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Summer/Spring 2016 Fashion Forecasts on Show at Pure London

Deep-sea palettes and baked earth browns will be in for 2016, while patterns will tend towards the retro-floral, with a hint of emoji, and fluid dresses and ponchos will be the wardrobe must-haves, according to many exhibitors at Pure London.

Photo: Pure London: One of the UK’s leading fashion events.
Pure London: One of the UK's leading fashion events.
Photo: Pure London: One of the UK’s leading fashion events.
Pure London: One of the UK's leading fashion events.

Over the past 19 years, Pure London has emerged as the UK's leading fashion trade show. It takes place twice a year, with trend briefings for Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer. Predominantly focussed on ready-to-wear womenswear, it also has sections devoted to young fashion, footwear and accessories. This year, the August show took Electric Beach as its overall theme.

The huge floor space at London's Olympia venue was handily divided into easily navigable sections, making tracking down individual brands all the easier. The Pure Premium zone played host to designer pieces, distinctive brands and diffusion collections, while Allure focussed on contemporary classic – stylish staples for daywear, inspirational evening and occasionwear. Young fashion and street style could be found in the Spirit section, while Aspire gathered some of the biggest names in edgy, vibrant fashion and contemporary casual.

A key part of each day's show was the Spring/Summer '16 trends forecast. These briefings were provided by Sara Maggioni, Director, Retail & Buying at WGSN, the London-based global trends forecaster. Each session was designed to deliver a fact-packed round-up of WGSN's latest predictions. Overall, these briefings focussed on developments in three essential aspects of the fashion business – colour, print and pattern, and key items.

Colour

Likely trends for next year's Spring/Summer collections include feminine pastels with dusty pinks; a deep-sea palette with ultramarines and purple with iridescent highlights. Greys are set to be superseded by baked-earth browns, copper and bronze.

Print and Pattern

For 2016, big bold retro florals inspired by the 1970s will be very much in. Also very much apparent will be modernist blocking with geo-jigsaw styles; bold stripes in rainbow colours and pastels as well as black and white, while emojis will be ubiquitous across a number of accessories and clothing ranges.

Key items

Loose, fluid dresses with draped silhouettes will prove popular as will asymmetry, silky, luxe fabrics, shirt dresses updated as 'blouse' dresses, broderie anglaise and ponchos.

Many of WGSN's predicted fashion trends were already in evidence among several of the brands on show, particularly in the Korean Pavilion. Here I.D. League was promoting several emerging designer brands, including Seoul-based VVV, a casual-unisex label. Explaining her presence at the show, Viki Pyo, the brand's Founder, said: "We are selling well both domestically and in Shanghai. Now, though, we want to break into the London market. We think people here will appreciate the nature of our designs."

Another Asian brand, Hong Kong's N12H, was at Pure London for the second time. Outlining the reasons for her return visit, Nerissa Lee, Director of Sales for the company, said:  "It's very worthwhile. We've found strong markets in both Ireland and the UK, where the 25-35 age group like our bright colours and designs.

"We use a mix of high-end fabrics, sourced from Europe, Japan and China, but have them printed using our in-house designer in Hong Kong. They're all original designs."

One of the more established brands at this year's event was Netherlands-based InWear. The brand was using Pure as a platform to preview its new Helena range, a collection created in partnership with Helena Christensen, the Danish fashion model. The range officially launches on 15 October.

Thomas Schroeder, the company's International Sales Director, said: "We've been coming to Pure London for three years and it definitely helps us to both reach buyers and showcase our brand. We're already well-established as an iconic Scandi brand, but we've now made a few changes to our pricing structure and distribution network, and we've found business is expanding."

Photo: InWear’s Schroeder: “Iconic Scandi brand”.
InWear's Schroeder: "Iconic Scandi brand".
Photo: InWear’s Schroeder: “Iconic Scandi brand”.
InWear's Schroeder: "Iconic Scandi brand".
Photo: VVV’s Pyo: Designs on London.
VVV's Pyo: Designs on London.
Photo: VVV’s Pyo: Designs on London.
VVV's Pyo: Designs on London.

InWear is also on the cusp of entering China. It has already begun working with a mainland partner said to have 35 multi-brand stores, which it will use for trialling before selecting potential mono brands.

In addition to doing business at the actual stands, visitors also had the option of taking advantage of this year's expanded seminar programme. The sessions on offer included advice on setting up an online store, visual merchandising and styling. The speakers included Roger Saul, Founder and ex-Chief Executive of Mulberry, the London-headquartered global luxury brand, and Courtney McNally, Facebook's Client Solutions Manager for Retail and E-commerce.

Also of note was UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), with the government body hosting a stand and business theatre space, with experts on hand to advise both UK businesses looking to launch abroad, as well as overseas investors interested in UK opportunities. The more notable presentations included a case study from a Dynasty, a highly-successful London-based SME, as well as sessions on how to optimise your online presence and the use of flash sales.

Pure London also partnered with WGSN to celebrate the launch of WGSN StyleTrial, a unique marketing tool designed to help brands and retailers explore just how products will resonate with consumers. More than 50 exhibitors, including Ravel, Geox, Lavish Alice, South Beach and Lavand, trialled the tool, which gathers feedback on appeal, age and size bias, and price perception from some one million panellists across the UK and US.

Assessing the potential impact of the system, Thorsten Traugott, WGSN's Executive Vice-president EMEA, said: "One of the big challenges that our customers task us with is quickly providing a degree of certainty as to which of their lines or ranges will be a sales success, ahead committing to the costs of manufacturing, shipping and stocking them.

"We think we are close to a solution with WGSN StyleTrial and have been working with a select number of our global retail customers – and now the exhibitors at Pure – to prove it using the wisdom of crowds and Big Data analytics."

Pure London also built on the existing success of its website to offer buyers a new tool for sourcing products 365 days a year. This new innovation – Fashion 100 – is a list of the brands, products and styles trending in the UK at any one time. This is compiled from the most-viewed images across the website, with content being updated daily from the searches, click-throughs and the wish lists of PureLondon.com's 250,000-strong global audience.

The show finished on a high, with reports of an 18.6% increase year-on-year for buyer attendance, and an overall growth in visitor numbers. This was good news for the 800-plus brands exhibiting – 300 of which were new to the show. International numbers were also up by 14% year-on-year, including increased numbers of visitors from Ireland, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, China and the Netherlands.

Photo: A hint of glitz on the catwalk.
A hint of glitz on the catwalk.
Photo: A hint of glitz on the catwalk.
A hint of glitz on the catwalk.
Photo: Animal prints: A perennial style favourite.
Animal prints: A perennial style favourite.
Photo: Animal prints: A perennial style favourite.
Animal prints: A perennial style favourite.

More than 800 exhibitors, including 300 new to the show, took part in Pure London 2015, held from 2-4 August at London's Olympia.

Sharon Gethings, Special Correspondent, London

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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