Heralding what promises to bring change to the industry, United Fairs, owner of European Bridal Week, Rome Bridal Week, Rome Fashion Week and BridalBiz magazine has announced a major annual trade event in the UK
With an increasing number of influential labels now producing a single collection each year, and seeking that perfect timing that will guarantee deliveries into retailers across the seasons, and others choosing to exhibit just once a year, this newest move on the exhibition circuit is being welcomed by key international names including Justin Alexander and Enzoani.
Event Director of UK Bridal Week is Gary Barbe, previously director of the National Wedding Show portfolio, and with more than 14 years’ experience orchestrating market-leading trade events; Judith Sutton, with her huge knowledge of the bridal industry, heads up the marketing team.
UK Bridal Week will be staged at the NEC Birmingham, which is ideally located for visitors travelling by air, train or car, and offers an excellent choice of accommodation. Special prices will be negotiated with local hotels as well as transport providers.
Said Larry Warshaw of Justin Alexander: “We are excited to have an early exhibition outside of London. Presently the market has too many competing events over too many weekends. United Fairs has done an excellent job for us in Rome and Essen, accomplishing that essential mix that is key to success, by bringing together popular manufacturers and designers with retailers who have an open to buy and are excited about the collections on show. The new UK event and venue should be a win/win for all parties involved.”
It is expected that 240 collections will go on show during the three-day exhibition, carefully selected to provide quality choice and design innovation.
In addition to the big international market-leading brands, UK Bridal Week will include a designer label section, and areas dedicated specifically to occasionwear, accessories, menswear and childrenswear, making viewing and buying easier for retailers.
A particularly strong feature will be a business advice centre, where both retailers and exhibitors can meet experts on a one-to-one basis in a closed, private environment.
Says Mark Stevens of Enzoani: “We are continually looking for ways to improve the buying experience for retailers – we know that an overabundance of bridal shows takes its toll on them. With time out of the store and huge costs involved bringing advisory staff to events, there has to be a better way for retailers to buy their new season’s dresses and accessories.
“As a one-collection-a-year manufacturer, we feel that a centrally-based show with excellent transport connections is key, and the reason why Enzoani has decided to take part in the new UK Bridal Week event.
“In addition, the timing of this event in May works perfectly for Enzoani’s new season’s launch, and we are looking forward to being able to serve our customers with efficiency.”
Michele O’Neill of Ruby Productions, the new owner of the Callista label and distributor of the Dessy Portfolio (which includes Jenny Packham Bridesmaids), is also firmly in favour of the new venture. “If United Fairs delivers the quality of show it created in Essen, with that luxurious look and stand fit, and at attractive pricing, there is no question… We will be there. We only want to do one show a year and are not planning to do London. Bridal is ready for change.”
Andrew Lookman, MD of United Fairs, has based the structure of UK Bridal Week on research findings that analysed and assessed what both exhibitors and retailers were looking for in this current environment. “The industry has undergone huge change is recent years,” he says, “and there is more to come. We need to be working together towards a new future, rather than relying on formulas of the past.”
Gary Barbe adds: “2019 will be life- and business-changing for all of us. The challenge will be met with enthusiasm, dedication, and professionalism – and a thorough understanding of what suppliers and retailers really need and want.”
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