The first ever Harrogate Fashion Week took place last weekend presenting the latest collections from niche brands. Held inside the Harrogate Convention Centre, it was the spa town’s first trade show dedicated to womenswear in 17 years.
Boutique buyers were presented with the SS19 lines from a wealth of sought-after labels including James Lakeland, Brodie Cashmere, Pomodoro, Lily and Me, Foil, Bianca and Tina Taylor. Alongside free parking, catering and cloakroom facilities, visitors were offered exclusive discounts with local retailers, restaurants, bars and taxis – creating a pleasurable show experience.
Organiser Wendy Adams says its launch presents a great opportunity for the industry. “Harrogate is a beautiful town and it’s the perfect location for this type of event,” she says. “We’ve brought together some quality niche brands to help boutique owners make their new season buying decisions and it’s all in a relaxed and friendly environment.”
Exhibitors were equally enthusiastic about fashion’s return to Harrogate: “I’m so excited about this event,” said James Lakeland. “It’s so positive for the industry to have this kind of show back in Harrogate. We’ve had a wonderful response here to the SS19 collection and wrote more orders on the first day than we have for the entire duration of other shows.”
Paul Tate, founder of Tate Fashions in Leeds, also penned “record sales” for Lizabella and Ella Boo at the event. He says: “We attended all the shows this season and there was a worry that sales would become diluted. However, we had record sales at every show – especially Harrogate Fashion Week. We didn’t stop writing every day, from the moment the show opened and even when the show closed. We opened new accounts and really developed strong ordered from existing customers!”
The company’s newly rebranded Lizabella Premium line was particularly well received, with occasionwear and Mother of the Bride outfits retailing at £500 to £600. “With the use of higher quality fabrics and more details, this collection really is outstanding and buyers absolutely loved the entire range,” adds Tate.
Carol C Collections director Lisa Speet also reported a strong reaction to the company’s brands, which include Foil, Orientique, Smashed Lemon, Assign and MD’M. She said: “It’s been an amazing show for us so far. We’ve seen lots of our clients from the North of England and also secured some great new accounts. Foil is absolutely flying and buyers are loving the prints in our new brand Orientique. We can’t wait to return next season!”
The next Harrogate Fashion Week will take place on 27-28 January 2019 – offering an early dateline for indies that want to see the latest collections first. Buyers can also expect to see even more brands and new lines with the show floor set to double in size.