March 2018

Editor's note:

Nelly Gergi Pure London editorWelcome to Pure London.

My name is Nelly Gergi and I’m your new Content Editor. I'll be keeping you informed, interested and educated on the latest trends and names to know, both in-between the shows and during, of course. This month, I’m giving you a round-up of what went on at the Pure London AW 18/19 show, so if you did miss it, you’ll be sure not to make the mistake again.

Highlights included a bit of self-love boosting brought to you by Farrah Storr of Cosmopolitan UK, trend forecasting by WGSN and social media pointers by Marie Louise Pumfrey.
 
It comes as no surprise that a big focus for AW18/19 was sustainability and ethical fashion - it seems to be on everyone’s agenda right now, and it’s a trend that keeps on growing. Whether it was Dior’s 2016 debut “we should all be feminists” or Chanel’s 2014 protest-themed fashion show that first inspired us, I'm not sure. But it’s 2018 and we’re no longer scared of speaking up, and I’m happy we’re taking to fashion to voice our opinions, and that big brands are leading the way.
 
Welcome to Pure London 2.0. This year, we will be aiming to bring you more content, more fashion and more Pure London.

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The best of AW18/19

The Pure London AW18/19 show was indeed one of our most successful shows to date. It invited a big focus on sustainable talks and mind-opening seminars raised the question of whether the option to not think sustainably and to not think ethical is an option in 2018.

With the internet taking over almost every aspect of our day-to-day living, exposing unethical brands has become easy, and choosing sustainable even easier. We’re taking to online platforms and social media channels to promote a healthier way to do fashion and we’re hitting the brakes on Fast Fashion to be able to focus on the ethical and sustainable processes that goes in to manufacturing. With the help of our new sector, Pure Origin, we were able connect manufacturers from all over the world with emerging designers as well as big named retailers including Burberry, Harvey Nichols, Marks and Spencer and Asos.

Another fantastic highlight was our keynote speaker Farrah Storr, the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan UK. She held an empowering session where she spoke about the ongoing issue in today’s fashion industry – how to be different. Sharing pointers from experience and expertise, she said, “you have to be a lot smarter, quicker and bolder in your approach than you might have been a few years ago”.

The three-day fashion fest was both educational and inspiring, but with only 19 weeks to go for SS19 make sure to keep out for more news and more inspiration.

Content is still king

Being able to bring an educational and inspiring seminar programme to London’s biggest fashion trade show is something Pure London prides itself on and this year was no exception. We had speakers joining us from every corner of the world, speaking about topics that are relevant for the whole fashion industry and panel discussions that invited mind-opening questions.

On the Origin Stage we had guests from both Sedex, WGSN and Coloro, as well as LCF lecturers and other leading industry experts. Trend forecaster Geraldine Wharry gave us an insight to what it means to be a forecaster and how it works.

She compared the process of understanding forecasting to the process of child birth, meaning in the same way a mother naturally starts to understand a child’s behaviour, a forecaster learns to understand a trend’s behaviour and she boils it down to, “the fundamental thing with forecasting and researching is instinct”. The CEO of Sedex, Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman touched on human rights issues and emphasized the importance in making a business that is good for everyone and the fact that fashion contributes as the second largest pollution in the world must change.

On the Main Stage we had the opportunity to welcome our keynote speaker Farrah Storr, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan UK. While she spoke about individuality in fashion, she also explained that you should never really be comfortable in what you’re doing and keep challenging yourself to move forward. On the same stage we invited buyers, designers and independent retailers to an inspiring panel-discussion about how sustainability might be the biggest fashion trend of 2018. The CEO and Co-founder of Positive Luxury, Diana Verde Nieto made a strong point in saying, “sustainability should be embedded in brands, it should be main priority”.

The Future Stage focused on brand identity and social media, and industry influencers such as Carl Thompson and Mitchell Webb were invited for an interactive discussion on how to grow your business with influencers. Marie Louise Pumfrey, the Co-Founder of The F Club and Managing Director of MLPR addressed one of today’s key elements for a successful business – Instagram, and how to best make it work for you.

Fashion expert Kalee Hewlett led an interactive style and trend workshop focusing on how to best style for different body types. She included customer service tools and tips, and demonstrated how to incorporate current trends to achieve fashion forward looks.

Whether you managed to squeeze in educational seminars on all stages, or if you just about made it to one – we hope it was as insightful and inspiring as we always aim it to be.

If you missed it entirely – we’re sorry. But don’t worry, The Pure London SS19 show is only 19 weeks away. 

Up close and personal: Leona Fallen, Buyer at McElhinneys

It’s the first day at Pure London and the atmosphere is buzzing. Leona Fallen is only here for one day and I manage to steal a few valuable minutes of her time. She works as a buyer at the department store McElhinneys in Ireland and in terms of Pure London – she never misses it. Whether it’s just for inspiration or for finding new brands, Leona explains that she always makes sure to fit Pure London in her busy buying schedule.

Leona’s passion for her job comes as no surprise as John McElhinneys, the founder of the department store, has 50 years of experience along with a list of success stories. From how he went from selling clothes door-to-door to opening a store that kept expanding to the 70.000 square foot department store that it is today.

She explains, “I think the reason to why John has been so successful is because he’s been on the floor, he’s there every day. He’ll walk through, come down and I’ll be showing him something and he’ll get feedback from the staff”. Leona reveals that the key to good buying comes from spending time on the shop floor and makes a point by saying, “we work best when we’re on the floor, I think that’s why we’re so in touch”.

Leona’s buying process has completely changed and it all boils down to people choosing to spend their money differently. She touches on Brexit being a factor, but mainly that fast fashion has almost conditioned us into thinking that we need new things all the time, she says, “Events such as Black Friday has just ruined so much retailers. No one wants full price. Everybody wants a discount and you don’t want to be known as a discount retailer”, she adds “I’ll have things on the floor for two weeks and people will think it’s old”.

But she doesn’t feel hopeless, she already knows how to tackle the problem, “One of our key-things this year is commerciality, it is the big thing. You definitely need to have a point of difference but you need to have the commercial pieces and you should never be out of stock of those basic things”. She explains it as being a gateway to buying riskier products, if you have classic and commercial fashion, it’s easier to invest in unknown brands and trends.

With an industry that is constantly changing and new challenges to work through, Leona stays passionate and positive, “you have to adapt to your customer and your climate. Everything is changing and there’s never a time it’s been easy but you have to keep going cause at the end of the day, we can always do better and we’re always pushing to do so”.

The launch of Pure Origin

For AW18/19, we were excited to launch our new fabric sourcing section, Pure Origin. Held alongside Pure London, Pure Origin united manufacturers and fabric suppliers from all over the world with buyers and designers. The Managing Director Julie Driscoll said, “A big trend we will be seeing is that more indies will be creating their own labels. This is why we launched Origin – so that manufacturers and fabric suppliers can help educate indies and big department stores on how to shop, from fabric to finished product. The two can co-exist beautifully.”

Hosting some of the world’s leading manufacturing countries including, UK, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, China, Taiwan and India, Pure Origin expertly picked based on the markets need. Excited to be connected with buyers and designers alike, the manufacturers and fabric suppliers that exhibited at the launch of Pure Origin were both passionate and eager to be telling their story. With ethical fashion being in focus, Miguel Rodrigues from Otojal Group in Portugal proudly said that every step of sourcing and manufacturing is made with conscious thinking, “the river is so clean you can drink from it”. 

The seminar line-up included discussions on UK manufacturing and WGSN held a forecasting session on the SS19 textile trends. Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman from Sedex highlighted the importance in making a business that’s good for everyone, through “compliance and transparency”. Guided seminars on how to source sustainably and how to work with manufacturers was specifically appreciated by emerging designers such as Tristan Evans, Co-founder of Grove & Co. He said, “it’s such a time saver to have everything under one roof. I’ve been walking around for two days just meeting with manufacturers to find the right fit”. 

Pure London is the only show in the UK that connects manufacturers and fabric suppliers with buyers and brands. Amit Gupta from East West Combine in India explained why Pure Origin is a key show for the international market saying, “it’s a good opportunity to come and showcase and meet people from the UK market for expansion purposes”. For the AW19/20 show in July, we will continue to work towards bringing the best of the fashion supply chain to you.

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