By Kelly Allen, Contributing Editor
With exhilarating catwalk shows, never-before-seen collections, and free educational seminars, among other inspirations, Pure London exists as “the UK’s most unmissable fashion retail event.” Held at London’s convention center Olympia, the three-day event featured eight show sectors for AW18/19 from womenswear and menswear to footwear and accessories.
Day one of the madness kicked off with catwalks showing WSGN trends and seminars related to free or cheap publicity and innovations in the fashion industry (that are needed and those currently in the works). When I arrived around 12:30 p.m., I caught a catwalk on the main stage. From shimmering sequin, space goddess-esque dresses to leather, fur and fringe incorporated looks, it was fascinating to watch. Those 30 minutes of fashion flew by, and I honestly don’t know how each model changed so fast. The music switch with each category complemented the looks quite nice. It was well put together.
After the catwalk, I spent time wandering around the womenswear area before heading to the next speaker scheduled for the main stage. The womenswear category was probably the largest and was truly incredible. The brands were endless. There were sections of fur coats, denim, evening gowns, floral collections, animal print collections, clothes that made you want to go on vacation in them, and collections with a little bit of everything. Name it and chances are it was there.
I killed an hour indulged in what was basically a giant, high-end closet, then made my way to hear the keynote speaker, who happened to be British Cosmopolitan’s Editor in Chief Farrah Storr. She spoke about her experience of life at the top of the UK’s best-selling glossy magazine, which happens to be one of my absolute favorite magazines. She shared how she launched the British Women’s Health Magazine with barely any staff on hand and the task of selling 100,000 copies on the first issue. She told of how she was challenged to reimagine Cosmopolitan for the millennial woman, which involved getting rid of a lot of what made Cosmo famous in the first place.
Storr followed her background with lessons she’s learned in the magazine world that can be applied to fashion brands. The first lesson: know your coverline. In the magazine world, you only have three seconds to get someone’s attention. If, say, someone is running for a train, is the magazine’s coverline compelling enough to make that person stop, miss their train, and buy the magazine? The same goes for brands. Brands should be able to describe what they’re all about and what makes them unique in 5 to 12 words. It’s important to be able to describe your brand well and quickly to capture the attention of editors and buyers. Her second lesson was to make your enemy your energy. Competitors and copiers will always be out there, but it’s important to remember that imitation shows you’re a leader. Having an internal drive to keep on going and continuing with your ideas remains essential. Following that, she spoke about how you should market with your audience, not at them. Consumers like to be engaged with the brand instead of being separated from it. Her final lesson was to make Instagram your shop window. Instagram acts as a place she can find feature stories and discover new products to put in Cosmo. Brands can use social media to showcase their products and be seen by customers and editors.
Athleisure, footwear, accessories, and menswear awaited my attention as Storr finished her presentation and left the stage. I spent another hour or so immersed in shiny bags, marble printed workout gear, shimmering necklaces, and killer heels. Did I die and go to heaven? It’s unclear. But what does remain clear is that day one of the event was a success. It would have been great to go back the other two days to take in more, but c’est la vie. I’ll just have to return next year.