing also commented: “We have seen lots of different types of buyers throughout the show from independents straight through to chains. We had some time away from the show but coming back has proved to be a great move for us. The mood is buoyant and it is reflected in people’s purchasing.”
In Moda Lingerie & Swimwear, Brian Ashcroft of Fashy recognised the importance of the show as both a sales and marketing exercise: “We take a lot of orders at Moda but our main motivation for returning each season is to showcase our latest designs. We know that buyers see the show as an important part of the calendar and we would exclude ourselves from the market instantly if we didn’t attend.”
Also in the intimate apparel sector, newcomer to the show Varley was among a selection of brands exhibiting in the area dedicate to designer and directional brands, Moda Boutique. Ben Mead, founder said: “This is the best show we have done in Europe and it has been a perfect platform for making contact with many UK independent retailers. We have been helped by how fantastic the Boutique area looks, it has really drawn people in and buyers know exactly what they are getting when they come to us.”
At FLIP, the UK’s dedicated urban, street and denim show, big name brands including Animal, Billabong and Santa Cruz lined up alongside new brands such as Eto Jeans, Maraton and Blend. David Hockeridge, managing director of AXL Distribution, distributors of Billabong said: “As a surf brand business has benefited from the good weather but the show has always been worth our while. We bring a lot of brands to FLIP and all the new collections have been well received. We think it’s so important to support a dedicated show like this and sticking with it has paid off this season.”
As well as proving to be another successful season for sales, the show’s business advice programmes and debates were well received with the launch of the Big Live Debate series striking a particular chord with visitors. Sally Morgan, owner of Kiwi Boutique in North Yorkshire said: “It is so thought provoking. Immediately after the Big Live Womenswear debate I turned to my colleague and we started discussing our own experiences. It is incredibly reassuring to hear fellow retailers share their experiences. When you spend the majority of time in your own shop you almost forget that people across the UK and the world are subject to the same pressures and changes in markets as you.”
Elsewhere, Moda’s strongest seminar programme to date saw more than 20 speakers cover a range of different topics from visual merchandising to social media. In addition the dedicated Lingerie & Swimwear Retail Theatre also helped to attract visitors from across the globe. Kimari Williamson, owner of Chicago based lingerie boutique I Love Intimates said: “We have flown over from America specifically and are here for the entire show. The seminar programme is high on my agenda. We don’t get this level of business support and detail in the States and it’s so important when taking the time to come to a show like this that you get the most out of it you can. Everything is under one roof here and the quality of the brands is really high as well.”
Reflecting on the show, Nick Cook, commercial director for ITE Moda Ltd. said: “It has been a great show with everyone feeling a renewed sense of optimism. People seem to be ready to invest in themselves and the sector once again.”
The next edition of Moda will welcome autumn/winter collections back to the NEC Birmingham between the 16-18 February 2014.
For more information please contact Katherine James via email at [email protected]
or call +44 (0) 1484 846069. Please visit us at moda-uk.co.uk and talk to us at twitter.com/ModaExhibitions and facebook.com/moda.uk.
Notes to editors
• Moda is the UK’s largest business fashion trade event, taking place at the NEC Birmingham twice a year.
• Moda is organized by ITE Moda Ltd. and comprises the national shows for menswear (Moda Gent), footwear (Moda Footwear) and lingerie and Swimwear (Moda Lingerie & Swimwear) as well as a variety of classic and contemporary womenswear and accessories brands in Moda Woman and Moda Accessories respectively.
• FLIP, the only UK show dedicated to street, urban and lifestyle unisex brands, runs alongside Moda with all visitors gaining free entry to the show.
• High resolution images available on request