Pure London, the UK’s leading fashion buying show, welcomed thousands of retailers from across the UK including Hoopers, Øst London, Jane Young, Agatha Boutique, McElhinneys, N Shelly, LilyRose Boutique, Charcoal Grey Boutique, Ocean Blue, Pearl & Grace, Libellula, White Feather Sherborne, Sirene, and Loulou Boutique, despite the soaring temperatures outside. With its new modern cooling system keeping Olympia cool, the buyers commented on how delighted they were to be back at the show and exhibitors were upbeat about the high calibre of visitors.
Roberta and Carl Jacklin from Agatha Boutique, Lincoln said: “The way the show has been organised is fantastic, we like how it is divided into destinations and the vibe of the show is really good. We come every season to see if there are any new brands that we have missed or any trends to be alerted to. Post pandemic, it’s nice to be able to see and feel brands rather than doing your buying on Zoom.”
Lara Kinnett from Newmarket based store Martha V commented on the importance of in person business: “It’s so important that we’re back, face to face, but more than that, being able to touch and feel the garments and have all the exhibitors in one place; it lets you see the bigger picture.”
Exhibitors were equally bouyant. Janine Birkitt-Hewitt from long-standing exhibitor Luella Fashion said: “We’ve had a very good show so far, really pleased with the mix of buyers. We’ve seen a lot of our existing stockists as well as people who have been interested in our brand for a while come to visit us as well, and we’ve signed them up as stockists. Lots of new accounts today. We were also delighted to have one of our dresses featured on the catwalk today. Pure London offers us exposure, it has a great name and reputation, with a convenient location and great venue.”
Highlighting the benefits of the catwalk stage and content programme, Holly Hart from Neon Star said: “Pure London is the only show we attend, we love the atmosphere, the light and the mix of people from different places; we’ve been really pleased with the mix of buyers so far. Mark Heyes and Lynne McKenna’s styling tips and tricks catwalk show chose to feature one of our wrap dresses. We watched it on the catwalk and immediately had four new customers who wanted to buy the dress and others from the collection, which was just wonderful.”
Opening the content programme and kicking off the Spring Summer 23 season with a bold array of colour, the catwalk show presented six key trends for Spring Summer 23 including Kidult, Natural Nouveau, Sundial, New Utilitarian and Tide Green, all delivered to a packed audience.
Journalist and author Dana Thomas took to the stage to open the show’s Power of One® content programme, with a call for fashion to have a net positive impact on the world. She begun by sharing some of the statistics and stories she uncovered while researching her book Fashionopolis. From the impact of overgrazing from cashmere goats in the Himalayas to plastic microfibres now being found in human blood for the first time, she emphasised that clean fibres and circular initiatives are key to making this change but added that it’s no longer enough to just reduce impact, fashion should work towards giving back to people and planet through the way it works.
“The future must be zero impact and even better, it should be net positive. Net positive is the practice of putting back more than what you’re taking. Fashion must be restorative, reparative and regenerative,” she said. Thomas went on to discuss digital IDs as a way to communicate where materials come from but emphasised that wording around sustainability should be simple and easy for the average consumer to understand.
“What does fashion look like in ten years? There will be more choice for consumers. They’ll be able to choose the sustainable option or not. They won’t expect brands to be perfect, but they will expect them to be honest and transparent. They will love fashion, perhaps even more than they do now. It will be a healthy relationship. Sustainable fashion will be democratic and affordable. You have the power to make that happen.”
Delving further into green issues, Sebastien Renault and Malaika Ewande from Pure London’s trend agency partner Promostyl took the audience on a comprehensive journey through the nuances and challenges of ethical fashion. The insightful discussion went from eco-sociological factors of garment manufacturing, inclusivity, diversity, gender, and body positivity. They focused on Gen Z and their drive for authenticity in all areas of ethical fashion in the digital age. Renault said: “Ethical Fashion is an umbrella term that encompasses many factors including, sustainable fashion, slow fashion, conscious fashion and healthy fashion promoting body positivity, gender and diversity.”
He added: “Being an ethical brand involves transparency, scrutiny, accountability and actionable change. Brands must be informative, including transparency in production, fabrics and other socio-economic factors.”
Looking ahead to February 2023, Pure London announced the launch of two new sectors – Purely Sustainable and Pure Edge.
Purely Sustainable will spotlight sustainable brands and drive positive change. It has been launched to help the fashion community navigate this growing priority, push for progress, and support the industry in its sustainability journey. Rather than tell brands and retailers how to be sustainable, Purely Sustainable will support them on their individual journeys, recognising that the shift to sustainability is not an easy one, with many challenges. Progress is achieved in different ways and at different paces for each business, however every brand has a responsibility to create change through collaboration and community, and Purely Sustainable is driving this progress.
Firmly rooted in inclusivity and diversity and offering innovative, creative collections, Pure Edge launches at the UK’s leading trade fashion buying event, Pure London, in February 2023. Standing 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.
Gloria Sandrucci, Event Director, Pure London says: “Day one has been overwhelmingly positive. Since the doors opened this morning, the aisles have been buzzing with buyers. Exhibitors are reporting brisk trade and have been really positive about the return of the show, and buyers have loved being back. We launched Pure Jewel this season and the area has been busy all day. We also have exciting plans for the future of the show, growing its international reach as well as continuing our journey towards sustainable fashion with the launch of Purely Sustainable. The mood is buoyant and I am looking forward to the next two days.”
Photography: Monika Schaible, Paul Winstone for Fabuk
For further information on Pure London please visit www.purelondon.com