15th April 2009

Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show 2009 - the Show that had it all – and has even more for 2010!

The Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show, which took place earlier this month (1 – 2 April) at Birmingham’s NEC, wasn’t just an exhibition!

The Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show, which took place earlier this month (1 – 2 April) at Birmingham’s NEC, wasn’t just an exhibition!

OK, it WAS an exhibition, and a very good looking one with some fantastic stands (pics available), but the event also had its own, vibrant fashion show, a superb conference on Sustainability AND a glittering award ceremony, hosted by fashion and corporatewear design icon, Jeff Banks, and which recognised and rewarded the achievement of a cross-section of buyers and suppliers in the industry.

The exhibition
So to take each element in turn, the show itself opened its doors on
1 & 2 April to allow the 70 exhibitors to showcase their products and services to 1,700 visitors (equal to last year’s attendance, which in the current climate is a great achievement) from the very specialised workwear and corporate clothing sector. The exhibitors spanned the vast array of companies that supply this important industry, from major contractors like incorporatewear, (servicing major names such as Barclays Bank, Stagecoach, Superdrug and Bentley Motors), to specialist fabric suppliers Invista and Lauffenmuhle, to smaller, specialist companies, such as Sharron Lee supplying headwear, PLUS a vast array of companies providing protective workwear, stylish corporate collections, accessories (gloves, footwear, etc) and the related services.

The fashion show – the centrepiece of the event
So, to the fashion show, which took place three times each day and was the centrepiece of the exhibition. Sponsored by Russell Europe, the vibrant music and professionally choreographed extravaganza showcased collections from Fristards & Co., Pret Aparel Ltd., Arco, 3M, incorporatewear and Bond Safety.

The catwalk show proved a great success for the exhibitors. Laura McIlwrath, Marketing Executive of Fristads & Co, said, “Our catwalk scene proved a major hit with show visitors as it generated much interest, becoming a big talking point of the show.”

Visitors also approved. Gordon Glenister, Director-General, British Promotional Merchandise Association said, “The fashion show is great and really demonstrates garments in use, which you really cannot do on the stand.”

The glittering Business Manager Awards gala dinner
For many the glitter award ceremony, hosted by Jeff Banks and sponsored by Invista’s Cordura brand, was one of the highlights of the event. Held for the first time this year, and attended by 200 guests, the Business Manager Awards were designed to reward and celebrate the hardwork and dedication that goes into creating the spectrum of working clothing from the specialist clothing for individual needs to the wardrobes created for wearers across the globe in a range of work circumstances.

Before the main awards were made, two very special awards were presented:
director-e Lifetime Achievement Award
Campbell Bland – UK Market Manager from Lenzing Fibers

director-e Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award
John Gibbon – Managing Editor from Corporate Clothing director-e

The awards for the various clothing sectors were as follows:

1. Tina Milton, Easyjet – supplied by Wensum
2. Jayne Richards, Barclays – incorporatewear
3. Darren Dowling, Somerfield – Dimensions

1. Bob Taylor, Royal Mail – Dimensions
2. Val Teviotdale, Leicester City Council – Queen Eleanor
3. Jenny Turner, Go Ahead Group – William Sugden & Sons

1. Kate Salesse, Greater Manchester Police – Microgard
2. John Cairns, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue – Lion Apparel
3. Nigel Alexander, Arco – Sioen

The Overall Business Manager of the Year was awarded to Karen Sparrow and Team from Virgin Atlantic – supplied by Dimensions.

The high level conference on sustainability
Karen’s in-depth knowledge of the industry is evident in the fact that she was also Chairman of the panel of speakers in the exhibition’s conference on Sustainability, held on the morning of 2 April. Sponsored by Syscom plc and Lectra, the event provided the delegates with more than a little food for thought.

Presentations from ten top-class high profile industry speakers ranged in content from ethical manufacturing, eco textiles and ‘green’ clothing all linked in to the general conference title of Sustainability -- across the workwear and corporate clothing supply chain and including everything from manufacturing and procurement to garment end-of-life.

Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show 2010
As if all that wasn’t enough, Corporate Clothing LLP, organisers of the show, have announced the that show will be even better next year!

Moving to the fantastic Ricoh Arena, close to the M6 near Coventry, the show will consist of two elements:
Totally Trade Expo
Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show.

Both will have their own entrance and entry to the Totally Trade Expo will be open to pre-registered visitors and invited guests only, whist the Workwear and Corporate Clothing show will retain its current elements, the fashion show, Business Manager Awards and a high level conference.

Totally Trade Expo and the Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show will take place 13 – 14 April 2010.