UK menswear agents are feeling positive ahead of the first trade shows of the autumn 17 season, despite concerns over Brexit and pricing.
The autumn 17 shows kick off in January with London Fashion Week Men’s on 6 January, followed closely by Florence menswear show Pitti Uomo on 10-13 January.
Agents told Drapers they were expecting a successful Pitti: “It is always good for the autumn season and there’s usually a great turnout from UK buyers,” said Red Alert director Dan Griffiths.
“It’s a bit of a dress rehearsal to see what’s going on in the season ahead. The mid- and higher-end UK retailers will visit despite any Brexit uncertainty.”
“Trade shows like Pitti are the lifeblood of the industry,” added Kevin Stone, owner of Stone Agencies. “They are vital for checking the trends, the colours, to make sure you’re on the same path and wavelength as your peers. Pitti really gets you going for the season. There are always lots of Brits there and next season won’t be any different.”
Stone said the threat of increasing prices following the drop in value of the pound was nothing new: “Prices have been a challenge for as long as I have been in this industry. Before Brexit there were oil prices and cotton prices going up. As long as you buy smartly, you’ll get through it.”
Juls Dawson, co-founder of Just Consultancies, agreed that price rises would not dampen footfall at the shows next season: “I don’t think price increases will hamper the shows too much. The big players will get on with it as usual and, at the end of the day, buyers still need to get out there, buy product and find new brands.”
Milan Ramanandi, menswear brand manager at Palladio sales agency, which distributes menswear for brands including Hartford and Kilt Heritage, said he was looking forward to trade shows closer to home, including east London-based menswear show Jacket Required, which takes place on 26-27 January.
“There seems to be a bit of a buzz about Pitti for autumn as the big brands like Paul Smith are making the effort to show there again, but for us Jacket Required is the big one. We had a really successful spring 17 show there so we’re hoping for the best.
“The fact that brands are still willing to go, spend the money and get in front of buyers can only be a good thing. They are still as relevant as they always were. There’s a bit of fear around what Brexit will mean for us and for pricing but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m optimistic we’ll get a good deal.”