Pure’s eclectic mix of SS19 womenswear and short-order collections seemed to hit the mark with independents at Olympia London on 22-24 July, with prints and colourful fabrics in abundance. A smattering of menswear, an area the show is looking to grow, also had a surprise offer or two, as Tom Bottomley discovered.
Established for 10 years, a rebranding this year for Sugarhill Boutique to Sugarhill Brighton also spells a bit of relaunch for s/s19. Strong prints dresses and jumpsuits are the speciality, along with retro striped jerseys, slogan sweats and Breton striped tops with embroidery detailing. It’s a funky and fun line, with bestselling shapes including the ‘Reva Shirt Dress’, with a button-up front, soft collar, curved hem and tie waist. Cat prints, tropical prints and ‘Brighton sights’ all feature on the dresses, shirts and tops. Wholesale sales manager, Stacey Saunders, says: “All of our prints are exclusively drawn in-house in our Brighton studio, so the prints are very key to the branding. A staple dress we do in every collection is what we call the ‘fit and flare’, but we’re moving on and now doing a lot of jumpsuits and more separates.”
A French sounding name, but actually originating from Stuttgart, Germany, where designer Florence Shirazi creates her collections, Mademoiselle Yéyé is an eye-catching line with more than a hint of a vintage feel to it. The 1960’s and 70’s appear key design reference points, though the updated details and fabrics are a level up from most of the originals. Shirazi does all her own textiles and pattern prints, which makes her collections more stand-out and exclusive. The brand has only been established for five years, and there’s definitely a lot more room to grow the brand on the wholesale side, with a UK agent currently being sought. “We specialise in a lot of feminine dresses and vintage inspired details,” says Shirazi. “I like 1960’s design details in particular, especially with the dresses and knits, but the collection is also contemporary, so it’s a nice mix.” Sporting a stunning red geometric print jumpsuit from the s/s19 collection herself, Shirazi wears her own designs very well.
Established for 20 years now, Closet London sell mainly online through the likes of Asos and Next. There’s nine collections a year, and each collection consists of about 45 pieces, covering occasion wear, ‘desk to dinner’ attire, daywear and separates. Everything is made in one of six factories the brand uses in London, and the fabrics are sourced from all over Europe, including Italy and France. Sales manager, CJ Basra, says: “We specialise in dresses predominantly, but we do separates as well. For next spring/summer we’re looking at doing some pastels and satins, but we operate closer to the season so the range we’re selling right now is available to buy at wholesale until October – for the Christmas market.” Retail entry prices are £65, and exit prices £150, and like many collections right now there’s a lot of prints going on, with jacquard prints and florals particularly prominent. Styling-wise, there’s a nod to 1970’s Biba styling, with tie bow dresses in shades of deep burgundy, a deep green velvet dress with flared sleeves, shirt dresses and flared trousers.
Based in Leeds, Joe Browns started from small beginnings as a mail order business back in 1998, growing in to a large online lifestyle brand for women and men. In 2017, the bold decision to make its retail debut came about, and a 4,000 square foot flagship store opened in October last year at Meadowhall, Sheffield. Wholesale was also only ventured in to for the first time about four years ago, but now the brand is a regular exhibitor at Pure, with a growing independent-driven account base. The women’s offer, specialises in dresses, with plenty of prints once again, coats, tunics and jackets with quirky button details. There’s certainly a leaning towards 1960’s and 70’s styling for s/s19, though Joe Browns also has a bright red with white polka dot dress that’s straight off the set of a 1950’s Hollywood film. “Quirky, different, retro and vintage is very much what we’re about,” says sales manager, Andy O’Neill.
One of the most basic, but certainly appealing exhibitors, Sundae Tee is a brand new launch, and is a sister brand of another more established Pure regular, Postcard from Brighton. Sales agent, Ruth Morgan, says: “This is targeting a slightly younger customer and is more slogan-led Tees, sweats and dresses.” A scoop neck, long-sleeved, slouchy black Tee screams ‘It’s just for the music baby’ on a gold background, and there’s also long jersey dresses with diving swallows printed on, and a hoody with ‘Sundae Soul’ on it to get the message across. There’s not too much to it, but you can tell it’s set to be a grower. “All the jersey is made in the UK, as is the production, and it’s short-order – so we’ll do a delivery in September. We will be doing four collections a year,” adds Morgan. “And we’ve had a really strong response, especially because the wholesale prices are favourable at £12 – £18.”
Established in Sweden in 1891, Tretorn is one of the oldest sneaker brands in the world, though it actually started out making rubber boots, before going in to rainwear, for which it has really made its name. With sustainability currently an industry buzz word, Tretorn ticks all the right boxes, especially with its ‘From the Sea’ jacket, which is made from recycled plastic water bottles and fishing nets – remastered in to a fabric called ‘Ocean Shell’ – which Tretorn apparently owns the patent on. It’s seam-sealed and completely waterproof. Impressive stuff indeed for all things environmentally-friendly. Perhaps even more impressive is the ‘Bio Plant Jacket’, the first fully biodegradable jacket, including the zip. Sales manager, Sophie Cabourn, daughter of Nigel Cabourn, says: “It’s the first fully biodegradable jacket in the world. There’s only one factory in Italy that can make this biodegradable zip. The jacket itself is made from plants and can biodegrade within a year.” Bright coloured pink and yellow rain jackets for women feature in the new s/s19 collection, and are joined by some rather natty pink rubber boots. The sneakers come in canvas or suede in a range of colours and feature lo-tops and hi-tops.
This was definitely a surprise find at Pure, more likely to find this one at Jacket Required, though it’s not showing there this time, but did show at Pitti in Florence and Seek in Berlin. Outerwear is the speciality, with ‘tradition meets future’ the theme, with high quality traditional fabrics combined with the best modern technical fabrics. Matsumoto is a Japanese designer, but the brand is based in China, and has only been established for two years with no UK stockists as yet, though it does have a UK brand manager, one Emma Booth. The ‘Heritage’ collection is the brand’s top tier line, and uses classic and iconic British fabrics such as Halley Stevensons waxed cotton and Ventile, The jackets are all bonded, with taped seams and a three-layer membrane, so they are water and windproof. There’s Liberty fabric jackets and waistcoats, camouflage pieces and even a Japanese Okayama denim work jacket with the same bonded treatment. It’s all in the attention detail. Indeed, some of the collection has a bit of an Engineered Garments look to it, but the price points are more competitive. And there’s a lesser priced Japanese s/s19 collection that looks pretty tasty too.
Tom & Teddy
Now in its sixth year, Tom & Teddy specialises in funky swim shorts for men and boys, with some great all-over prints, as well as plain options. It’s also now ventured in to doing some pima cotton polo shirts for the first time for s/s19, with contrast plackets, and in vibrant colours to compliment the shorts. Founder and creative director, Michelle L’Huillier, says: “The brand and concept was really born out of my time spent in Australia, as I’m an Aussie citizen as well, though I was born and bred in the UK. It was from spending many years on beaches in Sydney, and then moving to Singapore for a further 10 years – where I launched the brand in 2012.” Prints on the shorts feature seagulls, shells, octopus and all things associated with life in and by the ocean. The fabrics used are incredibly soft and quick drying, and although Tom & Teddy does not yet have any UK accounts, in the US it currently sells in the likes of SAKS, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, and in Australia it’s in David Jones. Men’s shorts wholesale at £27, and retail at £69.95.
Rupert & Buckley
First established in 2011, Rupert & Buckley was founded by James Buckley-Thorp whilst studying law at the University of Kent. The brand was a single store operation in Bath until 2016. Having relaunched in 2017, with a new CEO, Alex Newman, at the helm, Rupert & Buckley has restructured the business, invested in a new distribution centre in Barnstaple, opened a further two standalone retail stores in Durham and Chester, and become stocked by more than 150 stores in the UK and Ireland, with sports related sweats, Tees, shirts, shorts and collegiate styling aimed at men and women aged 25-35. Often with Rupert & Buckley branding, either going big or more subtle. It was awarded the honour of becoming the leisurewear partner of ‘The Boat Race’ in 2017, with a three-year contract. Fresh for s/s19, the brand has a new designer on board in Beth Hillier, who formerly worked in design and development for Abercrombie & Fitch. Rupert & Buckley is current raising money through crowdfunding, with £450,000 the initial target, in order to fulfil its expansion plans in the US. This could well be one to watch.