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Moda spring 18: how the show is evolving to meet buyers' needs

Drapers catches up with ITE Moda fashion industry director Nick Cook to find out what the show has introduced for spring 18, and its plans for future seasons.

Nick cook portrait

What is new this edition?

One of the key new things we’ve got this season is the athleisure area, which used to be part of our lingerie show and is now part of the womenswear section. This is obviously an area everyone is interested in, but it also makes for great content.

It’s not necessarily something that’ll be in all of our visitors’ shops, but the seminar presentation for it was really busy. When athleisure was a part of our lingerie and swimwear section, it always [served as] a crossover between lingerie and womenswear. Now that we don’t run the lingerie part of the show, we felt athleisure was something we really wanted to hold on to. It’s a small area but it’s in a prime spot.

The other new area is our retail workshop. Our seminars are always very popular, and what almost always happens is that people are quite reluctant to ask questions, but as soon as the seminar’s over the speaker gets mobbed by people who want to have a one-to-one in a less intimidating environment. So we now have a workshop space where the seminar speakers do follow-up sessions.

We’re already thinking about how to develop it for the next edition, and what we might add is an appointments system in addition to casual drop-ins, depending on how it pans out.

What else are you thinking of developing for next season?

Moda White – our contemporary area within womenswear – borders our accessories area, but we’re thinking about how we can blur the boundaries between both to account for some of the brands that are now in the show, or coming into the show, that are coming from accessories into clothing, rather than the other way round.

It’s not necessarily something we’d be pitching as a new area, but we are looking at how we’ll blur the clear border between clothing and accessories, to give it more of a lifestyle feel. We can see it already happening on individual stands, so it’s something we’d like to make clearer to buyers.

What other areas have expanded?

Moda Footwear has had significant growth. This is the biggest August edition for footwear we’ve had for several years – it’s the same size as it was in February. [Düsseldorf footwear show] GDS has closed in its current form and is being relaunched as a smaller event, so several brands that have never previously done our show have come in. I have every reason to think it will be bigger again for February next year.

How is the show going?

I’ve had really positive feedback from my team and exhibitors. People are pleased with footfall so far, and there is a positive vibe.

In terms of our content programme, it’s still the case that the most popular topic is online and social media, and all aspects of digital. Really established retailers are still looking to be educated on how online dovetails with their businesses. It’s something they want to get their heads round.

I’m really pleased with our turnout – it’s been buzzing. We’ve got more than 100 new brands across the show. I’ve had a scout round the areas and noticed both the stands and aisles are busy. The Moda Edit spaces in our menswear and womenswear areas, which provide a smaller presence for more niche, emerging labels, are doing really well.

How have exhibitors been feeling?

We’re all in the trade, we all know it’s not the best of times for the industry. For the buyer, it’s about making sure you’re stocking the best brands – that you’re not working with one just because you’ve known them for years, when actually there could be something else which would be better for you. Buyers have become more ruthless than they used to be but that’s how they need to be now. Shows like Moda are a brilliant platform for them to make those comparisons.

There is caution and nervousness within the sector, but I think at times like this the value of an exhibition really comes into a sharper focus. This may not have been the best year we’ve ever had, but if you look at all of these brands coming together, and all this business, it’s a shot in the arm for everybody. 


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