fall / winter 22 buyers’ show plans

Paul Hayes, Purchasing Manager, Stitch Fix

My team managed to make it to Scoop x Pure in London this year which was fabulous. We are always delighted to attend CIFF in Copenhagen as it is always a great show and we love the city.

In 2022, we plan to visit CIFF and Micam in Milan. We usually attend the various shows in London, and for menswear in particular, we attend the Pitti Uomo in Florence.

It’s amazing how brands have handled the impact of selling in a locked world – it’s also great to see how my team has adjusted to the challenges they may present. Most brands made a video call appointment, but some also used sales tools, ranging from high quality CAD [images] to virtual beaches to make the experience as easy and efficient as possible.

You can’t see people any better in real life and of course see the ranges in person – we are product people. Trade shows are not only a great opportunity to see multiple brands in one place, but they also allow you to see emerging trends, both on the booths and in person. It’s nice to spend time with peers and brands around the world and understand style trends and nuances on a more global scale. After a year of lockdown and limited travel, we’re also excited to leave the office and visit some of these amazing cities.

There is always a buzz at these events and I imagine it will be even bigger after the last 18 months – we can’t wait.

Kenny Baillie, CEO, Atterley

Atterley trade shows are all about relationships: meeting existing partners and discovering new ones. Often times brands will recommend their resellers to try Atterley because they know we can help increase sales for the reseller which means the reseller is buying more from the brand.

They allow us to meet our partners and assess successful brands at trade shows. [Going to shows] allows you to cover a lot of contacts in a short period of time, but a negative point is the lack of time you can spend with people.

Before Covid, the Atterley team would be present at trade fairs in London, Milan and Copenhagen. Since Covid restrictions have been relaxed so far, it’s only Milan and London. Plans for the AW22 season have yet to be worked out, but we will be seeing shows in Copenhagen and Milan.

[We would like to see] the merger of online and offline, as shoppers embraced online shopping during closings. Seeing this built into physical trade shows and developing over the coming seasons could be exciting, if done right.

Deryane Tadd, director and owner, The Dressing Room, St Albans

My favorite shows, before Covid, were always Revolver and CIFF in Copenhagen, Who’s Next in Paris, and Scoop in London.

I only attended Scoop this year because I wasn’t comfortable traveling abroad for shows. I hope to attend more in January and February 2022 but I will wait to see how the pandemic plays out at the start of the year, before making any commitments.

During the pandemic, the virtual [buying] appointments were the only way during closings, it was convenient and safe, but not my favorite way to shop. Virtual shopping dates take the joy out of the process – it makes it very clinical and difficult to get a real idea of ​​the collection, removing the instinctive element that is so key to the purchase. However, the entire AW21 collection of over 100 brands in The Dressing Room has been purchased virtually and sales have been strong so far, but I returned to the in-person appointments as soon as I felt safe.

I love trade shows for the element of inspiration, seeing brands under one roof, and researching new things that you might not find on your regular trips to showrooms.

Other than the pandemic, I don’t really see any big negatives for trade shows. Some are better than others: Some really know how to deliver retail and trade show theater, while others can be quite sterile. But trade shows in general should be a positive and inspiring part of the process.

From what I understand, trade shows can be very difficult and expensive for small emerging brands to exhibit, so these are often the usual suspects. It would be nice to see new talent and small brands being offered a platform.

Victoria Suffield, Founder and Owner, The Hambledon, Winchester

For women’s clothing we usually attend Scoop [London], and sometimes Who’s Next and Tranoi [both in Paris]. For men’s fashion Welcome Edition and Man in Paris, Man and Liberty Fair in New York, Man in London. We usually focus on housewares trade shows and go to Top Drawer [London], Maison et Objet in Paris and sometimes Spring and Autumn Shows in Birmingham.

We were at Top Drawer but none of the international shows because traveling was either impossible or very difficult. Menswear buyer Rob Adams made Welcome Edition in London for menswear.

I think we were really surprised at the way we coped [buying during lockdown restrictions]. Initially, the prospect of the Zoom dates filled us with horror but AW21, which was bought quite [much] exclusively, digitally, [and] delivered rather beautifully. It gave us more confidence to shop from a distance and expand our horizons without really traveling very far. Purchasing Manager Lucy Coles hates stealing and I hate spending too much money. But the social aspect of the purchase was very lacking.

I don’t think we have any immediate plans to travel abroad to attend trade shows. We can make Home and Object [Paris] in the new year. Rob will do Welcome Edition and Man in Paris.

Seeing people is one of the positives of attending trade shows, finding new things, seeing products in person, and seeing a lot of products all in one easy trip. But seeing a lot in one easy trip can also be negative. I think trade shows can make buying too easy. It is possible to have a range of brands that looks a lot like any other store that has visited the same show. We like to complicate our lives and find things that go more unnoticed.

[Going forward trade shows can look at changing by] subsidize younger or more esoteric brands so they can afford to show – but ready-to-deliver brands: I’ve attended shows where designers exhibit with prototypes but haven’t considered production and that is incredibly frustrating.

Ravi Grewal, CEO, Stuarts London

We went to Pitti Uomo, Jacket Required, Welcome Edition Paris, Man Paris, Liberty Fairs New York, Man New York. Apart from British fairs, we will go to showrooms in Paris, and Welcome Edition [19-23 January, Paris]. Showroom appointments are great for seeing designs in real life, making better buying decisions, and not having to rush.

During the pandemic, we conducted the purchasing process virtually through Zoom, or purchasing platforms like Joor and NuOrder. Some buyers and brands may be reluctant to travel abroad for trade shows, depending on people’s individual experience during the pandemic. Those whose loved ones have died from Covid are unlikely to want to travel, not knowing how the variants and fallout from Covid-19 will affect them.

The good things about trade shows are that you can touch and smell the products, they are good for networking with colleagues and saving time by seeing multiple brands in one place. There is always something to take home.

In UK we love to attend Just Around The Corner [13-15 February, London] and welcome edition [26-28 January, London]. Each show has segmented successfully. Take note of these guys, they do it well.

Roo Cross, Owner, Roo’s Beach, Newquay

Would love to go to Paris and Copenhagen, but maybe I’ll wait for the SS23 editions, because I feel like [attending trade shows] is an expensive exercise. Judging from the London shows, there will be a delay before brands fully commit, so to justify the expense we need to make sure enough brands are showcased.

This summer, we attended Top Drawer, Welcome Edition, Scoop x Pure, and Jacket Required, and we plan to attend in 2022.

We usually go to Pure, Scoop, Top Drawer to offer, Jacket Required, now we launched menswear in July 2020 and also, I’ve been to Maison et Objet, Who’s Next, Revolver and CIFF before.

Buying was extremely difficult during the pandemic. We visited showrooms where possible and, failing that, made the rest of our appointments on Zoom. It’s always difficult, as we like to try on the swatches to get a good feel for the fit and fabric. Without seeing the clothes I think more mistakes are made and also I think we missed some really good pieces because we just couldn’t see them properly.

Attending trade shows is always an exciting environment, especially when we are always on the lookout for new brands. It is important to bond and meet people face to face because it is much easier to build relationships this way. Plus, seeing the product is so much easier than seeing it on a screen, it’s also inspiring to see the way brands present their collections.

At present, it is difficult to justify the expense of visiting trade shows abroad, as there are not enough exhibiting brands yet. I’m sure this will correct itself over the next year or so as buyers fundamentally need and want to travel to experience newness and be inspired.

It was a big help that Scoop, Pure and Jacket Required are now under one roof. [at Scoop x Pure at the Truman Brewery in east London, in September], it will be much better once exhibitors and buyers participate fully and I think the addition of Jacket Required will add an element of good energy to the shows.

I think shows should have a discounted price for new brands to encourage more choice and versatility, otherwise the exhibiting brands can be quite repetitive.

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