More retailers and more products at Top Drawer

Top Drawer saw a ‘significant increase’ in visitors who viewed more new products launched at the show than ever, according to organiser Clarion Events.

The Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of the exhibition, which took place from September 11 to September 13 at Olympia in London, presented design-led brands across four sectors: Home, Gift, Fashion and, for the first time, Craft.

Show director Alejandra Campos said: “With thousands of top UK and international brands, most of which were exclusive to the show this September, we attracted an unrivalled variety of retailers across our sectors.”

She said the quality and quantity of retailers were on the rise, with a 20% increase in international visitors from over 80 countries including USA, Japan, Chile, Australia, Netherlands, Korea, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Hong Kong, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Peru, South Africa, China, Italy, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

The show also witnessed an increase in department store buyers. John Lewis, Selfridges, Marks & Spencer, Harrods, Arnotts, Fenwick, House of Fraser, Fortnum & Mason and Brown Thomas were among those in attendance.

Alejandra added that the new show layout, spread over two floors at Olympia which accommodated the new sector of Craft, was well received. Craft itself made a ‘hugely successful debut”, with its curated pick of handmade products. Award-winning surface designer Daniel Heath, in partnership with online design portal In The Window, created “a real buzz” around Craft by performing live screen printing of his new wallpaper collection.

Home saw “a strong showcase” of UK and overseas brands – with a 30% expansion from the Autumn/Winter 2015 show –   offering a selection of design-led products across interior accessories, kitchen & dining, furniture & lighting and outdoor living.

New independent designers sat alongside established brands such as Seletti, Eva Solo, Leonardo, Bliss Home, Ulster Weavers, ON Interior, Pantone, Bronte, Also Home, Umbra, Make International, Alessi, Garden Trading and Skandium.And Keith Brymer-Jones, judge of BBC2 series ‘The Great British Pottery Throw Down’ returned to Top Drawer with live action at his potter’s wheel, creating his signature ceramics ahead of the new series of the hit TV show.

A selection of UK and international brands featured throughout the Gift sector. Exhibitors included Nkuku, Wild & Wolf, Cubic, Manta Gifts, Max Benjamin, Caroline Gardner, Men’s Society, True Grace, Bombay Duck, Scandi Chic, Rice, Dassie, Qualy & Co and Kikkerland. 

Other show highlights included ‘Spotted’, which presented a collection of emerging designers curated by journalist Charlotte Abrahams – and hosted a surprise visit by the former King of Spain Juan Carlos. He called in to see his friend, illustrator Lauren Dickinson Clarke, who was launching her new collection of tableware. ;

Two new trails guided visitors through the show. The Men Only trail highlighted original gifts and accessories for men and the UK Debut trail enabled buyers to home in on new international brands. These complemented the established Product GB and Eco trails. 

Meanwhile, delegates enjoyed hearing fresh industry insight during the Academy LIVE seminars which included presentations from retailers Philippa Prinsloo, head of design for home at John Lewis, and Alexander Wells-Greco, head of visual merchandising and display at Harrods.

And Autumn/Winter 2016 trends were presented in partnership with global trend forecaster Stylus. The six trends identified – Serenity, Clean Primary, Urban Nomads, Crafted Neutrals, Modern Metallics and Earth Patterns – were displayed in a specially commissioned featured at the show.

The next edition of Top Drawer will be held at London’s Olympia from January 15 to January 17 2017.

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