29 Jan 2018

Fibre2Fashion with Julie Driscoll, MD, Pure Origin

1. How have trade events evolved in the last couple of years and still stay relevant in times of B2B trade platforms like Alibaba? What has been the growth story at Pure Origin in the last 4 years?

Just as we’ve seen happen in the consumer retail space, both on and offline will co-exist in the trade environment. Pure Origin launches in February (11-13th) and will make Pure London the only UK fashion and sourcing trade show linking manufacturers, fabric suppliers, designers, logistics, brands and retailers. It will offer a curated selection of the world’s best manufacturers and fabric suppliers offering a face to face environment for business. It is essential when sourcing suppliers and manufacturers to meet the people involved, develop a relationship, see the products, look at the finishing and the stitching, understand the production processes and company ethos.

With the increase in private label collections, impact of Brexit, the growth in sustainability and innovative materials and practices, and following a huge amount of market research we realised that we needed to offer a platform for the entire supply chain, from fabric to the finished brand.

2. With omni-channel, phygital ruling the business of fashion, what is a trade event like yours doing to keep abreast of the changes?

Pure London is part of the Ascential Group offering access to sister brands including WGSN, One Click Retail and Retail Week who are leaders in the digital space. Through this invaluable network and continual liaison with our own customer base we can identify the future landscape and leverage up our current value proposition to appropriately serve and meet our customers needs. As a team we are all travelling the world to discover new brands, partnerships and opportunities to share with our global audience.

3. What impact does Brexit have on the fashion industry? Has it changed sourcing practices?

What we’re hearing from many brands, and retailers with own label collections, is that they are all considering their supply chain due to exchange rates and the impact on their cost base. Sourcing costs are predicted to increase by up to 10% and also the huge differential in costs and competitive advantage between manufacturing in the Far East and closer to shore has reduced so we’re seeing a trend towards on or near-shoring. Brexit has thrown up many challenges however it has also uncovered many opportunities.

Part of the role of the education programme of seminars and talks at Pure London and Pure Origin is to look at all of these changes and challenges, create a platform to discuss them, provide insight from experts, and guide brands and retailers to negotiate positively through these uncertain but exciting times. 

4. What is the size of the fashion industry in the UK? How is the apparel manufacturing segment in UK evolving?

Clothing and footwear sales in the UK in 2017 were worth £55.6billion. That figure is predicted to increase by over 11% by 2022 to £62.2billion. The UK has an optimistic and bright future for fashion and Pure Origin will reflect it’s local and global outlook.

5. How different will Pure Origin be from Pure London? What will be unique to Pure Origin?

Pure London showcases the AW18/19 collections from fashion brands selling the finished garment. Pure Origin looks farther forward, is about sourcing and the supply chain from the very beginning with manufacturers, fabric suppliers and designers, new technology businesses, and logistics.

6. Does Pure Origin have a section for smart clothing? What can be expected from the upcoming fair?

Yes we expect to showcase some of leading technologies, from both our exhibitors and from the future trends provided exclusively in collaboration with global trend forecasters WGSN.

7. How many brands are participating and how many exhibitors are expected? What is the difference in this number compared to last time?

Overall there will be over 700 fabric designers and suppliers, manufacturers and brands showing.

8. What percentage of manufacturers at the fair ensure sustainability?

All the manufacturers at Pure London have certifications from the key associations including ISO, WRAP and Sedex. Sedex CEO Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman will also be hosting a seminar at the show on compliance and achieving transparency on a global scale. It’s important that Pure Origin provides a platform for educating visitors, brands, retailers etc on the importance of sustainability in the supply chain.

9. What is the percentage of brands exhibiting womenswear and menswear at the trade show?

It’s approximately a 70:30 split.

10. How has apparel sourcing evolved from the buyers’ and brands’ perspectives to what it was a decade ago?

Newness – consumers expect a constant flow of new products which has obviously impacted on how sourcing has evolved. Collections are less tied to seasons, and every part of the supply chain has to be more agile.

11. What are the latest trends dominating fashion sourcing and manufacturing?

The impact of Millennials and Gen ‘Z’ers, their consumption habits and the demands of a globalised multichannel market will continue to dominate. New technologies, from 3D rendering to virtual and augmented reality, will increasingly evolve and affect change. Rising labour and energy costs will lead to new sourcing markets, and there will be the continued desire for compliance, transparency and visibility of the entire supply and manufacturing chain, more accurate costing, better performance, smart data, predictive analysis and trend forecasting.

12. What are the top 3 apparel retail trends dominating British fashion?

Continued growth of own label collections. Sustainable and environmentally friendly garments. Personalisation and customization – shoppers will want to build and customize to the very last detail.

According to data from Instock, WGSN’s retail analytics platform; ‘Brands winning out are those that have distinctive service propositions (ASOS, boohoo) or those with a distinct design signature (Joules, Ted Baker), indicating that shoppers are thinking deeper about value for money. UK consumers are already strategic shoppers conditioned after years of low economic growth and volatile socio-political climate to prioritise value for money, so price alone is no longer the differentiating factor.’

On the sustainability issue it recommends making sustainability a core value. ‘Sustainability is no longer a niche concern – high-profile high-street retailers such as H&M and Zara have expanded sustainable collections, Selfridges has incorporated a ‘buying better’ online segment, while Gucci and Michael Kors have banned the use of fur – which is no doubt a reaction to changing customer perceptions – as shoppers think deeper about the impact of fashion consumption on the environment around us. Consumers have become ever more vocal about their concerns regarding sustainable issues, making it imperative for retailers to offer visibility over their material procurement and apparel production practices.’ 

13. With the increased need to grow, produce, and consume locally among consumers , do you see any offshoring happening in the near future within the fashion industry?

The majority of manufacturing is currently off-shore. We do see a return to on-shoring, for example footwear retailer Clarks returned it’s manufacturing to the UK last year, but short-term we don’t expect to see a dramatic shift.

14. What are the trends in terms of fabric, yarn, colors, detailing and embellishment for A/W 2018?

In brief: Pattern and texture layering, sophisticated fabrication and decoration, plush velvet and sheer fabrics, micro Fair Isle patterns, natural materials, tactile surfaces, oversized detailing, encrusting and delicate embroidery, animal like surfaces, traditional nomadic patterns, experimental print techniques, mix of matt and shine effects, futuristic waterproof and heat-preserving fabrics, liquid metal looks, mutated florals and feminine ruffles, high visability light reflective surfaces, materials that appear locally source and globally inspired, pumped up silhouettes and inflated volume in heavy wool and waterproof nylon.

Colours: Caramels, saffron, reds, urban architectural tones, military greens, galactic twilight and lunar tones, hyper-saturated cerise, searing yellow, traffic light colours.

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