Sportswear International Report

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London, England, UK, 15 Feb. 2008

For their a/w 2008-09 editions, the London trade shows (TBC, Margin and The Park, held February 10 to 11; Pure, held February 10 to 12) all went through something of a renaissance, for better or worse, revealing either new formats, sections or management.

The womenswear show Pure following on from last season’s successful revamp of the Spirit section, the area catering to the young and urban retail segment, saw the launch of Pure Footwear this season. Showcasing a varied mix of labels ranging from Terry De Havilland, Terra Plana, Audley and Melissa to Rocket Dog, Snowjoggers and J Shoes, the space provided a versatile footwear platform that proved a hit with the buyers.

Another new feature at Pure was the Spirit Catwalk Show. Desigual, Entoomemetto and Piezak were some of the new labels exhibiting for the first time at Spirit who also showed their designs on the catwalk.

Change was in the air even at TBC. After a disappointing last season with exhibitor numbers reduced and the show lacking in energy, hopes were high as the new organizing body, Idex Media, stepped in to revamp the show, promising to give it a new lease of life and a more international appeal.

When approaching the show venue it was already clear that TBC had changed hands: huge signposts helped steer visitors in the right direction, unlike in previous seasons when they were confusingly scattered around the streets. Despite the brownie points awarded for organizational skills and corporate value, the new format lacked creativity: the sterile, carpeted space counteracted the energy of the labels on show, and failed to convey the edginess of London street culture that visitors and exhibitors ultimately come to experience, aside from getting down to business.

On the exhibitors’ side, the selection shrank to only about 60 labels including Ringspun, WESC, Garbstone, Farah, Edwin Jeans, Lost Property, Boxfresh, Monkey Genes and Skunkfunk.

The buzz that was lacking at TBC was to be indulged in at Margin (, this is a show that nicely captures the young and edgy London vibe with its laid-back feel and energetic array of young labels. The news of the season here materialized in Traidfare, a new section featuring ethically sourced, and in some cases also organically produced, collections from brands such as Komodo, Organic Stereo, and Cyclus.

Emma Holmqvist, London Correspondent

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