Since May, Adam Gough is in charge of ITE’s fashion trade shows Jacket Required (London, 24-25 July) and Moda (Birmingham, 4-6 August) as event director. The Brit knows about the trade show business since he previously joined Pure London, also organized by ITE, to guide the show’s transformation into a fashion festival while managing the footwear and accessories section and heading up Pure Man. We talked to Gough about plans for his new position and the future of UK retail.
You said earlier that "both Moda and Jacket Required are market leaders with huge potential for growth." In what areas do you see this potential?
I think for both of these shows, the answer for growth lies in their sense of community. Moda and Jacket Required are both long standing shows with very loyal exhibitor and visitor bases. In growing the shows, our aim is to stay true to these two unique communities to offer added value to visitors and exhibitors alike, that simply can’t be found elsewhere.
It’s these added value offerings that are driving the growth of the shows, rather than the size of the show per se. From our VIP and hosted buyer programmes to our market leading 365 content-led approach to marketing and communications, we’re really looking to spark conversations, relay the latest essential market trends and insights and create the best platform for business for exhibitors and visitors alike.
How would you convince a retailer or buyer to visit the shows, especially someone who has never been before?
Face to face networking is the secret to building successful long-term business relationships and establishing trust between brand and buyer. Both Moda and Jacket Required have been successful for so long because of the relationships we enable with each edition.
Additionally, fashion is a creative industry and there’s something so important about seeing and feeling a product in real life — it’s not something you can capture on a screen or in a catalogue, so seeing new collections at a trade show is so important.
Lastly, Moda and Jacket Required offer unique and market-leading on-site seminars and features. We work hard to make sure these are tailored to the unique audiences of each of these shows, meaning our visitors get access to the essential insights and latest trends before anyone else.
Why is the relevance of trade shows questioned these days? And how can this be solved?
I think the relevance of trade shows is questioned these days largely because there are so many more touchpoints for buyers to conduct business; trade shows are no longer the only option for buyers to access the latest trends and collections. Obviously, these new touchpoints, like online options and showrooms, have their own pros and cons, but there’s undeniably still a space for trade shows in the industry. As I said before, trade shows offer the opportunity to see and feel products, network with a number of brands and other buyers and access the latest content, seminars, speakers and insights that will really put businesses ahead of the game.
What's your prognosis for the UK fashion market?
The UK fashion market is incredibly strong and is forecast to cement its strength in the future with a double-digit growth of 10 percent between 2018 and 2023. Menswear is the driving force behind this, forecast to grow by 12.3 percent over the next five years as greater trend incorporation and newness drives volumes. So, overall, my prognosis for the UK fashion market is one of positive growth.
What kind of retailers will survive and which ones will have to close down business?
A lot of retailers have lost their relevance, proving that it is more and more important for them to adapt and evolve according to the current economic and social climates. The end consumers now want a unique customer experience – it’s not all about the products anymore, it’s important each retailer has its own authenticity and identity. Those who look at what other successful retailers are doing, share knowledge, and most importantly listen to their customers will survive.