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Upbeat mood in mid-market as Moda kicks off

Buyers from indies across the UK and Ireland made their way to the NEC in Birmingham on Sunday for the spring 18 edition of Moda.

The mid-market menswear, womenswear, footwear and accessories show got off to a steady start. Some exhibitors and buyers observed that the halls of the NEC felt quieter than in previous seasons, but footfall ebbed and flowed and many stands were consistently busy.

Buyers came from locations throughout the UK – all independents, although as one exhibitor pointed out, this is not unusual for a Sunday.

Inevitably there was more of a buzz near the catwalk in Moda Woman, where models in sequinned occasionwear dresses were strutting to a version of Jay Hawkins’ “I put a spell on you” as Drapers arrived.

Next to it, the new Body/Active athleisure area was kept relatively small and the absence of the lingerie and swimwear section was noticeable. However, none of the exhibitors or buyers seemed concerned with the decision to axe lingerie, and moving the atheisure brands next to womenswear felt like a smart move.

Moda Footwear has been expanded, partly because the show has picked up more German brands following the decision to wind up Düsseldorf footwear show GDS after its last edition in February [a new show called Gallery is launching in the city later in August].

For some, Moda is a show for writing orders, but for others it falls too late in the buying season and is more useful for marketing and networking. Generally, though, there was an upbeat mood among exhibitors and buyers, and there were plenty of new brands to be found among the familiar names.

The spring 18 edition of Moda runs from 6-8 August.

Mood of the show – the buyer’s view

Lorna Quinn, owner of The Dress Shop in Milngavie

It’s quiet but it’s been good. It’s nice to pick up some new brands. I find everything I need here.

Tricia Stirling, owner of Vanity Fair in Bearsden and Helensburgh

We always come to Moda so we don’t miss out on something new. We’ve only been here for a few hours and we’ve already found a couple of new brands. It makes the buying easier when it’s under one roof, and it’s nice to meet up with others. The catwalk shows are important, it can change your perception of a brand when you see it on [the models].

Emma Joyce, buyer for Wish Boutique in Burnley

We’re looking for clothing, shoes and accessories for autumn 17 and the following year; we’re only here for the day. It’s been quiet this year, and it feels a bit flat, although I’m not sure why this is the case. Previous editions have been much busier.

Vipan Kumar, owner of online boutique Baron & Whyte

We’re here to look for menswear accessories and shoes for both spring and autumn 18. From my point of view, it has been busier compared with previous years. People have been holding back for months following the Brexit vote, but with Christmas round the corner there are more buyers making orders.

Lydia Gautrey, designer at manufacturer Chilli Apparel

It’s my first time at Moda – it’s been quite positive but quieter than I expected, compared with other trade shows, with not as much hustle and bustle. I have found good networking opportunities here and have attended the seminars, which have been useful. It has been interesting to see what’s out there trend-wise.

Amy Steventon, owner of footwear boutique Nooshoos

We’re on the lookout for casual, everyday men’s and women’s footwear for spring 18; it’s our third time here. Footfall has been slower than previous editions, and it’s been quieter, although it’s not a bad thing as it has given us some headspace between buys. We’ve made some good purchases here.

Mood of the show – the exhibitor’s view

Carol Carpener, director of Carol C Collections

It was manic this morning, the best I can remember for a long time – we’re thrilled to bits. We opened at 9:30am and we haven’t stopped. It’s always our best show. We wondered if not having lingerie would make a difference, but it hasn’t.

Ian Thomson, national account manager at Farah Jeans

The show’s been fine – compared with previous years it has been a bit quiet, but our stand has been busy. It’s probably partly because every brand already knows who they want to be with for spring 18 – we had orders in within the first week of June, and now it’s August, so the show takes place a bit late.

Barbara Aichinger, sales director at Austrian footwear brand Paul Green

It’s my first time here – it’s been good for networking and has provided a good opportunity to scope out the competition from nearby stands. We’ve been quite busy, and have so far seen buyers from quite a few boutiques and small-to-medium retailers.

Mark Pearson, managing director at Skape

It’s been brisk, in terms of the flow of people coming through. We’ve mostly seen buyers from the UK but there has also been one from Holland, one from Germany and two from France. It has been a bit quieter compared with other editions, but we haven’t been feeling the impact of it as we’re quite a niche brand.

Robert de Keyser, managing director of Jonny Drama

The show is very good because it’s very busy. We’ve been writing business since 9:31am – a lot of existing accounts, but some new. We’re in a good position here [Moda Woman, near the catwalk].

Mark Abbs, sales agent at MA Agencies, representing Olymp

We always see existing customers here but that’s not really the aim; we want new business, that’s why we invest in the show. But it’s been a good start.

Adele Black, creative director at Latte Clothing

We’re really pleased, we’ve opened some new accounts but it’s mainly been existing customers and they’re excited with what we’re doing. I haven’t done the sums yet but I know we’ve done well. We only supply boutiques – we don’t supply multiples or sell direct to consumer – and that gives us an edge. Indies haven’t had a bad season, they’re coming out quite clean.

David Smith, sales manager at Level One

It has been quite steady, we have written some orders. It’s all about new business at Moda: we have a showroom in London and satellite showrooms in Manchester and Dublin, so we don’t need to see existing customers here.

Leo Lachs, business development manager at Skopes

It has been a strong start with a mix of customers, both long-term and new. Predominantly indies. It’s Sunday so none of the majors will turn up. Moda enables us to show our new ranges and ideas to customers, build our brand’s presence and give the customer an insight into who we are and what we do. And it allows us to get feedback from them.

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