Accessories market draws big business

Leading organiser of trade exhibitions Emap Connect has announced a major investment and expansion plans to further grow the booming accessories market. Following on from the success of the Autumn Fair International (AFI) 2009, Emap has turned up the heat at the AFI 2010 in September by unveiling the brand new Accessories at Autumn Catwalk Café area in Hall 4 of the Birmingham NEC. The feature will be created by Rah Productions, which launched the Pandora Catwalk Café to stunning result at The Jewellery Show during Spring Fair International 2010.

The Autumn Catwalk will provide a showcase for the full scale of fashion accessories, a highly profitable growth area for retailers of both general giftware and specialised attire accessories.

Julie Driscoll, Event Director at Emap, commented: “The growth in fashion accessories at Spring Fair International and in the market generally has led us to launch the Accessories at Autumn feature. Our fashion accessories and handbag exhibitors had a phenomenal Spring Fair and are clamouring for us to help them grow this thriving market at Autumn.”

She continued: “Our ambition across the two seasons at Autumn and Spring is to build Europe’s largest fashion accessories offering. By working with Emap’s fashion portfolio, we are absolutely leading the way on an international scale in terms of fashion accessories trends.”

In partnership with Emap’s international market-leading brands, which include WGSN (World Global Style Network) Drapers, Pure and Retail Jeweller, the business has a strong leadership position in the growing accessories market.

AFI 2009 drew a total of 28,686 buyers – a two per cent increase on the previous year – with a combined spending power of £5 billion. Over a third of the total number of buyers attending the event said fashion accessories and jewellery were of either primary or secondary interest to them, making this one of the show’s most important sectors. This figure represents the UK’s largest seasonal gathering of accessories buyers and £1.2 billion worth of orders are thought to have been spent as a direct result of their visit to the show and the signs all indicate that AFI 2010 will rival this record.

All exhibitors in the sector will be centrally located around the catwalk area, to facilitate visitor navigation and provide a focal point for fashionistas on the hunt for what is hot. Exhibitors are under no illusions over the value of the Spring and Autumn Fair to their businesses. Sarah Banks, owner of US manufacturer, Wonderweave, said there was high interest in her new wraps and ‘vegan leather’ handbags, both launched at Autumn Fair 2009, saying: “I’ve been in the UK market for about three years now and we’re having a really great show, I think it’s getting back to how it used to be and people are placing lots of orders on site.”

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