Posted by Amaranth
London Edge Preview
London Edge, now in its 14th year, is the biggest exhibition of alternative merchandise celebrating the world’s most creative and exciting ‘niches’ in fashion, footwear and accessories. Spear-headed by Carole Hunter & Sandra Phillipson it was created to fill a void as there was no show looking after the alternative market anywhere in the world. Split into two notional areas, Original & Fashion, LondonEdge Original represents over 200 hard-edged, punk, rock, goth and tattoo inspired brands whereas LondonEdge Fashion houses over 150 rock n roll, vintage, retro, pin up, burlesque and rockabilly collections. With both areas heaving with clothing, accessories and beauty brands, there truly is something for everyone. When asking Carole Hunter, Event Director, for her personal highlights she found it difficult pinning it down: “Gosh, there is so many! It’s been 14 years of fun and effective relationships. The inflatable giant legs with suspenders were pretty memorable as was the 10th anniversary party at the Shepherds Bush Empire.”
This September, the show welcomes the highest number of new, first time exhibitors for years. Along with the usual array of brands available, visitors can expect to see over 30 new companies showing as many as 50 collections from all corners of the globe. While current mainstream fashion is taking obvious cues from numerous subcultures, the true underground is flourishing like never before. Last season saw an overall increase in buyer attendance of 14% against September 2012 with 14% increase in the UK attendance & 13% increase in overseas attendees and this is looking to increase even further this September.
Claire Leftwich-Winchester the business brains and creative force behind Prong who had her first stand at the show in 2005 and has been back ever since, explains her reasons for exhibiting; “Over the years, I’ve established a very loyal customer base – even if they don’t place orders with me at the show (most do though!), they contact me in a couple of months and place an order then. It’s a great place for all my customers, UK based, European and worldwide to see the new collections, and generally see, touch and try on all the products. It’s also useful for me to get their feedback on what has worked, and get ideas for new styles for the future.”
Natalie from House of Hirudinea who will exhibit for the first time is just as excited, “I’d been to LondonEdge several times before so I already knew how important it is as an opportunity to connect with new buyers and improve House of Hirudinea’s visibility, so when I got the invite from LE to exhibit I jumped at the chance. It’s a bit daunting to go toe to toe with the big names in the alternative fashion scene, but I like a challenge!”
While the usual themed lounges, free liquor shots, energising music and great stage shows (expect a smattering of aerial acrobatics, burlesque, dance performances and other demonstrations of super-heroism) all sets the scene for a great day of networking; the reason behind it all cannot be forgotten – and that is the fashion. I had a look at some of the exhibitors and picked out some the ones I’ll be making a beeline for.
Bertoldini Giuliana Di Alessio Benetti
Since my discovery of this designer at Wave Gotik Treffen, I have been hooked. Never being a fan of masks, I fell in love with the intricate lace-like metalwork which fits to your face more like makeup than any other covering. The number of times I have been complimented on his pieces when I’ve worn them out, makes me sure that his premier appearance at LondonEdge will be a sell-out and hopefully UK customers will be able to get hold of their own piece of Venice much more easily in future.
With collections named “The Temptress”, “Cyber Vixen”, “Glam Vamp” and “Oriental Vibe”, this classic dark glamour and ultra-futuristic collection is influenced by a deep love of science fiction and artistic dreams, certainly has got something for everyone. From the more classic goth with lace and ruffles from the outlandish alien-inspired pvc hooped mini dresses, this will certainly be an interesting stall to peruse and is another new name to the exhibitor list.
An indie artist based in Melbourne, Australia she started creating jewellery, handbags, cards and prints from her designs in 2009. Loving tattoos but owning a whimsy that wanted to match them to her mood, the answer laid in tattoo inspired designs in mix ‘n’ match fashion items. Influenced by traditional tattoos, folk art and Victorian sentimental ephemera, these will certainly hit a chord with the rockabillies and vintage-lovers among you and is sure to be a perfect complement to your Hell-o-Margo ensemble (another new exhibitor hailing from France).
House of Hirudinea
Always great to see British companies in the new exhibitor list, and House of Hirudinea proudly states she hopes to always keep the “hand-made in Britain” label. Rich, decadent style with a dash of avant garde and historical inaccuracy! This initial collection will be predominately women’s clothing and accessories, aimed mostly at the goth and steampunk communities, with a definite blurring of the stylistic lines between the two, with men’s items in the works for the near future. Venerating quality as a great importance it’ll be nice to see if this will be one of those great UK brands that stand the test of time.
Prong has a unique style that is easily recognisable and I am always eager to see the new collection she launches each September, and this September will be no exception. I’ve been reliably informed that you should expect to see more crystal drops and glitter and some of the most spectacular nipple pasties to date.
Other things that Carole suggests you look out for include, “Mojo Backpacks have amazing glow in the dark prints on bags. Kreepsville 666 are always hugely creative, Iron Fist & TUK for amazing shoes. So many!”
With between 1700 – 2000 visitors to each show and an excellent selection of new and well-loved exhibitors from all over the world it’s looking to be another corker. Although it is currently only open to trade I’ve always thought it’d be great to have the first few days as a tradeshow and then open the last day to the public where the stall holders can sell off their stock as retail, and they said that this has been considered going forward. So watch this space!
Written for Devolution Magazine