Five years in, the London Fabric Show is at the top of its game. Taking place from 4-5th March this year at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge Ground, the BFM-organised exhibition comprised 38 fabric manufacturers and suppliers – including 10 from Belgium, nine from Turkey and nine from the UK – and gave upholstery manufacturers and national retailers plenty of fresh fabrics, reports Paul Farley …

Who would have thought a football stadium would make  such a good exhibition venue? When the BFM relaunched the London Fabric Show in 2015 – a merger of London Fabric and the Sofitel Textile Show – it settled on a well-proportioned and fully-featured hospitality suite at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge, and it hasn’t looked back since.

The event feels at home in this design-driven London neighbourhood. Introducing a wealth of cottons, velvets, jacquards and wools – in everything from pastels and metallics to the latest in digital prints and stain-resistant treatments – the London Fabric Show is rich in colour and texture, and offers textile buyers a welath of choice beneath one well-appointed roof.

Each exhibitor inhabits their own box room in the complex, making for an intimate setting that, while more difficult to browse from afar or at speed, allows them to set out their stall to best effect. 

And, regardless of Brexit, there was no lack of interest in their wares. Snow warnings around last year’s event meant attendance was heavily weighted towards the first day, but there was no such disruption this year, and the fair welcomed a steady flow of visitors each day. The BFM reports that the numbers were consistent with last year’s – and although some exhibitors did admit to receiving fewer guests to their booths this time around, they were unequivocal in their feeling that the quality of attendees had improved. 

New exhibitors Bill Beaumont, Teksium Tekstil and Ragolle Fabrics were equally pleased with the proceedings.

Rounding off the experience was a pleasant hospitality package including a free lunch and refreshments, plus a drinks soiree on the Monday evening. The London Fabric Show is an undeniably sociable fixture, offering visitors and exhibitors alike great networking opportunities at a time of year in which these are in short supply (this side of the Far East!).

This was the final edition overseen by outgoing BFM MD Jackie Bazeley, who says: “I am gratified to go out on a high. This show has become an essential date in the diary for many of our members. It is always a pleasure to see so many well-known and friendly faces at Chelsea, and I’m sure that the show will continue to develop and thrive. We have had great feedback already from this year’s event, and I’m thrilled at its success.”

The London Fabric Show will return to Chelsea FC’s West Stand in 2020.