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7 Trade Shows in 9 Weeks with UKFT Global Brands (Autumn-Winter 2023)


The Autumn/Winter 2023 season of international trade shows brought British companies a step closer to a ‘new normal’ following the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of its Global Brands campaign, which aims to showcase and promote UK businesses at international trade shows, UKFT attended 7 leading fashion and textile events in just three months:

Through several social media campaigns around these events, UKFT oversaw 386 brand promotions and reached over 200,000 social media accounts.

UKFT trade show map (January-March 2023).


General trends

UKFT and fashion and textile exhibitors witnessed a general trend: more buyers have begun to travel again and companies reported an increased number of buyers from Japan, South Korea and the Middle East. There were also reports of a small number of Chinese buyers tentatively attending trade shows.

Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting trade sanctions, Russian buyers were present at international trade shows and remained eager to engage with British brands. However, it is becoming clearer that the UK’s competitors are taking advantage of the UK’s relative absence from that market. This has led UK companies to question what was achieved by avoiding trading there, if their goods were valued below the £250 unit price threshold.

Paris Fashion Week event co-hosted by UKFT and Tranoï with the support of the Department for Business and Trade (March 2023).


Tackling de-risking

As UKFT had predicted, UK brands have reported that EU buyers request that they de-risk Brexit for their customers. For some, this means selling to them on a landed Delivered Duty Paid (DDP_ or Delivered At Place (DAP) whereby the customer agrees to pay or offset EU import duty on their own account (which non-EU companies cannot reclaim, thereby additional costs for wholesale).


For others, this means investing in their own EU company for VAT purposes and in some cases, third party logistics services to deliver goods (e.g., from an EU base in the Netherlands). As the involved costs are coming down and UKFT has contacts in this area, many UK fashion and textile businesses have changed their mindset from ‘I cannot afford to do this’ to ‘I cannot afford not to do this’.


UKFT stand at Première Vision Paris (February 2023).


Grants for international trade shows

The lack of grants to support British companies exhibiting at international trade shows remains challenging for UK fashion and textile companies. UKFT expects to hear about the government’s plans for grants during the financial year 2023-24, while lobbying for grants systems that put companies at the heart of the scheme. Offering support to businesses when and where they stand to make the best return on investment and schemes accessible to companies below the £250,000 turnover threshold (set by the government in the last financial year) is of the upmost importance. UKFT will continue to provide updates on this in upcoming newsletters.


UKFT stand at Chicago Collective (February 2023).


Childrenswear Trade Shows

In addition to its work at key trade shows supported by the Department for Business and Trade, UKFT is in close contact with the organisers of key childrenswear trade shows (which were not part of UKFT’s Global Brand campaign this season). Pitti Bimbo in Milan remains the leading event for luxury and ceremonial childrenswear, whereas Playtime has a more sustainable and stronger online offer. Between 5 and 10 companies exhibited at these shows without grants, while several British companies are on the waiting list for Playtime New York. Moreover, Playtime Shanghai will also return in July 2023. For more information about exhibiting at these events, please get in touch.

UKFT is looking forward to supporting UK fashion and textile companies at an exciting range of trade shows in the financial year 2023-24, while hoping that direct grants will become available. Do you have questions on exhibiting at international trade shows or on reaching new global markets? Contact us at info@ukft.org.


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