Date: 1-2ndof September 2020
Venue: An online platform
This season became one of those rare moments in time, as just weeks before the doors were about to open on three of the UK’s largest ready-to-wear exhibitions, Pure, Scoop and Moda UK, the ban on large gatherings due to the coronavirus had not been lifted. And so ‘at a stroke’ *The Hyve Group launched “Fashion Together”, a digital on-line forum that would use a seminar programme to: introduce spring/summer 2021 collections: open the door to new international manufacture: offer professional advice on running businesses: give forward predictions on colours and fashion.
*Hyve Group plc, formerly ITE Group, is an international organiser of exhibitions and conferences. The Group organises over 130 trade exhibitions and conferences each year in 14 countries and employs over 1,200 staff in 17 offices worldwide.
Each exhibition had its own platform, virtual showroom, webinars and search engines. Sadly it included only listed brands that were scheduled to show this season, therefore omitting regular companies such as The Whiteley Hat Co. at Moda UK who still had employees on furlough and were fearful, like many others, of catching the virus. Consequently only two hat companies were listed throughout the entire “Fashion Together” programme, Seeberger from Germany at Pure and Failsworth Hats at Moda UK.
Running across 2 daysthe Fashion Together webinars offered visitors eight webinars each day across all areas of fashion. Sadly there was no mention of headwear brands.
A few notes on three of the webinars on offer during the 2-day ‘show’.
Independent Success Stories: Thriving post-crisis
A live panel discussion chaired by Kirsty McGregor, Editor of Drapers who spoke to three successful independent retailers based in Edinburgh, Alnwick and London on how they managed their businesses through lockdown, reopening their stores and their plans for the future.
Positives: Well chaired by Kirsty, a good insight into two of these brands, both of whom were able to adapt to the new conditions, open other channels and learn new skills.
Negatives: The third retailer failed to achieve sound and vision together, which was disappointing. Maybe being a bit picky here, but it would improve any presentation if the speakers were the same height on the screen and at a similar volume. Kirsty gave a perfect delivery so we should all learn from her.
The Accessories Edit from Pure
1stSept 12 noon
The window into accessories was a pre-recorded presentation of the new collections, where nine accessory brands were each given a 4-5 minute slots to show their new products. Some spoke from home, others from showrooms. Each brand presented their products extremely well, giving a variety of information on the brand’s history, its manufacture and price range.
Positives: a good presentation by all the brands but no hats!
Negatives: the accessory section at Pure is large and yet we saw only 9-brands of mainly bags, scarves and jewellery. This webinar could have continued for 2 hours, and presented 50 brands, opening with a page detailing their slot within the programme and their main products. There was also no introduction and no final thank you, which left the customer ‘hanging there’ until switching over.
The Scoop Showcase
A slick well edited pick of professional films and presentations to show/advertise new collections for s/s 2021. Many brands giving a ‘Vogue-like’ presentation, other smaller labels working from showrooms.
Positives: Presenting 35 international brands worked very well giving an in-depth feel of an exciting new season at Scoop. The listing of all the companies taking part at the end of the presentation was good to note.
Negatives: the first brands gave very sophisticated film presentations that I found rather too slick to ‘get to know’ the collection. Later in the presentation international brands took us around factories, and we also caught up with smaller brands for more personal presentations. The sound was not uniform throughout therefore it was necessary to keep adjusting the volume.
Most of the companies I saw above stated that they would be showing again in February 2021. Yes, it could be that the shows go ahead as usual. However, as we’ve learned from this pandemic, given half a chance buyers along with other professional workers, are quite happy to complete business on-line, stay safe, and save the cost of travel. Therefore whatever happens next year exhibitions will be forced to organise a good on-line presentation. Maybe from this new digital platform brands will find new customers abroad and widen their market, and thereby increase and not decrease business for the big international fashion exhibitions. You never know!!