Interview with Julie Driscoll

Julie Driscoll
Julie Driscoll
Managing Director
Pure Origin
Pure Origin

How many brands are participating and how many exhibitors are expected? What is the difference in this number compared to last time?

Overall, there will be over 700 fabric designers and suppliers, manufacturers and brands.

What percentage of manufacturers ensure sustainability?

All manufacturers at Pure London have certifications from the key associations including ISO, WRAP and Sedex. Sedex CEO Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman will also be hosting a seminar at the show on compliance and achieving transparency on a global scale. It's important that Pure Origin provides a platform for educating visitors, brands, retailers, etc, on the importance of sustainability in the supply chain.

What is the percentage of brands exhibiting womenswear and menswear at the trade show?

It's approximately a 70:30 split.

How has apparel sourcing evolved from the buyers' and brands' perspectives from what it was a decade ago?

Newness-consumers expect a constant flow of new products which has obviously impacted on how sourcing has evolved. Collections are less tied to seasons, and every part of the supply chain has to be more agile.

What are the latest trends dominating fashion sourcing and manufacturing?

The impact of millennials and Gen 'Z'ers, their consumption habits, and the demands of a globalised multichannel market will continue to dominate. New technologies-from 3D rendering to virtual and augmented reality-will increasingly evolve and affect change. Rising labour and energy costs will lead to new sourcing markets, and there will be the continued desire for compliance, transparency and visibility of the entire supply and manufacturing chain, more accurate costing, better performance, smart data, predictive analysis and trend forecasting.

What are the top three apparel retail trends dominating British fashion?

Continued growth of own label collections. Sustainable and environmentally friendly garments. Personalisation and customisation-shoppers will want to build and customise to the very last detail. 

According to data from Instock, WGSN's retail analytics platform, 'Brands winning out are those that have distinctive service propositions (ASOS, Boohoo) or those with a distinct design signature (Joules, Ted Baker), indicating that shoppers are thinking deeper about value for money. UK consumers are already strategic shoppers conditioned after years of low economic growth and volatile socio-political climate to prioritise value for money, so price alone is no longer the differentiating factor.'

On the sustainability issue, it recommends making sustainability a core value. 'Sustainability is no longer a niche concern-high-profile high-street retailers such as H&M and Zara have expanded sustainable collections, Selfridges has incorporated a 'buying better' online segment, while Gucci and Michael Kors have banned the use of fur-which is no doubt a reaction to changing customer perceptions-as shoppers think deeper about the impact of fashion consumption on the environment. Consumers have become ever more vocal about their concerns regarding sustainability issues, making it imperative for retailers to offer visibility over their material procurement and apparel production practices.' 

With the increased need to grow, produce, and consume locally among consumers, do you see any on-shoring happening in the near future within the fashion industry?

The majority of manufacturing is currently off-shore. We do see a return to on-shoring; for example, footwear retailer Clarks returned its manufacturing to the UK last year, but short-term we don't expect to see a dramatic shift.

What are the trends in terms of fabric, yarn, colours, detailing and embellishment for A/W 2018?

In brief: Pattern and texture layering, sophisticated fabrication and decoration, plush velvet and sheer fabrics, micro fair isle patterns, natural materials, tactile surfaces, oversized detailing, encrusting and delicate embroidery, animal-like surfaces, traditional nomadic patterns, experimental print techniques, mix of matte and shine effects, futuristic waterproof and heat-preserving fabrics, liquid metal looks, mutated florals and feminine ruffles, high visibility light-reflective surfaces, materials that appear locally source and globally inspired, pumped up silhouettes and inflated volume in heavy wool and waterproof nylon.

Colours: Caramels, saffron, reds, urban architectural tones, military greens, galactic twilight and lunar tones, hyper-saturated cerise, searing yellow, traffic light colours. (HO)
Published on: 12/01/2018

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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