BRAND COLLECTION | Fashion Updates | Industry Updates

THE FASHION WORLD UNDER ONE ROOF

Published: February 19, 2024
Author: Fashion Value Chain

-SOURCE FASHION BECOMES THE CATALYST FOR POSITIVE CHANGE-

The third edition of Europe’s leading responsible sourcing show, Source Fashion opened this morning welcoming its biggest and most diverse edit of manufacturers, suppliers and artisans from over 20 countries including a special appearance and keynote discussion with leading British fashion design Patrick McDowell whose ‘Marie Antoinette Goes to Liverpool’ collection was showcased on the Source Fashion Catwalk.

Championing responsibly made fashion, Source Fashion’s ethos is to create better business and become the catalyst for positive change in the retail industry offering a place where new connection, idea and possibilities come to life.

In her opening statement, Suzanne Ellingham, Director of Sourcing at Source Fashion said, “The definition of Source is ‘where things originate’, and we believe that creating beautiful, well made, garments begins in partnership with the people you source from. Our purpose is to create a safe buying space for buyers and to bring good, reliable, manufacturers and suppliers from around the world to Olympia London, to make it one step easier for the retail industry to create beautiful, responsibly made, clothing. This is a place where doing good business goes hand in hand with creating exceptional quality clothes.

“Our mission is to connect the global sourcing community, bringing together innovative material suppliers and artisans, with extraordinary uniqueness and craftsmanship, and manufacturers who care about how garments are made, under one roof. And connecting them to brands and retailers looking to buy and source better and want to work with businesses whose values align with their own.”

Leading brands and retailers including Canada Goose, Swarovski, Moss Bros, John Lewis, Oxford Shirt Company, French Connection, Hunter, and many more attended today and the show floor remained busy, bustling with the mutual desire to do good business, connect, and learn more.

Retail entrepreneur and TV Dragon, Touker Suleyman of Low Profile Holdings (Hawes & Curtis, Ghost, Finery) attended the show and said, “Every show is knowledge and knowledge is power. Here at Source Fashion you have the world under one roof, with suppliers for all brands big or small. There is something for everyone, from suppliers that can do small SKU’s to the very large. Fashion is always evolving, and constant research is always needed.”

Visitor Antonio De Pasquale, Creative Director and Founder, Wway Ltd said, “I have been to every edition of Source Fashion. For me, to help develop brands, this is the best show in London. Speaking with the manufacturers first hand is so great.”

Adriana Batty, Director of exhibitor Ettos, a textile traceability platform founded by the Lyfcycle group, utilising QR-coded Digital Product Passports to enable brands to create traceable and transparent journey for their products, said, “It has been a really good day, we have been genuinely surprised at the level of interest in product traceability. We have had excellent conversations, especially with the Digital Product Passport legislations for the EU coming into place from 2026.”

Daniel Wang, Qingdao Bono Garment Company commented on his first day, “We have had a very good first day at Source Fashion, we have seen so many companies, designers, and buyers with an interest in sourcing high fashion.”

The debut Source Luxury section was hugely successful, featuring a curated group of premium exhibitors showcasing high quality garments and fabrics from a combination of global makers and manufacturers. A high proportion of UK-based material suppliers and garment manufacturers including Amplebox, Max Europe, KV Manufacturing, and Walter Reginald are located in this sector. Near-shore sourcing options from European exhibitors such as Pikola, Thermore, Vifrex Studio, Sweatmania, Arvin, Logofra, Italian Artisa, and SC Eurolta, from countries such as Portugal, Italy, France, Spain, Lithuania, Türkiye and Romania presented their capabilities. And from off-shore exhibitors, visitors discovered high-end fabrics, such as silks, cashmere and Egyptian cotton, as well as smaller makers from emerging markets.

Home to an insightful and exclusive content programme, Source Fashion opened the Source Catwalk Stage with an entirely circular and sustainable immersive catwalk including breathtaking looks from this season’s headline responsible fashion designer Patrick McDowell.

The show also featured bespoke designs created by exhibitors including sustainable swimwear, leisurewear that transitions into evening with luxurious neutral wovens and knits, a renewed tradition of checks and plaid with handmade chunky knits offering a luxury craft aesthetic, repurposed culture exploring denim with mixed fabrics, and dark graffiti with embroidered textures, print on print and patched prints.

With designs that embody the mission of reinventing luxury through a sustainable mindset, McDowell’s collection from the ‘Marie Antoinette Goes to Liverpool’ collection in collaboration with Tencel features varying proportions of basqued waists and bouffant skirts, blending classic silhouettes with contemporary Liverpudlian twists.

At 2pm, Patrick and Rebecca took to the stage to discuss the designs and catwalk in more detail, and how the brand has solidified itself as a leading voice on the global fashion stage. Referencing his collections as more like art, McDowell explained the importance of storytelling and having a narrative and personal message that emotionally means something. Explaining the inspiration behind Marie Antoinette Goes to Liverpool he said, “Marie Antoinette was a big fan of her children and images of them engraved into furniture, so I used my own childhood and my mum’s and grandma’s childhood pictures to create different scenes and prints in Marie Antoinette’s favourite colours including pastels.”

He added his fascination with the history of Versailles in relation to his hometown of Liverpool, “Versailles was its own microclimate with hair and dresses getting bigger and bigger. It reminded me of Liverpool which also has its own microclimate of fashion.”

Discussing his sustainable approach to fashion, McDowell expressed the importance of focusing on the people who are buying, making the clothes fit, and producing less. Stating what sustainability means to him, he said, “The textbook response is to produce items with a neutral or positive impact, but thinking more holistically I look at how we can be sustainable in everything we do, from everyone finishing work at 5pm to where we source our fabrics from. We’re not perfect but we’re working on it.”

He also commented on the current fashion business model, “The current model is to perpetually grow which doesn’t fit into a sustainable model. We need to get to a place where, for all brands circularity and offering repairs and recycling are a given. To be circular, you need to know how to keep the circle going.”

Earlier in the day, visitors flocked to hear fashion futurist Geraldine Wharry’s talk on Fashion Futurology – Macro Trends Redefining the Future Fashion Factory. Wharry invited the audience to think about what it would look like to put the greater good of the people and planet first, whilst delivering goods and profit. Looking at the cultural and behavioural shifts that underpin the future of fashion she said, “It is critical to embed future foresight into what we do now.” She explored the ‘End of Plenty’ trend for less is more and limits to growth, stating that more robust business models are being reinvented, decoupling profits with how much we produce, and a growing movement towards ‘Key Purpose Indicators’ over ‘Key Performance Indicators’.

On the subject of AI, she said, “It will become harder and harder for brands to hide their supply chain and production methods and make false sustainable claims. We’ll be able to train AI to find out.” The big new trends to watch out for also include Interspecies Harmony meaning giving nature the same rights as people; lab-grown materials; modularity and mono-materiality; and the next frontier which is spatial-neuro creativity.

Wharry closed her talk saying that technology is not the solution, but it enables us to change our systems. We’ve been following the same models and philosophies for thousands of years and the biggest innovation will be in our philosophy.

Day two promises more invaluable content with Jack Stratten from Insider Trends on Sourcing and storytelling: The selling power of retail transparency; a deep dive into the opportunities and challenges of UK Manufacturing with Maxxam Textiles’ Rosemary Moore and Somon Platts from Recomme; Breaking the Cycle – How to solve the landfill crisis with SATCoL and Pretty Lavish; Closing the Loop – How fashion marketplaces are contributing to the circular economy with Swoperz and Thrift+; plus the Source Fashion Catwalk show.

Suzanne Ellingham adds, “I couldn’t be happier with day one of our third edition of Source Fashion. The interest and energy from both exhibitors and visitors are testament to how important this show has become in the fashion calendar. There is a genuine desire and need for a safe space to do good, responsible business as well as the opportunity to listen to such brilliant experts and see responsible fashion come to life on the catwalk. Visitor numbers have exceeded projections and we are looking forward to the next two days.”

Source Fashion, a must-attend event for the fashion community, is open until Tuesday 20th at 4pm at Olympia London, visit  https://www.source-fashion.com/ for more information and to pre-register.

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