With lawmakers cracking down on misleading environmental claims and consumers demanding transparency from brands, retailers are pushing full steam ahead to increase their sustainable initiatives. And it begins with finding like-minded suppliers that can meet their standards.
To assist in this pursuit, London-based Source Fashion, a responsible sourcing show running Feb. 18-20, 2024, is back for its third edition—but this time bigger than ever. The show, which offers a “unique and unmissable experience” for decision-makers in buying, sourcing and procurement, will feature manufacturers and suppliers from 25 countries.
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Offering an added layer of assurance for buying and sourcing teams, Source Fashion audits its international exhibitors as a pre-show criterion, giving attendees that sought-after responsibility guarantee in accessories, apparel, contract manufacturers, in-house design services, packaging, raw materials, textiles, trims and yarns.
“We champion responsibility. It’s not just an addition to our show, it’s our core value,” said Suzanne Ellingham, director of sourcing, Source Fashion. “We are passionate about bringing the brightest minds in the industry together by enabling global manufacturers and suppliers to meet with buyers who want the security of knowing every conversation is one that could lead to the creation of a new range.”
Building geographical diversity
With manufacturers from China, India, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Portugal, the United Kingdom (UK) and many more, Source Fashion, organized by Hyve, takes pride in building geographic diversity.
And this edition is no exception. For the first time, Source Fashion will feature companies and business support organizations from Ethiopia, Madagascar and Tanzania. Additionally, about 22 exhibitors supported by the International Trade Center (ITC)—an international agency dedicated to the development of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises—will be present at Source Fashion. Among the participants are Red Earth, Sabahar and Ultramaille.
Source Fashion will also host exhibitors from Nepal under the Nepal Pashmina Industries Association, a non-profit organization. These exhibitors will present their naturally sustainable scarves and shawls, reflecting the “high standards of quality” upheld by the association.
“We are thrilled to facilitate the participation of these exceptional companies at Source Fashion. This platform offers them a unique opportunity to expand their business into the UK market and beyond,” said Delphine Clement, program officer at ITC. “These companies, beneficiaries of the United Kingdom Trade Program (UKTP), are set to redefine sourcing dynamics by emphasizing reliability, quality and sustainability on the global stage.”
Under the UKTP, these companies enjoy duty and quota-free trade, with the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) playing a “pivotal role,” according to Clement. Effective since June 19, 2023, the DCTS aims to reduce tariffs, eliminate requirements and simplify trading rules for developing nations, making “a significant impact” on Africa and South Asia.
“Over the last 18 months, my team has built out its sourcing knowledge by actually going into these countries, visiting the manufacturers and building relationships, which creates a really unique proposition for buyers attending the show,” said Ellingham. “We’re all about championing responsible manufacturing, responsible processes and being transparent, and I believe we’re building a platform that gives us that point of view.”
This go-around, Source Fashion is taking its event to the next level with a plethora of “must-see” educational experiences.
On day one, attendees will discover tips to build effective, consistent relationships in new regions. On day two, Source Fashion will discuss how retailers can unlock the full potential of their margins and profitability with the comprehensive global fulfillment network of international manufacturing company Kornit. On the last day, attendees will learn how retailers and brands can educate consumers on the implications of overconsumption.
“Our agenda is being built around responsible business practices and posing the questions, ‘What does transparency and accountability look like,’ and ‘What are the pain points in achieving this?’” Ellingham said. “We intend to make our agenda a platform for discussion around the topics where there is no defined right and wrong, simply businesses that are moving forward and are brave enough to share their learnings.”
In addition to educational experiences, Source Fashion is bringing back its catwalk show which highlights designs using sustainable fashion. Last year, the show was headlined by designer Sarah Regensburger, who has dressed A-list celebrities like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. This year, the show will be headlined by Patrick McDowell, a London Fashion Week designer.
“Source Fashion’s catwalk show is not just about what’s on the show floor, but about inspiring what’s possible and giving [attendees] new ideas,” Ellingham said. “Our stylist and our catwalk creative director will work with the manufacturers to produce things that are on trend. We also work with graduate designers and people who may not have any products on the show floor, but are showing the art of what’s possible in sustainable fashion. As a show, we are proud to have an entire floor filled with good businesses who share our values.”
Source Fashion takes place on Feb. 18-20, 2024 at London Olympia. To attend, exhibit or get more information, click here. For the full itinerary, click here.