Pure London’s SS18 edition (23-25 July) concluded on Wednesday afternoon. This season, some 700 brands gathered in west London’s Olympia exhibition space, presenting SS18 collections as well as short-order ranges across women’s apparel, menswear, footwear and accessories. Pam Hogg and Henry Holland were among the industry figures giving talks on the busy seminar schedule that covered everything from trends and branding advice to retail strategies and buying tips.
Pure has pushed the recent introduction of athleisure, and although there was a small portion of brands within this bracket, as well as the odd casualwear name in the young fashion Spirit section, the fair landscape was dominated by dress-based collections, with an abundance of colourful, feminine tunics and kaftan-style garments.
“People come to the show to look for something fresh, and it seems we’re offering what they’re looking for this season – colorful Ibiza-inspired dresses and tunics. We’ve mainly met UK-based buyers but we’ve also come into contact with people from Greece and Cyprus. Pure was a success for us, "said Margriet Wagenaar of Dutch brand Gado Gado by Margriet Wagenaar. Farheen B Rahman of Indian brand Farheen Rahman also felt that Pure was a natural fit. "We want to offer looks that are different and more special than what you typically find on the highstreet, but still accessible and not as pricey as designer fashion. We found Pure to be the right platform in which to present our collection." Brighton-based sister brands Vacant and Circus are longstanding Pure exhibitors. Said Mhorag Lomond about this season’s outing: “Sunday was a bit quiet but overall we’ve had the best season yet, writing lots of orders. Generally, we’ve been doing better after updating the collections to suit a slightly older consumer who’s prepared to pay a little more to get something unique.” Meanwhile, a sales representative for French brand Palme commented on the type of visitor the show attracted this time round. "We’ve exhibited at Pure before, but this season’s been particularly successful as we’ve met a good mix of UK clients as well as some international ones. We will definitely return to Pure again.”
The mood was less optimistic among the menswear exhibitors. The menswear section, which premiered in February 2016, consisted of some 60 brands that sat somewhat awkwardly together in an environment that lacked direction. “We’ve brought our menswear brands for the second season but we feel Pure’s strongest point is its womenswear. It’s the only mainstream womenswear fair in the UK and has a definite position in the market that it should nurture. The introduction of menswear feels like an afterthought,” said one participant who wished to remain anonymous. This opinion was echoed by many of the exhibitors we spoke to. To conclude, Pure ended on a note that pulled in two directions, divided along gender lines.
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