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Patriotic Theme Lifts London Show Scene

There is no doubt that Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics are having a halo effect on the wholesale fashion business.

LONDON — Trade shows organizers here are anticipating an increase in visitors, sales and space in the coming season as they celebrate British manufacturing.

This story first appeared in the May 16, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

There is no doubt that Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics are having a halo effect on the wholesale fashion business and stirring up pride among manufacturers and exhibitors in British products.

“We will proudly be flying the flag high for a summer of great Britishness,” said Bubble’s event director, Lindsay Hoyes.

This season, organizers will unveil Bubble Homegrown, a showcase of brands designed and manufactured in Britain.

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“We want to show that it’s important for consumers to understand where products come from and we will introduce a new branding system so that the retailer understands that the brand has been manufactured in the U.K.,” Hoyes added.

Pulse will also be flying the Union Jack, hosting a Product GB trail, an initiative that highlights exhibitors whose products are designed and manufactured in the U.K. The selected exhibitors will be identifiable on site by a GB sticker and will be part of a special Product GB trail list.

Patriotism isn’t the only theme this year: 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the Textile Forum and Margin shows, and each one will honor its longtime visitors and exhibitors.

In October, Textile Forum will be having celebratory drinks for everyone on the first day and will be tracking down visitors who have attended at least 10 times. It will also be recognizing exhibitors who have participated at least 10 times.

The fair’s co-owner and organizer, Linda Laderman, also plans to have a whole selection of new exhibitors.

“Most exhibitors come again and again, but it is always important to offer something new,” she said, adding that the overall mood at the show has been good: “There is quite a lot of optimism out there at the moment.”

Margin has taken a similar tack, gathering together and honoring a constituency of buyers over the past decade who always visit the show and who are who are perpetually hungry for new talent. This year, 50 percent of Margin’s exhibitors will be new, she said.

“Margin is an affordable platform for new designers to launch themselves in London and Europe,” said organizer Odysseus Constantine. “At this stage, we are happy with the size of the show, as we usually edit the show according to the exciting new brands we will be getting.”

Organizers are also planning to add extra features to their shows this season.

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“We have two barber shops offering haircuts and styling, a New York-based punk bakery and a double ramp with daily skate competitions,” said Carole Hunter, marketing director at Londonedge and Londoncentral.

In addition, the shows are developing ideas for trend areas, retail workshops and seminars. The fair’s “The Ledge” show of street and activewear is growing, she said, and will be tied in with double-ramp skate competitions.

As in the past, Scoop will curate its show around the Saatchi Gallery’s current exhibition, which this year is “Out of Focus: Photography.”

“We hand-select from individual ranges to complement the beautiful aesthetic of the gallery,” said managing director Karen Radley.

The fair, which targets international buyers on the hunt for independent labels, has posted an 80 percent year-on-year increase in visitor numbers.

Top Drawer, which has witnessed an 8 percent increase in visitors and space, will also see the return of the designer section “Spotted,” which showcases 18 new designers whose exhibits and space will be independently curated by freelance style and design writer Charlotte Abrahams.

People want to spend on something quite special,” said show director Raj Gill. “There has been an increase in the number of retailers who offer products that are not easily accessible on the high street.”