An interview with Suzanne Ellingham – Sourcing Director – Source Fashion trade show

Date:

My dear esteemed readers, I am delighted to present herewith my interaction with Suzanne Ellingham – Sourcing Director of Source Fashion – Europe’s leading responsible sourcing show, by Hyve Group.

Source Fashion unites international manufacturers and suppliers over three days, at the iconic Olympia London. This offers a unique and unmissable experience for the UK fashion industry, especially decision-makers in buying, sourcing and procurement, with the reassurance of knowing that every exhibitor has been audited to ensure responsibility and transparency remains at the heart of their business model. We connect global manufacturers and suppliers to buyers who want the security in knowing every conversation is one that could lead to a new range creation. Source Fashion is the gateway to retail for manufacturers and suppliers from across the world.

An interview with Suzanne Ellingham – Sourcing Director – Source Fashion trade show. Hyve Group. UK fashion industry. Top retailers from UK. UK’s largest retail trade shows. Pure London. Scoop. Just Around the Corner. top fashion trade show. responsible fashion catwalk. UK super models.
Suzanne Ellingham – Sourcing Director – Source Fashion trade show.

TextilesResources.com: How long have you worked on Source Fashion? How is your experience so far?

Suzanne Ellingham: For the last six years I have held senior roles across content and event strategy at Hyve Group, one of the world’s largest event organisers, responsible for the UK’s largest retail trade shows, including leading UK fashion trade shows Pure London, Scoop and Just Around the Corner.

Covid gave us a little time to reflect on what the sourcing market wanted, and actually, what they needed. It was obvious to us that there was an opportunity for the UK to host a fashion sourcing show with a focus on responsible and sustainable manufacturing, one that connected good businesses to buyers that wanted to buy better. Sustainability and responsibly sourcing are not a section, or part of the show, it is imbedded in the core values of what we do. It is what we are. We launched Source Fashion at Olympia London in February 2023 and it has gone from strength to strength.

Source Fashion is home to manufacturers and artisans, that can quite literally make anything, they bring their capabilities which means there is no shortage of inspiration, and importantly endless possibilities. We are creating a safe space for buyers and designers to find new partners and collaborators. That’s the show we wanted to create, and the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.

We are back at London Olympia for our fourth edition from 14-16th July, where the world’s leading manufacturers and artisans from around 30 countries will gather. Source Fashion offers everything from garments to accessories, sportswear, footwear, packaging, yarns and trims.
As well as the exhibition, I also draw on my content background to create a compelling programme of catwalk shows, panel talks and keynote interviews with industry experts and well-known designers to discuss everything from trends to sourcing in developing countries.

An interview with Suzanne Ellingham – Sourcing Director – Source Fashion trade show. Hyve Group. UK fashion industry. Top retailers from UK. UK’s largest retail trade shows. Pure London. Scoop. Just Around the Corner. top fashion trade show. responsible fashion catwalk. UK super models.

TextilesResources.com: Do you have any selection criteria for exhibitors? How do you make sure you have curated exhibitors that are compliant with sustainability, ethical manufacturing and other norms?

Suzanne Ellingham: At the minimum, exhibitors are required to have had a recent audit from Sedex or BSCI, as recognizable audit institutions. This gives visitors the reassurance of knowing that every exhibitor has been audited to ensure responsibility and transparency remain at the heart of their business model.

Each exhibitor also signposts their certifications and standards, providing peace of mind to the attendees who are drawn from some of the best-known brands and retailers in the UK and beyond they can do business with anyone they meet.

In addition, we often work with government agencies from around the world, who are tasked with showcasing and boosting their export capabilities. We work with those agencies very closely as they will vet the capabilities of businesses coming to the show to ensure they can work with European companies and meet the standards we want to see.
As a show, we want to feel proud to have an entire floor of good businesses that share our values. There is a big appetite for the buying community to have a show like this, it’s a bit of a game-changer for buyers and has universal appeal across the buyer ecosystem.

An interview with Suzanne Ellingham – Sourcing Director – Source Fashion trade show. Hyve Group. UK fashion industry. Top retailers from UK. UK’s largest retail trade shows. Pure London. Scoop. Just Around the Corner. top fashion trade show. responsible fashion catwalk. UK super models.

TextilesResources.com: What is your strategy or plan for value-addition or unique-ness in terms of exhibiting products and sourcing quality (by visitors/buyers)? Any futuristic plan?

Suzanne Ellingham: The key priorities for our audience are simple, to be able to work with better companies, who have good working practices, and who make quality products at a fair price. Our job is to find, and spotlight, those businesses who deserve those contracts, and help buyers do better business with manufacturers or regions they had never considered.

At the show, visitors can explore a world of newness, and the latest manufacturing and supplier capabilities. Geographic diversity is the cornerstone of our show and we’ll welcome around 30 countries to London this year. We want to champion the great manufacturers from around the globe from Peru to Cambodia, Pakistan to Portugal, Hong Kong to Italy and Greece back to the UK – and not forgetting the industrial powerhouses like China, India, and Turkey. We are also welcoming some new, emerging markets including a strong representation from southeast Asia and Africa, and by working closely with trade bodies we can do all the due diligence.

We’ll be introducing the show’s first-ever Malaysian manufacturer, Kualesa Apparel. Kualesa started as a small seed of an idea, with a big ambition and an even bigger purpose. The brand has evolved from a simple set of values to a producer of great-looking and super comfortable bamboo apparel that’s challenging fast fashion.

Fairs and More Inc. from the Philippines returns to the show for a second time, bringing a pavilion of Filipino manufacturers and makers. We’ll also welcome our first-ever Nigerian manufacturer, Beyond Clothing. A leading garment factory, they specialise in crafting premium custom clothing, branded uniforms, corporate uniforms, and sublimated t-shirts. Their extensive range also includes promotional apparel, workwear, and PPE personal protective apparel for hospitals.

Visitors will also discover the International Trade Center (ITC), which is returning with a pavilion that includes a debut area for Ghanaian producers. With manufacturing in Ethiopia, Shints Co Ltd is a global producer of high-performance outdoor clothing and camping equipment.

A strong contingency from Europe includes over 25 UK exhibitors, representation from France, Italy and Spain, and a strong selection of Portuguese exhibitors including Ttantos Textiles, FLM Textil, Lagofra, and SMSenra providing a range of textile manufacturing and design services.

We have created a new area called Source Luxury, an edit of the super high-quality manufacturers and artisans using the highest quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship, which for July expands to the upstairs balcony of the National Hall.

An interview with Suzanne Ellingham – Sourcing Director – Source Fashion trade show. Hyve Group. UK fashion industry. Top retailers from UK. UK’s largest retail trade shows. Pure London. Scoop. Just Around the Corner. top fashion trade show. responsible fashion catwalk. UK super models.

TextilesResources.com: Share your most fascinated incident/s from your recent one or two editions.

Suzanne Ellingham: The one thing that I am always asked is “What’s on trend for this season!?” It used to be the number one question I was asked about the show. One of the things we care about is reducing overconsumption and that comes about when we are pandering to a perception that consumers constantly need newness and are encouraged to buy whole new collections. This fuels waste.

One narrative we are passionate about is sustainable consumption, and that we need to move past the never-ending search for that one product that will sell hundreds of thousands of units, worn for a month and then discarded. What has surprised me is how receptive people are to a different point of view, lets make better clothes that cost a little more and last a lot longer, made from materials that can be broken down. The only trend we really should care about is quality.

Over the past 18 months, we have seen a real shift to our buying community being more vocal and looking for ways to be more sustainable in their production.

TextilesResources.com: From the sourcing point of view, how Source Fashion is different from other sourcing shows?

Suzanne Ellingham: One of the things that makes Source Fashion a standout from other sourcing shows, aside from our responsible ethos, is our responsible fashion catwalk show and the insightful content sessions.

Creating a show like this allows us to create a platform for people to have discussions about the future of fashion, sustainability, and how to do better business. Our content program brings together a wide spectrum of industry experts to discuss the challenges of responsibility in fashion, and we look at regeneration, reuse, repurposing, B Corp certification, evolving trends, new materials and processes, regulations, transparency, and accountability, and so much more. We intend to make our agenda a platform for discussion around the topics where there is no defined right and wrong, simply businesses that are moving forward and are brave enough to share their learnings.

The Source Catwalk will showcase responsibly made garments brought together to flaunt the materials of the future. It’s not just a showcase on the show floor, but really about us showing what responsibly made fashion looks like today, moving away from conceptual to what’s being achieved now, offering inspiration and new ideas.

We also collaborate with amazing designers such as Patrick McDowell to showcase their work in reinventing luxury through a sustainable mindset. Our catwalk is about inspiring the art of what is possible.

An interview with Suzanne Ellingham – Sourcing Director – Source Fashion trade show. Hyve Group. UK fashion industry. Top retailers from UK. UK’s largest retail trade shows. Pure London. Scoop. Just Around the Corner. top fashion trade show. responsible fashion catwalk. UK super models.

TextilesResources.com: How do you see sourcing practices across the global textile/apparel/fashion industry in the next 5 years? What is your plan going forward?

Suzanne Ellingham: I think we work in a world that is constantly evolving. What I can see is a clear development of legislation that will impact sourcing choices, be it tax exemptions, trading schemes, or consumption to end-of-life regulation.

I think, what this will lead to is a clear move towards transparency, which is the only way that we will move forward to create less environmentally impactful supply chains and move towards responsible production.

Consumers are leading this march, but regulators, whilst notoriously slow to react, are now starting to come forward with new standards and ways of working, that’s what I believe will be different over the next five years.

TextilesResources.com: Anything you would like to convey to the readers of this interview?

Suzanne Ellingham: Sustainability means different things to different people. It’s not just about carbon footprint, or materials, or energy. It should be seen through a holistic lens, and ask … is this company moving forward in all of these areas, not just one?

Championing responsible production and positive change is incredibly important to us. We do not have a conscious section or a sustainable section, instead, we know every company on our show floor is on that journey with our buying community. Responsible and sustainable production is just who we are, it’s intrinsically embedded in our core values as a show, and more importantly, this is the type of show myself and my team WANT to work on. The impact we make in communities around the world by connecting people at Source Fashion is what keeps us driving this show forward and it’s what motivates us to ensure we continue to drive the agenda we believe in.

Check the event details here

Thank you all for reading this interview.

Bhargav Pathak
Bhargav Pathakhttps://textilesresources.com
With a passion for the textile, apparel, and fashion industry, I embarked on a journey fueled by education from NIFT Gandhinagar and affiliation with NDBI at NID Ahmedabad. Since 2006, I've contributed to various corporate ventures, specializing in B2B, B2C, SaaS, and AI products within the textile domain. In July 2023, I launched TextilesResources.com, a knowledge hub offering the latest news, articles, and soon-to-come features like interviews and a trade fair calendar. Grateful for the growing community, we've recently introduced a Business Directory for enhanced visibility. Join us on LinkedIn and stay connected with the ever-evolving textile landscape!

1 COMMENT

  1. […] Suzanne Ellingham, Sourcing Director, Source Fashion says, “We can already feel the buzz around the July show. We are proud to be able to bring the world’s best manufacturers and material providers under one roof. Feedback from visitors highlights the immense value they gain from meeting so many international manufacturers and suppliers face-to-face. We are delighted to offer such diversity, bringing together producers from around 30 countries and a huge variety of makers and manufacturers, each unique in specialising in different products and materials. […]

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