Monday, 3 September 2012

3 days at the London Garments Expo

I haven't been blogging for a while because last week I was busy working the London Garments Expo. Although I didn't go to the 3 day trade show in Islington as a blogger I have decided to write about it and my experiences at it. As mentioned I was working this 3 day trade show and it was the first one that I had ever done so as I got on a busy commuter train from Cambridge on the Wednesday morning I was really excited to be doing this. However as the week progressed my feelings became the complete opposite.

When I first arrived at the Business Design Center the event looked very promising. The booths on the lower ground floor looked amazing and the garments really did look like they could be in selfridges or have their own store in Mayfair. However, as I walked up the stairs to the main area my view started to change; the London Garments Expo called themselves an international trade show though the majority of the stalls/booths were Indian manufacturers or designers and if I'm honest their stuff was a load of crap; crap! Crap really sums up the mood of the majority of the designers and my mood about this event. The organisers of the event promised a lot of press and buyers throughout the 3 days but this is what was lacking, the press and the buyers. I think I saw about 10 press/buyers each day that came to my friend's booth but none of them were the type we were expecting. When we questioned the events organisers about the lack of buyers they would always say 'Oh, you have just missed them. They were here 5 minutes ago but have now left' - this excuse may have been believable if it wasn't used every time we asked them. And on another note one of the organisers, a man called Ranjiv, was very rude to a lot of the designers. He swanned around the event thinking he had some sort of divine right and had the cheek to criticise and attack the designers methods and then even suggested that some of the designers were just using 'Mummy and Daddy''s money to help them get this far - This treatment wasn't expected and isn't acceptable.

There are probably only 3 positives that came from this event, and one of them is only semi-positive. The first is that I have come across some amazing new design talent from the likes of Lynnja Wang and Rebecca Torres. If it wasn't for this event I wouldn't have come across them and I am definitely pinning them as designers to watch over the next few years; Rebecca already has been nominated for Young Scottish Fashion Design Talent of the year. Another positive is that I have met so many lovely people in the industry over the 3 days, buyers as well as designers. Opposite my friend's booth was the Mauritius Pavilion and all of the exhibitors from there are such wonderful people, as well as their garments. Another great designer was  swimwear designer Nicky Campbell. All of these people I will try and stay in contact with and hopefully we can help out one another; fashion solidarity sums up the feeling.

The final positive, if I can call it that, was the two catwalks that were held everyday. Now this catwalk wasn't a stereotypical catwalk, which at first I wasn't too sure about but to be honest it is what actually saved the catwalk from being a total disaster. The catwalk was an infusion of dancers and models parading round showing off the garments. The choreography was actually really good and in the end I warmed to the dancers being there, mainly because the models were so dire. The models really couldn't walk or pose at the end of the runway and were too thin for my liking. Also they forgot one of the most important rules of a model - nude underwear! This was a rookie mistake to them and it made the catwalk feel amateur. This is why I was so glad that the dancers were there because they were really good dancers and were a healthy size 8 and 10 and looked amazing in the clothes; even if they had bad skin and weren't tall enough for runway they were better down the catwalk than the models. I really feel sorry for the designers who had their clothes taken down the runway because they deserved better.

In all, I am glad that I went to the London Garments Expo because I have learnt so many valuable lessons from it and have managed to pick up some details from fashion agencies which will help my career when I graduate. However, my one piece of advice is for people to stay away from this event in the future. Designers out there this event is very over hyped and overrated and will leave you feeling ripped off because of the heavy price tag that comes with being able to exhibit here. Definitely do not go to this trade show and stick to shows like Moda, Pure and Scoop because that is where it is all at.


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