Buyers and exhibitors upbeat and positive at burgeoning Harrogate Fashion Week

Harrogate Fashion Week returned this week with its most extensive line-up of brands yet. Set out over four separate halls and running for an extended three days, the popular North England trade show pulled in buyers and exhibitors from all around the UK and Ireland.

Around 200 brands presented collections this season – an almost 70 per cent increase on its February 2023 edition. The decision to add an extra hall brought an additional 1,600sqm to the show’s floorspace, which also attracted even more visitors.

Occasionwear brands were out in full force for SS24, but they certainly didn’t dominate the entire show. Retailers could also choose from a strong selection of daywear, accessories and footwear collections while the resortwear offer was also inspiring and extensive. 

The Godske Group, which exhibited at the show for the very first time, showcased a large selection of its brands in the third hall including Robell, Gomaya, Noen, I’cona, Molly Jo, Godske, Habella, Sunday, Fransden and Normann.  

Leeds-based distributor Carol C Collections also brought crowds of buyers in the show’s newest hall with its popular international collections from Foil, Orientique, Tara Vao, One Summer, Tirelli, Dress Addict, UbU and Escape.

Meanwhile, regular Harrogate Fashion Week exhibitors such as Lizabella, Lily and Me, Marble, Pomodoro, Rino and Pelle, Dolcezza, John Charles, Bariloche, NYDJ and Kevan Jon were joined by newbies including Traffic People, Rainbow Club, Thanny, Haven, Eb and Ive, Zoe and Pinns.  

Positive thoughts

Despite the grey skies and drizzle outside the Harrogate Convention Centre, the general mood at this season’s show was upbeat and optimistic.  

Carol Capener, founder of Carol C Collections, said their move to a larger stand in the fourth hall had been extremely positive: “We’ve previously been positioned in the main hall, but buyers have been actively seeking us out,” she said. “We’ve written even more orders than last season so far when compared to the same days, so we’re pleased with our decision to move. We’re having a great show.”

Director Lisa Speet added: “I don’t think it particularly matters where we are located as our brands are so strong and buyers will always find us. We’re very excited about the show’s expansion and the number of buyers in attendance. It’s always great to see everyone at Harrogate and unveil our latest ranges. It’ll be really interesting to see the final figures from this season’s show.”

Lisa Speet and Carol Capener

Pomodoro co-founder Noreen Puri, who was also exhibiting, noted that the brand had signed up a number of new accounts: “We’ve had a fantastic start to the SS24 season and a really positive couple of days at Harrogate Fashion Week so far,” she said. “The show has given us a great opportunity to meet new retailers and gain some more stockists. I feel lot of buyers have been looking for versatile occasionwear pieces that can be worn again at a later date. Our floral maxi dresses, for instance, look just as great with heels for a wedding as they do with trainers at the weekend. Shoppers are being thrifty in the current climate and the popularity of these types of pieces really reflect this mood.”

Show organiser Sarah Moody, who launched Harrogate Fashion Week with co-founder Wendy Adams in July 2018, said they were very happy with the buyer turnout this season and that the extra day gave retailers more time to make their selections. “It’s given the show a more relaxed feel,” she said. “Buyers aren’t having to rush to decide on what to order; they can go away for a while and then come back again to make more confident decisions. Some exhibitors have said they’re seeing stronger orders for this reason. We’ve also found a lot of visitors have stayed for two nights instead of one and that’s been really positive for everyone.”

The next edition of Harrogate Fashion Week takes place from 4-6 February 2024.