Trade show WeAr Select closes quiet first edition in London
The first-ever edition of new trade show WeAr Select London ended on Sunday 10th, revealing mixed feelings among exhibitors, who came from different corners of world including Japan and Mexico to introduce their brands to new buyers.
“When we received the invitation to come we thought it would be a great opportunity for our brand,” said José Alfredo Silva, Creative Director of Mexican label for men and women Trista. Retailing in seven points of sale in Mexico, the label was set on taking WeAr Select by storm, and benefit from its partnerships with WeAr Global Magazine and WGSN. “It is a small fair, we like the magazine and we thought that the other brands presenting would be interesting as well.”
But while the brand mix was up to the industry’s expectations, footfall wasn’t. A quiet start on Saturday was followed by a quiet Sunday, with many exhibitors taken aback. “It has been a bit disappointing,” said Marc Hickling, Director of Marc Alexander Agencies, a wholesale agency supplying brands such as Joe’s Jeans to independent and department stores in the UK and Ireland. “I’m not sure why, we have LCM at the same time in Central London and I know there are buyers there, so maybe coming all the way to this location is stretching their time.”
Buyers from Selfridges and Bloomingdales were said to have visited the venue, but if there was a larger portion of industry visitors, it went unnoticed. Brands exhibiting in the vaults of the third-floor space blamed everything for the low turnout, from poor marketing support to its location and date, but all agreed the concept was refreshing.
Hosting some 150 brands across womenswear, menswear and footwear, WeAr Select was determined to introduce a new trade show format, where fashion, trends and art could meet in one place and inspire brands and buyers on their AW16 decision. “We wanted to select interesting brands from all around the world and encouraged them to show a maximum of 35 items so buyers could walk through and see what is interesting to them”, said Shamin Vogel, organiser of the show and daughter of Klaus Vogel, co-founder of Berlin-based trade fair Premium.
The intimate, curated event was scheduled intentionally ahead of the season, which in the case of womenswear starts in February. “We wanted to be the first ones, right at the beginning of the year,” said Vogel. “At the end of the day, buying is a hard thing. If you only do it on a whim it might work, but it might also not, so we wanted to give buyers the chance to see it first here, think about it and follow up later.”
Although still unconfirmed, the next edition of WeAr Select will most likely take place in July – an opportunity for the London event to further establish itself in the UK market.
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