Gifts Today magazine

Top Drawer sees strong buyer support

The UK’s leading design-led lifestyle event boosted vendor confidence with a buoyant show to kick-start the 2017 buying season

Top Drawer opened its doors to present more than 1,500 brands occupying the entire Olympia complex, from January 15-17. Retailers and contract buyers took full advantage of the chance to source from an unprecedented roster of exclusive products and new launches from key international brands and new talents - most of whom were showing exclusively in the UK this January.

Top Drawers’ core principles of quality, selection and impeccable standards of presentation were much in evidence across the core “Worlds” of Home, Gift, Fashion and Craft, as the S/S17 edit reflected increasing demand for premium design-led products from retailers. As the first UK trade show of the new year, Top Drawer was clearly the ideal place to scout fresh trends and influential brands for 2017.

Over 200 brands showcased new and innovative products across the world of Home. Covering the breadth of Contemporary Interiors, Interior Accessories, Kitchen & Dining, Furniture and Lighting and Outdoor Living - Home provided everything, from statement pieces to original new designs. Bliss Home, Bloomingville, Bronte, Coach House, Garden Trading, Grand Illusions, Linum, LSA International, Orla Kiely Home, Pad Home, PR Home, Skagerak, Skandium, Umbra and Voyage were amongst the expertly curated selection of top international names. These brands sat comfortably among newcomers of the likes of Emko furniture, scandi lifestyle brand Design Letters and new UK lighting company Haberdashery.

Visitors on Sunday were thrilled to meet celebrity chef and restaurateur Rick Stein. Rick visited the show for his new product launch with BlissHome. The launching range of tableware - ‘Coves’, was the winning entry in a competition launched by Rick which was open to design students at Falmouth University.

Quality was the name of the game in Craft at Top Drawer - over 150 talented creatives showcased their unique works, which offered the ultimate in cool, beautiful distinctiveness. The skilled designer-makers were on their stands throughout the show and available to talk in-depth about their designs. The huge variety of hand-crafted products on offer meant there was something for small and large retailers alike.

“Craft, in its broadest sense, is booming,” says Ian Rudge, Development Director of Clarion Events, “There is growing appreciation of the value of craft. Handmade products with provenance, originality and integrity are increasingly in demand as consumers seek out “real” products, with tradition, honesty and inherent beauty… and are prepared to pay for them”.

Having doubled in size since launching in 2016, the Food Emporium drew strong interest from retailers and buyers by presenting the largest collection of non-perishable premium artisan food producers ever assembled at a UK event. With the emphasis firmly on premium giftable food products the Food Emporium contained a comprehensive selection of beautifully packaged food gifts of every type, from chocolate and confectionery to oils and condiments, drinks and beverages.

Curated by acclaimed style writer Charlotte Abrahams, Spotted is an expert showcase of over 40 of the UK’s finest emerging designers and makers. Spanning every area of the show, Spotted presents the créme of new design stars launching fantastic, market-ready products. Spotted was an absolute necessity for all creative retailers eager to present a fresh offering for S/S17.

Academy Live was full of expert voices on stage, with insider knowledge and fresh thinking from the likes of M&S, Liberty, John Lewis, Design Museum, LivingEtc and the V&A. The key note speakers captivated large crowds, eager to learn about emerging trends in business for 2017.

Top Drawer introduced its key trends for S/S17 - Honest Simplicity, Happy, The Blues, The Tribe Vibe, 70s Remix and Echoes of Deco. From the soft and warm tones of Honest Simplicity to the bright colours and dynamic patterns of 70s Remix, these six key aesthetic trends could be seen throughout the show. Reflected through a huge range of products on offer buyers could source with confidence the trends their customers will be buying in the seasons ahead.

The 6 key trends were brought to life through the daily catwalk shows, with key accessories brands like Autumn Crop, One Button and Samantha Holmes responding to emerging trends across the lifestyle landscape.

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