On Sunday, I made Pure London – the amazing fashion buying event at Olympia – my home for the day. I set up camp on the stages, ready for the two talks I was hosting, but not before having a nose around.
What always gets me at Pure is how VAST it is. Hundreds of labels descend on London to show off their new collections, ready for independent retailers to swoop in and buy new stock, new brands. It’s quite amazing really: you’ll find everything from printed scarves to ball gowns, and for the second season, menswear.
That brings me on to the talks I hosted: the first was with my mate, Instagram star Lorna Luxe, asking her all about how she works with brands, what ‘social’ means to her and the dos and don’ts when collaborating. The second was with Marco Abonandi, travelling tailor for Clements and Church, and was all about how to connect with an online male customer – through styling, merchandising and buying.
Here’s some things I found, and learnt, during my time at Pure London this season…
*From talking to Lorna*
I learnt it’s best practice to consider you and your blog as a brand, that way you can develop your tone of voice, identity and place in the industry, plus it’s much more professional when talking to brands about possible collaborations. And some advice for brands/prs: do your stalking time – check out the influencer’s social channels, blog etc to see how they work and to see their engagement on social. VITAL! And when you’ve decided they are a good fit, reach out over email – no cold-calling, no LinkedIn messaging and no Instagram DMs. Personality always counts for a lot, so don’t just send a generic press release either!
*Beyond Retro’s own label*
I actually got wind of this before Pure, but HAD to go check it out. The Beyond Retro Label pieces are 100% unique, and are made from recycled bits of clothing. Like these bags (above), which retail at about £35 here (and some are available at Topshop Oxford Circus). Also, the vintage prints are amazing, as always, and I love love LOVE that the design team at BR have take classic shirts, including Ralph Lauren, and converted them to zip-through jackets (all below).
*WeSC’s palm prints*
The uber cool Swedish brand has TOTALLY won me over with their new palm tree prints. Sweaters, tees and jackets, I’d obviously wear them all together, but in the real world, they’re meant to be wardrobe statements. See the current collection here.
*From talking to Marco*
What’s evident is that menswear retailers – whether it’s tailoring or streetwear – are all trying to fight for a new online customer. Marco made some good points about styling up your collection for ecommerce: always have a mix of statement pieces and classics, this gives everyone something to buy into. Clements and Church, the tailoring brand he works for, have five shops across the UK, and it’s interesting that the owner of the company is keen to keep each shop almost like an independent franchise, so the managers all have a say in the buy etc. It’s a good business model if you ask me!