When you’ve started your own clothing line and you now need to prepare to show it to the world, you’ll want to attend and exhibit at one or more trade shows to market your brand. Within the UK alone, you have a plethora of choice when it comes to fantastic fashion trade shows and it will be up to you to decide where your brand is best placed.
How to Choose Which Trade Show to Exhibit?
The internet is packed with information regarding each and every fashion trade show available to you. You need to become knowledgeable about all the availability in general and within your niche so that you can make the best decision for your label. This means research is key . Spend enough time exploring the options and give yourself plenty of time to apply and prepare so that nothing is left to the last minute.
UK Fashion Trade Shows
The UK is known for its fantastic fashion trade shows and buyers flock from all over Europe to attend those on offer. From major shows known by all buyers and boutiques to smaller more independent trade shows with specialist niches, you can find the perfect option within the UK to exhibit and present your brand-new clothing line.
Held at the world-famous London Olympia, Pure is attended by thousands of retailers from all over the world. With sections from established ready-to-wear designers to emerging designers, like yourself, you’ll find retailers and boutique buyers arriving ready to add brand-new independent labels to their store portfolio.
With men’s, women’s and accessories on offer at Moda, it has become a one-stop-shop for buyers and retailers. Attended by over 9000 buyers every year, Moda is a big show for both selection from retailers, inspiration and all-important networking.
When it comes to trends, Pulse is one of the biggest trade shows to attend. If you’re starting with a brand that is very trend-led, this would be the trade show for you . If you hope to be stocked in independent boutiques, you’ll find lots of these types of buyers here, filling up on the next season’s trends for their stores.
Specialist Trade Shows
It’s also worth doing your research into some smaller, more specialist fashion trade shows . Depending on the niche of your brand, you’ll find successful trade shows, such as Dot To Dot, which focuses on childrenswear and has grown to be the country’s leading children’s fashion trade show. London’s Scoop International specialises in premium womenswear and accessories from both the UK and internationally, which might perfectly suit your brand or you’ll find London Edge, with a stronger focus on alternative and lifestyle fashion.
Europe Fashion Trade Shows
No matter what your budget, don’t discount the possibility of heading to Europe to show at one of their many, hugely successful fashion trade shows. With options in every country worth considering, your specific niche and product line will define where will be best for your brand, so continue to heavily research your options.
One of the biggest European trade shows, Première Vision is held in the fashion capital, Paris and is a must-see for any fashion designer or brand. Bringing together the best in manufacturing, fabrics and specialists from sportswear to denim, this is the place to come to network and build your business when it comes to industry contacts and enhancing your professional circle.
If you’re starting a menswear label, this is the trade show you need to show at . The home of men’s fashion, Pitti Immagine Uomo is where it’s at for men’s clothing and accessories and even features a section called MAKE, focusing on brand-new labels in the world of menswear.
Specialist Trade Shows
Berlin brings a variety of more specialist fashion trade shows from Seek, focusing on contemporary fashion to Panorama, which is all about streetwear and casual, alternative style, providing options for all brands.
Nordic style is huge in fashion right now, so if you’ve created a brand catering to this sort of aesthetic, you’ll want to head over to Copenhagen, where you’ll find both CIFF and Revolver.
International Trade Shows
If your budget allows you to travel a little further into international territory to show at a trade show, you will find a whole new world of fashion trade show options. From the famous Coterie for womenswear in New York City to the diversity of Agenda, held in both Long Beach and Las Vegas, showing at an international level will open your business up to a brand new, large-scale market.
How to Prepare for Your First Trade Show as An Exhibitor
- Set Some Goals for The Show
What do you want to actually achieve at the trade show? Define these goals and stay focused.
- Do Your Research
This means putting the time into finding out where your target customer attends to buy stock and narrowing down your options purposefully. You will also need to research costings in the early stages as this will undoubtedly affect your decision.
- Make Appointments in Advance
Don’t think your target customer will just come to you. You need to market yourself on the lead up the trade show to make the very best of it, contacting your desired retailers in advance and attempting to make appointments with them to guarantee they see your products on the day.
- Brand Your Booth
It’s so important that your booth instantly speaks to your buyers and story-tells your brand identity. From the décor to the staff to smaller details, such as business cards, this all needs to be resolved in advance.
- Be Prepared
Never “wing it”. Prepare your pitch for all your product lines and know your information regarding manufacturing, fabrics, minimum order quantities and pricing. Once you’ve caught a buyer’s attention, don’t let it slip by offering an unprepared, unorganised dialogue.
- Check Your Logistics
Check and check again your timings for everything. If you’re having extra stock made, ensure it will be with you well in advance. If you’re bringing in new items for the booth, don’t leave it until last minute and ensure your travel arrangements are tight so you don’t lose a minute when it comes to setting up.
With an excess of choices when selecting your first trade show, the first thing to do is to start narrowing down your options by deciding which shows wouldn’t be quite right for your brand. You need to find out where your target customer will be, focusing all attention on these specific shows, even if that means an international trip.