London’s trade shows for the A/W 2009 season proved to be something of a desolate affair. With the absence of TBC and The Park, Margin (Feb. 8-9) and Pure’s Spirit section (Feb. 8-10) were the only haunts left showcasing young fashion.

When visiting Margin, located again at the Music Rooms in Mayfair, the prevalent tee brigade is impossible to ignore. To mention two of the most notable players, the new label Long Clothing figuratively focuses on elongated styles that can be worn as dresses or tops. Graphic prints come in two choices – faded or in full ink. Created according to an equally simplified formula, Mr Wingate’s tees feature foam prints typically applied around the neck and shoulder area – something that gives the garments a certain “angelic” touch.

On the denim front, Trousers London showed at Margin for the third consecutive season. In line with previous offerings, dry denim is the deal, allowing details such as carefully engineered seams and checked pocket linings to come into full focus.

Arms is a promising newcomer offering clean, quirky separates for men and women. Designed with practicality in mind and targeting creative, studio-based folks such as graphic designers, key elements include nifty details such as little pen loops and reinforced elbow patches.

The womenswear label Miksa is a new entry in the fair trade/organic category. Signified by a sporty aesthetic the label’s A/W 2009 range encompasses casual tops and bomber-style jackets complemented by a range of chunky, hand-knitted alpaca pieces given a romantic spin with the help of pretty ribbon detailing.

On the footwear front, hot up-and-comer Rae Jones marked her debut at Margin with a strong collection of comfy yet distinctly stylish shoes and boots; and US label 80%20 impressed with its collection of footwear featuring the celebrated signature wedge heel that is concealed to offer the wearer extra height without a spiky heel in sight.

Spirit, Pure’s showcase of young fashion, was in for a good start when it was reinvented a few seasons ago, but this season the show was overshadowed by a disappointing transformation. Presumably attempting to economize and convey a streetier edge, the show consisted of messy concrete floors and open-concept booths, which only served to jar with the brands on show, most of which specialized in neat, feminine products (with the exception of a few denim players such as Monkee Genes and Applebottoms). The disappointment among exhibitors was apparent and visitors were confused by an inconsistent, if not poorly edited, brand line-up.

There’s no doubt that the international tradeshow scene is saturated, but in London, there’s a gaping hole waiting to be filled for the market TBC once served.

—Emma Holmqvist