The opening day of the inaugural Pure London x JATC show, the London festival of fashion, welcomed hundreds of retailers from across the UK and internationally including ASOS, Lark London, Jarrolds, Plumo, Slate Clothing, Marisa Helene, Armed and Gorgeous, Domino Style, Leonies, Dragonfly Boutique, The Snotty Fox, Dolls House and many more. Visiting the landmark event, buyers commented on the vibrant atmosphere, new retail categories and the diverse array of brands showcasing, and exhibitors were excited by the crowds of high calibre visitors.
Anna Lisle, Buyer at Terracotta said, “It’s been brilliant. There’s a good offering of all our usual brands as well as some nice new ones. The show’s been put together very nicely, and it’s been edited in a helpful way. I love the way the shows are all together, three shows in one venue!”
Meg Andrews-Brown from The Nest Pamphill said, “It’s been great, we’ve found quite a few new brands that we like the look of, including a brand that’s just down the road from us that we hadn’t ever discovered before and we’ve forward ordered with them. Pure London x JATC is definitely where we come to look for new brands. It’s so full on here that we only saw a little bit of the content and catwalk – if we stopped, we wouldn’t get everything done.”
Gill Tennant, Owner, Main Womenswear in Ilkley said, “I come to Pure London x JATC to pick up new brands, I clock things and it’s always good to see the fashion shows and I like to watch and listen to the guest speakers.”
Exhibitors were equally positive, Nikki Collins, Founder Conscious Yoga Collective said, “Today has been like a fairytale, completely unexpected. We’ve had every multiple here, and almost everyone who stopped has ordered straight away. The way the show is set up, the retailers can see the product perfectly, we’re delighted. We’ve had the most incredible multiple buy for all of their stores, we can’t wait to see what the rest of the show brings!”
Carole Alexender, Sales Director Revolution Now said, “We’ve had a great reaction for our first day, our knitwear has been popular, buyers are loving the matching little dog knits that come in 5 sizes. Interestingly a lot of women’s stores have come by looking to set up some of our menswear accessories in store for Christmas, our scarves have been really popular for this.”
Lisa & Tina from Chalk commented, “This is our first show back since 2020, and it’s been great. New customers, some international and some of our existing customers. For day one, we’re really pleasantly surprised.”
James McGrath, Founder Big Metal said, “The show has been really interesting with the new format, and half of our customers today have been brand new!”.
The Pure London x JATC Catwalk drew excited crowds as visitors eagerly anticipated the first preview of AW24/25 trends. The catwalk welcomed designs from Graduate Fashion Foundation alumni, in a continued partnership designed to showcase new talent and provide a unique platform to the fashion industry. This was followed by four directional trend stories Monster Tailoring, Child’s Play, Faux Minimalism and Chaos Dressing alongside key looks from brands at the show.
Malaïka Ewande, specialist Trend Forecaster, fashion designer of her own genderless collection and founder of creative consulting bureau, Vesuvius, delivered a well-attended trend presentation offering an insight into the AW24 key trends, helping to guide purchasing decisions for buyers, retailers and suppliers in attendance. ‘AW24 Trend Update: A Tale of Balance and Creativity’ guided visitors through two of the season’s mega trends, ‘Overstimulated’ & ‘Reformed Maximalist’. Ewande opened; “This season is all about balancing creativity; a perfect combination of individual expression and new craftsmanship gives way to trends that inspire a sense of community and brings art back into fashion.” Breaking down two micro-trends within Overstimulated, Ewande presented ‘Chaos Dressing’. “Chaos Dressing is mass oriented experiment to achieve ultimate individuality. Blending multiple eras perfectly together, the silhouette here is layered and takes inspiration from classic, and subculture. Focus on textures is key here, using as much texture as possible in this trend; elevated patchwork, shredded fabric and utilitarian gathering. The second bow to this trend is ‘Childs Play’, “This is translated in extremely bright colours; silhouettes have a cartoon-ish look, it’s essentially adults playing dress-up with emphasis on the search for comfort, security, joy and innocence. Very close to Chaos Dressing, but instead of tacky it’s about fun, hand-crafted jewellery, key chains, teddy bears.
Reformed Maximalist; Faux Minimalism, captivates with straightforward yet quite creative pieces, this trend is about an exercise in not so quiet luxury. A silhouette built in culture and art, the perfect combination of quality and quantity with designs that stand out in a very elegant manner. Subtilty as a guideline in textile; illusion fabrics, delicate texture and contrast printed knits. Cashmere, silk, comfiting and elevated fabrics. Next in this trend is Monster Tailor. This year, tailoring has taken this huge creative direction, it’s become more causal, more open, less serious in terms of shape, and specifically in formal and office wear there is a lot of sportwear detail coming through. Colours here are deep blues, light beiges, bright reds and soft browns. Tailoring that breaks generational barriers, styling shapes, fabrics – all classic tailoring rules are broken.”
Journalist Eric Musgrave and JATC Creative Director and MD of agency JUST Consultancies Juls Dawson explored the reintroduction of menswear at Pure London x JATC and what this exciting category has to offer. Discussing menswear Juls said, “A lot of brands and boutiques offer for men and women, specialising in both, means we can offer what they want. Womenswear is about 60% of our industry, but the menswear is still key.”
Eric expanded, “What I love is when indies buy from several brands and merchandise them all together so their customers can buy cohesively, where you can see the vision of the boutique owners. I’m a massive fan of the trade show, I think it’s so important for the industry to have a place where people can come to meet. I really struggle to understand how people know what’s going on in the industry if they don’t come to the trade shows.” Juls continues, “When so much of the high-street is working in competition and looking the same, independent boutiques make such a fantastic point of difference. They can really concentrate on what the people in their location want”.
Jill Wanless, celebrated stylist and former editor of Hello! Fashion Monthly, LOOK and Clique took to the stage to discuss how to create quiet luxury within a valuable wardrobe. Selecting a range of brands from Pure London x JATC, Jill talked through the trends illustrating them with examples. Jill advised, “If you genuinely love every piece in your wardrobe, you will keep them forever!” “We should all look at buying less and buying quality pieces. If you’re a buyer or retailer you could create a rail in store or an edit online with classic pieces that work within the capsule wardrobe. This will build brand loyalty and respect purchasing.”
Gabriele Dirvanauskas, Deputy Editor at Drapers, moderated a dynamic panel discussion attended by many visiting retailers that delved into the challenges and triumphs of the independent retail market. Gilly Aspey, Proprietor Slate Clothing, Natasha Yeomans, Buyer Young Ideas and Maddie Ashbrooke, Owner & Director Moo and Boom discussed, the importance of personalising the customer experience and knowing and cherishing your customers, how ecommerce and social media is changing the independent retailer, issues of sustainability and how to navigate the cost-of-living crisis.
Gloria Sandrucci, Pure London Event Director says, “This has been an overwhelmingly positive start to the fist Pure London x JATC. We have welcomed so many fantastic retailers and exhibitors are equally positive about the first day and the season ahead. I can’t wait for the next two days!”
Juls Dawson, JATC Creative Director says, “Buyers were thrilled with the news that Pure London x JATC were coming together under one roof, and it has been great to see so many coming to the event today. The response from brands and retailers has been really positive on this first day and it has been a joy to walk the floor!”
Visitors joining Pure London x JATC over the next two days can look forward to beautiful catwalks, trend presentations, seminars from inspirational speakers and sustainability workshops. Highlights include an inspiring session from Anna Wood, Business Mentor & Former Retailer, a divisive panel exploring the multifaceted landscape of sustainability in the fashion industry and Megan Doyle, Associate Director of the Graduate Fashion Foundation hosting a panel of recent graduates and industry leaders who will share their experiences and advice on navigating the fashion industry after graduation.
Pure London x JATC, The London Festival of Fashion, will take place until the 13th February 2024 at Olympia London, presenting a curated selection of over 300 brands. Scoop International will also take place on the 11th-13th February 2024 at Olympia West.
For further information on Pure London x JATC please visit www.purelondon.com.
Photos by Paul Winstone