The London Fabric Show, taking place on 26th and 27th of this month presents fine fabrics from some of Europe’s most exclusive producers and suppliers.
Held in the executive boxes and suites of the Chelsea FC ground at Stamford Bridge in Fulham, the BFM-hosted show aims to satisfy the fabric sourcing needs of manufacturers of upholstery, beds and soft furnishings in an intimate and friendly environment.
Over 35 high-end companies from Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the UK will show their new designs and collections in plains and patterns, in a wide selection of fabrics – including jacquards, wools, tweeds, silks, velvets, cottons, linens and chenilles, together with the most up-to-date backing fabrics and FR coatings.
Five new exhibitors will take part in this year’s packed show: Girones and Castilla Textil from Spain; Imatex from Italy; Luks Velvet from Turkey; and Aquitane from the UK.
Want to know more? We asked Jackie Bazeley, MD of the BFM, to share her thoughts on the show …
What’s the background of the show, and has it exceeded your expectations?
London Fabric has been a show for circa 12 years. It was originally a large event at Earls Court, before it became a bespoke show to profile Belgian mills. When I arrived at the BFM, a second show had been set up in a hotel nearby for other non-Belgian companies, and the footfall at both events was merely adequate.
I spoke with the Belgian organisers, who considered my proposal to merge the shows, and eventually they agreed to it. I then contacted James Lowe of AquaClean who had instigated the non-Belgian show, and an agreement was reached to encourage all mills to attend one show – London Fabric.
It has built steadily over the last three years, and quicker than I expected – there’s a number of mills on the waiting list. What was a one-day show became a full two days to cater to the more serious buyers.
The show has a bijou appeal. It is compact, mainly comprising private exhibition space within the directors’ boxes. This was a prime reason for choosing a sporting arena – many visitors complained that negotiations were being overheard at the previous venue.
Have you noticed much of a shift in the nature of the visitors?
What was primarily a show for manufacturers and some retailers now embraces a far wider retailer audience, with all the big names attending. Last year we saw more interior designers registering, and this has increased again.
What’s likely to be the hot topic at this year’s event?
I am sure Brexit will raise its head, especially as most of the exhibitors are from the EU or accession countries. The outcome of the trade negotiations will be interesting, and potentially critical for some of the companies.
Do you have any personal favourites amongst the products on display?
Every year I see something new that takes my attention. There are always new colourways and patterns, and that is what makes the show so vibrant – it is a plethora of colours, and it really lifts the spirit.
Do you have any tips for making the most of a visit?
Yes – book overnight accommodation, as you need two days, and enjoy the hospitality arranged! Seriously, though, the show flows quite naturally, starting in either the Tambling or Hollins suites, then into the semicircle of directors’ boxes, and back into one of the suites, so it is very simple to navigate.
Security has been tightened up this year, so visitors need to ensure they have registered before attending.