If you’re looking to source fabrics and manufacturers for clothing, accessories or textile based homewares, visiting trade shows are a good option, as you’ll be able to see a multitude of suppliers under one roof.
It’s also much easier to establish if they are right for you and to build relationships if you can meet potential suppliers face to face. There are numerous international exhibitions you could visit, but luckily we have a few taking place in London, and certainly if you are a start-up or new brand, visiting them would be a good starting point. These shows also are good for networking and many have interesting talk/seminar programmes as an added bonus. In most cases, registration is free.
Below are 6 trade shows to visit in 2020:-
London Textile Fair
15 – 16 January 2020 – Business Design Centre
Held in January and July, this is the first for the year. It features over 500 exhibitors showcasing a wide array of fabrics as well as trimmings. There is also a section showcasing print designers.
The fabrics on show tend to be more run on the mill and geared towards the mass end of the market and some of the suppliers will have large minimum orders.
Future Fabrics Expo
29 – 30 Jan 2020 – Victoria House
This exhibition, organised by Sustainable Angle, is going from strength to strength and showcases sustainable & ethical fabrics that are ethically and responsibly produced. A must if ‘sustainability’ is a core part of your brand DNA. They also run an interesting talk programme alongside the event.
29 – 30 January 2020 – Olympia
Fashion SVP takes place twice a year in January and June and is Europe’s unique sourcing event, with an international show presenting buyers with over 100 leading fashion garment producers from the UK and overseas. There’s also a dedicated section for sustainable denim manufacturers. The show is a lively mix of exhibition, conference and seminar sessions, clinics and practical demonstrations featuring leading industry figures and experts.
It’s worth a visit for research and to make connections, even if you are not ready to produce offshore.
9 – 11 February 2020 – Olympia
Hosted alongside the fashion & accessory brand exhibition, Pure London, this brings together all aspects of fashion sourcing and manufacturing under one roof. It therefore connects the entire fashion supply chain together, offering everything through from fibre to the finished collections shown at Pure London.
11 – 12 March 2020 – One Marylebone
This show runs in March and October and is somewhat smaller compared to the others, and tends to showcase interesting fabrics and supplies from luxury higher end mills, including a few from the UK. Many of the exhibitors are also geared up to provide smaller quantities (albeit at a premium) or may carry some stock, and therefore this show is a good starting point for new brands. The venue itself, One Marylebone, is gorgeous and there’s always a friendly atmosphere.
Make it British Live
17 – 18 March 2020 – Business Design Centre
The Make it British Live trade show is a sourcing show exclusively for UK manufacturers and suppliers, and another show that’s growing year in year as demand for UK produced product increases. You’ll find suppliers for garments, accessories and homewares as well as allied service providers. Also has a full talk programme, but at a cost.
So as you can see, there’s plenty of good options. We’ll be exhibiting at Fashion SVP and running seminars over the 2 days, as well as at the Textile Forum and Make it British, so do pop by and say hello!
If you’re looking for help with sourcing manufacturing, our super helpful Getting It Made online course is available, giving you support and guidance on how to source and manage production effectively. The next Getting It Made workshop in London at The British Library is on March 25th.
By Alison Lewy MBE
Fashion Angel founder and author of Design Create Sell – a guide to starting and running a successful fashion business – available to buy here.