Interviews with designers & buyers at Sydney Retail Festival 2019

Host : We’re back at the Sydney Retail Festival, with the girls from The Iconic. Welcome back!

The Iconic Buying team : I really enjoy coming, there’s always a lot of small brands that we normally don’t get to see. So it’s really good to come and have a look to find some more potential bands to stock with us.

There’s a lot of bands we haven’t seen before, so it’s nice to see the small and up and coming brands. And a lot of considered brands this year. The Iconic is focussing on our considered edit, so it’s nice to see a lot of sustainable brands here as well.

Then hearing the brands back story as well. Often we don’t get to hear a lot about them, or get to meet them in person and really understand what their brand is about.

[ music playing ]

Host : I’m with Jaana, Head of Sustainability at The Iconic, welcome to the event.

Jaana : I’m really impressed with the volume of brands, but also there’s so many brands that I haven’t come across before.

Host : That’s fantastic. And why are these events important for the retail industry?

Jaana : I think it’s really important for us to get out of our usually day to day, and come to see new brands and understand those emerging organisations in our industry. I think it’s really exciting to see that the sustainability is so clear on the agenda of the retail festival this year, because it’s such a critical topic in our space.

Saige Todd, Wholesale Coordinator, Lahana Swim: It’s also like the exposure. If people don’t know who we are, they walk past and like “Oh Lahana, let’s touch, feel”. They get to meet us and bring a face to the brand.

Host : You mentioned that you’ve met with a few buyers. Could you tell me who you’ve met with just over the last couple of days?

Lahana Swim : Yeah, so we’ve meet with Peppermayo, The Iconic came through, Princess Polly.

Jo-Anne Hui-Miller, Editor, Inside Retail: I think it’s really amazing to be able to see all these designer and wholesalers under the same roof. I think it’s really easy for any business owner to get stuck in their day to day job, and you don’t get a chance to see the industry as a whole. So I feel like if you make the time to come out to these events you can come away with amazing insights into the industry, and feel reenergised and motivated again.

Liliana Rubiano, Owner, Tolú Australia : To be honest I believe there are not many trade fairs in Australia that do fashion - look at this infrastructure, it’s amazing. For me I’ve been able to meet a big buyer, a department store, and was lucky enough to be able to actually fly to meet them. For me it was my highest achievement, I’m really happy about that.

Shani Tomkins, Owner, Saturday The Label: It’s been really good, yeah. I’ve had lots of people come through, and talk to me about about being represented through wholesale agents and just speaking to buyers. I spoke with a few girls from some boutiques throughout Sydney and Melbourne, so yeah it’s been really good.

Gaby Howard, Founder CEO, Flaunter : I think there’s always a huge amount to learn from others, and I think that’s why industry events like this are so powerful. I think you meet new people , you get new point of views and listening to people who are experts in their fields or who has been there, done that - I think that’s always a great way to shortcut your learnings.

David Bush, Director, David Bush Consulting : Look, I think the biggest trend in retail is what I would call encapsulized logistics; the supply chain, speed to market, speed to the consumer is something that is really going to make or break the retailers in the coming years.

Anna Mace, General Manager, Wink Models: I think that it’s important to know what everyone else is doing. I think that’s really important to understand case studies, talk to people who have been there before, because it gives you that insight; people has made mistakes. And hopefully you can learn from them before you make them yourself.

Jade Cosgrove, Founder, Label Ministry: Events like this spring people together so that they can talk about what might be the remedy for a weak industry and economy we have right now. It just gets people thinking about new ideas, out of the box scenarios that might bring strength and abundance back.

Taryn Williams, Founder,, CEO Wink Models: It’s my first time attending this event, it’s much bigger than I expected. It’s amazing! There's so many labels I have not seen before. And it’s great to get exposed to all of these new designers, so I’m excited to have a bit of a shop afterwards.

Jessica Dunlop, Director, Coco & Lola : As a buyer I think they are great because you can walk around and see people products. You can touch and feel them, have a conversations with a designer themselves. And ask more so about their product, where it’s from, where it’s made.

Yianni Giovanoglou, Trend Specialist, WGSN AU+NZ: An understanding of what’s happening to our industry and how it’s changing. Really, really important to try to get our heads around that, because it is rapidly changing. And there’s a lot of stuff going on, so I think these are a great way of connecting people.