Pure London and Scoop make strong comeback at Olympia, despite the heat
The first solo post-pandemic edition of Pure London got off to an encouraging start on Sunday and looked to be busy on Monday too, while sister show Scoop scored a hit in a linked-but-separate area of London’s giant Olympia complex.
It wasn’t quite business as usual at Pure, with some potential visitors possibly put off by the warnings about extreme heat in London (despite Olympia’s more-than-adequate air conditioning and plenty of cold drinks available). The show also felt smaller than its pre-pandemic incarnation.
Yet there were plenty of positive vibes coming from both the brands and buyers Fashionnetwork.com spoke to. The general view was that Pure and Scoop being at the same venue was a good thing; that the larger-than-ever selection of international brands was also a plus; and that visitor traffic was both plentiful and high quality.
Less encouraging, there were some concerns about what felt like a smaller show and the lack of those big names that are a must for bringing in key buyers.
But organiser Gloria Sandrucci was infectiously upbeat. “I have goosebumps from yesterday”, she said on Monday. “The energy, the incredible buzz from the moment the doors opened.”
The company doesn’t share visitors numbers but Sandrucci said she was “overwhelmed by the numbers that came through the doors and also the quality of the buyers.”
Having worked closely with the Good Results agency on the publicity and marketing of the show pre-event, she thinks the efforts clearly paid off.
And while the rise of digital buying during lockdowns and the still-not-defeated virus meant there were fears that tradeshows’ glory days were over, she feels such views were wide of the mark.
“By speaking to retailers yesterday it’s a general view that being able to meet people is important. Fashion is a very tactile industry. Doing meetings and buying on Zoom isn’t as rewarding,” she said.
She hailed the added value live tradeshows can offer, such as the return of Pure’s popular catwalk shows, its Promostyl trend presentations and the keynote speakers that mark out the event from some other rivals.
And she was upbeat about the big international exhibitor presence, saying “we have 31 countries exhibiting at Pure London. We didn’t have that before the pandemic.” She said the team has focused heavily on attracting international groups.
VIEWS FROM THE SHOW FLOOR
Despite the overall positivity, not every exhibitor was 100% enthusiastic, although even those who were critical also had good things to say.
Lily & Me director Amelia Haywood (and her team) summed up the worries, saying that the absence of some the biggest brands that used to be at Pure was a problem, especially for an event that comes with relatively high costs.
She sees the absence of those brands that can all but guarantee the attendance of big-league buyers as a problem.
That said, she added that Sunday was “a great day” for the firm as “we took orders and the general feedback was good”.
And that was the conclusion of many among the brands showing at Scoop.
For instance, Mark Rowe, UK sales director at Joseph Ribkoff called the event “very good, very positive, you can feel the energy, you can feel retailers are — dare I say — back to normal".
In fact, he thought Sunday "was probably one of the best first days for a long time, even better possibly than some of them pre-pandemic”. He reported buyers saying the consumer appetite is turning back to dressier looks and that “things are getting back to normal for sure”.
But while it may be more ‘normal’, it doesn’t mean everything is that same. For instance, a key point in the Promostyl trend presentation was that post-pandemic consumers “feel the need to be way more comfortable in the real world, even in the office”. That means fashion really has changed by the Covid crisis and will never be the same again.
It means brands have to be ready to embrace change and there’s plenty of change happening at Pure London for the next show in February 2023.
First, it’s adding two new sectors – Purely Sustainable and Pure Edge. The first will “spotlight sustainable brands and drive positive change” to “help the fashion community navigate this growing priority, push for progress, and support the industry in its sustainability journey”.
And Pure Edge will — as the name makes clear — add the edgier angle that Pure has previously been missing.
The organisers said it will be “firmly left of centre, exhibitors will be independent, unapologetic and diverse, and proudly embrace difference in all its glory and offering bold collections that make a statement, embrace inclusivity, and demand zero-judgement”.
Finally, Pure Origin will be replaced by Source Fashion and aims to become “the gateway to UK retail and set the new standard for how inspiration, collaboration and awareness will shape the future of responsible product sourcing, from field to fashion”.
Suzanne Ellingham, Director of Sourcing at Hyve Group, said: “We believe that Source Fashion represents an important step change in responsible sourcing that the Fashion community craves. Bringing a truly global mix of raw material suppliers and manufacturers to the UK, giving buyers the confidence that each and every company on the show floor is someone they can work with and build a responsible sourcing relationship is important to us.”
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