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Pure London 2020

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to go to a big fashion trade show, I’m here to give you the low-down. I just got back from Pure, one of the biggest apparel trade shows in the world and thought it’d be fun to give you little recap of what it's like! It can seem like a shopaholic’s dream with over 700 brands displaying their wares.

Perhaps the very best thing about one of these huge trade shows, is that it truly is a one stop shop for everything you could want to see in your store. They have everything from womenswear apparel, active wear, menswear and luxury brands, to shapewear and accessories. If you’re looking for a certain style of product, you are sure to find it at the show if you do a little research beforehand. It’s also great that, along with all the name brands everyone knows and loves, there are tons of small and unique vendors that most people have never heard of! My goal at Pure is to expose the students to experience a day in the life of a buyer – as they attend as assistant buyers so vendors will interact with them and show off their products.

Something I have found so valuable about this show is all the free seminars they put on over 3 days. They are led by industry experts who know their stuff, provide invaluable insight into all different aspects the apparel industry and business ownership. These seminars range from social media strategy, to how to manage your ‘open to buy’, to what apps to use to best run your business! Its really an excellent way for the fashion students to learn and sit side by side with industry experts and business owners and hearing from people who have “been there”.

There’s something about being around motivated and hard-working people that really gets me fired up, and this show is full of them. There were people there literally from all over the world, from all different sizes of businesses, all doing their best to be successful and to share their passions with their customers. I loved getting to chat with all sorts of people and to hear their stories of what they do and why. We talked to a fantastic lady from south Africa whose organic cashmere products were amazing and full of colour with a unique story and she spent loads of time with the students. Questions the students were encouraged to ask to help develop their skills were- tell me about your brand? what are the delivery time frames? what are the minimum quantities we can order? what are the colour way options? what are your terms of payment ?– just some of the details a buyer looks for.

Pure is a great place to see what’s trending now, and what’s coming down the line over the next few seasons. Some common threads I saw running through a ton of vendors: No surprise, but off-the-shoulder blouses and prints were still everywhere, and block colours don’t seem to be going anywhere either. Faux fur jackets were abound and some even made from recycled plastic bottles- sustainability – the new buzz word.

You’re surrounded by some of the most fashionable people while you’re at these shows, so naturally you want to look like your most badass self, and rock your coolest outfit! But then you walk 20,000 steps in a day and are thinking that maybe the sneakers would’ve

been a better choice. By the end of the day, I had a bit of a new swagger to my walk (aka - my feet are swollen, and I can’t move normally). The students were shattered by the end- though the took my advice re footwear (I didn’t).

If you’ve ever heard of the paradox of choice, this show literally epitomizes the anxiety that comes when given too many options. There are thousands upon thousands of garments there, and to narrow it down to the best is numbing. Think of going through the clearance rack at TK Maxx for 2 days straight, trying to pick out the perfect present for a friend. It’s all worth it to find those real gems, but a little bit of overwhelm sets in when looking at that much product.

I take the first year students to Pure every year as part of the course and have been doing so for several years- it never gets old and I am always excited to see to see the students reaction to Pure and how fantastic it all is. Roll on next year.

AM Mc Auley

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