The Schoolwear Show was back at Cranmore Park, Solihull, with a new open plan feel and plenty of new exhibitors. P&P editor Melanie Attlesey reports on the biggest event in the schoolwear calendar.
Gone were the long corridors and closed in feel. In its place were bright, colourful and open stands. The change in appearance was clear from the moment you walked through the front door.
According to David Burgess, one of the team behind the new look, the fresh layout had gone down well with the exhibitors. The five companies behind the organisation of the show had worked with AIS, the event team at Cranmore Park, to achieve the new look. Vinyl floors were used to denote the open space and limited walls were seen on the exhibition floor, with a clear view of the coffee lounge.
Speaking about the new layout, John Baines of K.T. Labels, said: “Visitors were impressed, I was impressed. For the first time I’ve heard people saying ‘I’m glad I came to the show’. People who missed this show have missed out.”
“The response from exhibitors and visitors was very good. One of the key pieces of feedback we received from exhibitors is that they felt they were busier for longer,” David added.
This could also be a reflection on the fact that visitor numbers were up by 10% on last year.
In his other role as chair of the Schoolwear Association, David also pointed out that this year’s seminars were very well attended. Sustainability is a hot topic at the moment and with recent television programmes presented by David Attenborough, Stacey Dooley and Liz Bonnin drawing attention to the issue, the association’s seminar covering sustainability and school uniform was very well received among visitors.
Every year the exhibition attracts a wide variety of new exhibitors. This year ETC Supplies was one such exhibitor, choosing to exhibit with its range of embroidery consumables and accessories.
Jas Purba, managing director, commented: “We have seen huge growth in the schoolwear market recently. There has been a huge sea change in the attitude towards school uniform in recent years among parents and teachers. A school uniform enables every pupil to dress the same and be equal, and as a result schools want their uniforms to look smart and presentable which is where embroidery comes in.
“We have found the Schoolwear Show to be of huge benefit. The Sunday was very busy for us and on Tuesday we spoke to several potential new customers. We would definitely be interested in exhibiting at the show again.”
Other new exhibitors included: Maudesport, Russell, Ralawise, Roberto Group and CKL.
Regular exhibitors also praised the show with Dan Turner of William Turner & Son, commenting: “This year’s show was busy and felt really upbeat.”
Deborah Horton, of Charles Kirk & Co, added: “The show was really busy this year. It has been presented well. We saw a good mix of visitors and the response to our new products was good, in particular the Balmoral range of hats and scarves.”
New features and products
Another new feature to this year’s show was the introduction of a show guide, which was handed out to all visitors upon their arrival. The show guide listed all exhibitors, detailing what they did and whether they were a member of the Schoolwear Association. This tied in with the launch of a new logo and a new website.
As always the show provides the perfect platform for exhibitors to present to the industry their new products for the season ahead. The timing of the show enables orders to be placed in time for the following back to school season.
Companies such as Banner, Charles Kirk, Chadwick Textiles and David Luke all presented their new collections to the hundreds of visitors who attended the three-day exhibition. New products on display included sportswear, knitwear, hoodies and sweatshirts. There really was something on display for everyone.
Next year’s show returns to Cranmore Park from Sunday, October 13 to Tuesday, October 15. Save the date!