Bubble, London’s biggest and most comprehensive kids’ trade show, raised the roof for its a/w 18 edition on 28-29 January.
Closing its doors after two successful days at the Business Design Centre in Islington, the event attracted a host of key buyers seeking fresh new talent.
Confirming its position as the launchpad for new design in the children’s fashion and lifestyle sector, this season in particular saw an influx of debuting labels including Balloon Copenhagen, The Faraway Gang, Tao & Friends and Fred’s World by Green Cotton.
“Bubble is a great platform to see new, upcoming brands that we otherwise wouldn’t come across” says Chloe Milne, of Fifibelle in Lancashire.
“So many collections caught our eye this season, especially Sorci and Fofa, which was absolutely beautiful,” she continues. “We also loved – and ordered – Wex Baby, Chua and Veridiana. Wex Baby will sit alongside our super cool brands Cribstar and Adam and Yve, helping us develop a collection of edgier boyswear at a great consumer price point.
“Veridiana’s luxe party feel was stunning; design and quality was excellent and we loved its black, iridescent accents, perfectly in keeping with the interstellar trend highlighted in the Bubble Runway. All in all, a successful trip.”
In total, over 80 collections were new to the show, offering buyers an unrivalled opportunity to inject some freshness into their stores for a/w 18.
Commenting on the unique appeal of Bubble, buyer Donna Powell of Trapeze Kids in Sheffield, says: “I think the POP area is the main draw for me – I’m looking for new and innovative, early stage brands, so it is helpful to see a selection together in one area. Another Fox particularly caught my eye, as did Dandydill Way.”
Kerrie McCoy, owner of online childrenswear store Monkey McCoy, shares similar views: “I really like the area of the show dedicated to POP and Bump – it’s a great way to showcase smaller labels.
She continues: “Some of the brands that caught my eye this season included Grass & Air, Blossom & Bear, Mori, Bullabaloo, DandyDill Way and Small Stories – I’ve already placed orders with four of these brands.”
Bubble is always a platform for new concepts and exclusives and this season was no exception.
A/w 18 saw the introduction of agent showrooms pioneered by Scandi-focused Breitenstein Agencies, who presented collections from Angulus, Veja, Bobux, Fub, Mar Mar Copenhagen, MP Denmark, Huttelihut and new Icelandic brand, Iglo + Indi.
The new showroom-style concept was positively received by buyers, who enjoyed seeing all of the brands presented within the same space.
“It was really helpful to see Breitenstein Agencies at the show with its full collections,” Powell continues. “As I already work with them, it meant I could pack much more buying into a day at the show.”
However, perhaps the most exciting addition to Bubble this season was the introduction of the Bubble Runway.
This showcase of the a/w 18 collections took place throughout the show, enhanced by an additional Insta Kids scene on the Sunday.
“I loved the fashion show,” adds McCoy. “The children looked beautiful and it was a fabulous way to introduce some of the best brands present at the show.”
The range of seminars and panel discussions also provided talking points over the two days, kicking off with a gender neutral clothing debate on the Sunday.
The popular Buyer’s Panel on Monday saw insights from key buyers including Amy Whittard from Mothercare, who shared her views on the season so far.
Tamara Ecclestone visited the show on the Monday and chatted to Baby London magazine about her babycare range Fifi & Friends as well as sharing some of her favourite brands with the audience.
Elsewhere, online marketplace specialists, Trouva, gave an insightful demonstration of how its service can provide the perfect partnership for independent boutiques, opening up a global market place for carefully curated products.
“I found the seminars very useful, particularly the Trouva one on the future of retail,” confirms Simon Dernie, owner of Little Brogues in Cumbria. “It was also helpful to discover the season’s themes, colours and trends.”
The show’s other key content this season included the highly coveted Rising Star Award, which was scooped by Grass & Air, together with the prize of a free stand at the next edition of Bubble.
Rising Star judges included CWB magazine editor Laura Turner, Simon Dernie from Little Brogues, Kerrie McCoy from Monkey McCoy and Madeleine Walsh from Me & Buddy, all of whom commented on the amount of new talent amongst the finalists at the show.
Selfie Clothing was also amongst the winners, taking top spot in the Stand Out competition and receiving a season of marketing support in CWB magazine, CWB online and through Bubble London’s own website.
Bubble London will return to the Business Design Centre, Islington on 15-16 July 2018.
For more information visit bubblelondon.com