London’s leading trade show for fashion buyers, Pure London, closed its doors on a strong
SS18 edition this week as enthusiastic visitors sought out the latest collections in
womenswear, menswear, footwear, accessories and athleisure. The show boasted a global
offering championing new feature areas, emerging brands, an unrivalled education
programme and seminar content.
With many brands experiencing high order volumes, the show combined serious business
with creative and inspirational experiential content initiatives including keynote speeches
from fashion designers Dr Pam Hogg and Henry Holland, buyer briefings from WGSN,
seminars and the new Meet the Experts one to one sessions.
Olivia Cantillon, Founder of Ownthelook.com said: “'As always, Pure London delivered
an exciting mix of brands for SS18. It’s a really key way for us to learn of new, emerging
brands and a great opportunity to meet with our existing brands to review their new season
collections. Own The Look discovered two new brands which I’m really looking forward to
debuting on site in the coming months!”
Julie Driscoll, Portfolio Director at Pure London says; “There was a genuine buzz in the
aisles and on the stands at Pure London this season. It was exciting to see so much
creativity from our exhibitors – both they and our visitors enjoyed our experiential and
content-rich programme designed to educate and inspire. Pure London prides itself on
innovation; evolving and pushing the boundaries to ensure the buying experience continues
to meet the needs of our ever-changing customer and audience. We have some exciting
plans for our AW18/9 show in February which will be announced soon.”
Enriching the visitor experience the catwalk shows and WGSN Buyer’s Briefings presented a
line-up of the key fashion trends of the season from a host of international and British
During her Buyer’s Briefing, Sara Maggioni, Director Retail and Buying at WGSN stated
that consumers will be buying less but buying better. Sustainability and versatility is key; with
season-less and dual-function items offering value for money and the blurring of genres and
categories opening up cross merchandising opportunities.
A new category to watch out for, and an extension of the growing Athleisure trend, is
Sloungewear – based on statistics stating that by 2020 45% of Americans will work from
home, Sloungewear offers a merging of active, sleep and loungewear.
Dresses, in particular midi styles, continue to be the biggest category but there is an
increasing indication that we’re seeing a return to separates, as well as multi-functional items
such as the two-piece dress - an item that can be deconstructed into three items. Drawstring
tops are a new take on volume and ruffle tops for SS18, and Angel sleeves offer a new
alternative to the cold-shoulder styles.
Colourways see the continued influence of prints. Pink now becomes a core shade not just a
fashion shade but sees a move away from dusty soft pinks to more daring Magenta and
Fuchsia tones with a high octane 1980s feel, while Rose Terracotta offers soft neutral pinks
with reddish hues. Pale Sage brings a new alternative to pastel mints and utility greens
which are set to be key for swimwear.
Other key colourways include Lilac, Bold Red, Summer Wine, and Solid Neons used as
detail features to contemporise utility and military looks. Textures and materials for SS18
include sheer and luxe Soft Glitter, modern Contemporary Lace on boxy shapes, Feminine
Sheers to give a flowing feminine feel to contemporary shapes, exaggerated Bows, Ruching
and Drawstring as an update to the familiar gathering silhouette, and Lace Up details
especially coming through on denim. Prints and Patterns in the form of florals, stripes and
placement prints are still growing, and Tie-Dye becomes less hippy and moves into more
contemporary territory on denim and wovens. Slogans continue but become more inclusive –
eyecatching, Instagrammable, and featuring messages of inclusivity, non-gender and
against discrimination. And the use of World Fonts indicates the move towards Globalisation
To help with S/S 18 planning, WGSN’s four overarching Vision themes were mapped across
six key retail drops, providing clear insight into which Vision trend will be most relevant for
which parts of the season, enabling effective planning for product development across all
The season opens with Slow Futures, focusing on practical and functional product that crosses over from winter into the Spring Transitional drop. Slow Futures focuses on the importance of basics, but with a more luxurious approach. As demand grows for long-lasting essentials, fabric assumes a new importance. In this trend, basic no longer means ordinary. Quite the contrary: wardrobe staples are becoming more lavish and desirable.
Minimalism is a key influence in the Slow Futures trend, but moves away from its purist roots to embrace strong silhouettes, clever cuts and added texture. The trend for raw edges becomes more tactile with all-over finishes, and slubbed fabrics use silks and jerseys, adding interest to simple designs with elevated details. Shapes become more structured, as sharp edges and circular silhouettes become more important in tailored and volume items.
Kinship has two drops: Spring which centres around lighter layers, and Mid-Spring & Festival,
which explores new festival essentials Kinship is a trend focused on adventure and travel, driven by cross-cultural connections in a globalised world, and the pioneering spirit of ancient Silk Road trading. This trend offers pick-and-mix influences that take us on a journey from sea voyage to souk, including
swashbuckling nautical looks, Islamic geometrics and updated rodeo styles.
Kinship offers a layered approach to dressing, both in terms of design details and cultural
references, which makes it perfect for Spring and Mid-Spring & Festival retail drops. Craft is
fused with clever pattern cutting in this trend, and historical and cross-cultural details are
key. Romantic and bohemian styles take on a tougher look, and casual looks are elevated
with a focus on refined fabrics, raw-edge layering, intricate embellishment and surface
Psychotropical also has two drops: Summer which targets both casual and resort, and High-Summer, which focuses on beach looks, with an emphasis on print and pattern.
Psychotropical sees lush botanical themes take on a heightened, almost synthetic form, with motifs that have a hallucinogenic quality. Colours are deep and saturated, and the juxtaposition of the natural and the man-made creates an unusual tension that feels new for the season.
Swim and beachwear is a key reference this trend, which plays perfectly into the Summer and High Summer retail drops. Beautiful constructions and patterns traditionally seen on swimwear translate to apparel here, as beach-to-bar items evolve into everyday dressing, much the same way loungewear and pyjama dressing has. Silhouettes are simple and fluid, rather than restrictive, and materials offer a sense of refinement and luxury Youth Tonic has an expressive urban attitude that works for the Summer Transitional drop, as the season moves towards autumn. Youth Tonic embodies the exuberance of youth, but also
appeals to older consumers in a market where age distinctions are more amorphous. It's a
rebellious direction driven by a new wave of young designers, which defies categorisation
and moves gender-fluid styling into the mainstream.
The Youth Tonic trend takes place against a backdrop of bleak news and social upheaval,
which is giving rise to a more outspoken, socially aware generation. Accepted norms are
being challenged by young creatives, who are channelling their energy through fashion,
clubbing, music and politics. The result is an eclectic clash of styles with a dash of neonostalgia,
where 1990s clubwear and street style assume a new relevance.
Adding to the eclectic array, additional catwalk scenes included a presentation by Turkish brands
of Istanbul, displaying pieces inspired by the country’s east-meets-west culture. Zell, Party 21, Joymiss, Cara, Zamback and Exquise showcased a modern and elegant style of
Premium Emerging Brands also stole the limelight with a vibrant catwalk scene featuring directional pieces by Dur Doux, Blanc Studio, Bosari and Alara Sagasen.