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Scoop founder and director, Karen Radley: Interest is ‘strongest it’s ever been’

By Rachel Douglass


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Fairs |Interview

Karen Radley, Scoop founder and director. Credits: Scoop International.

Regular reports of the UK’s turbulence have yet to sway attempts by international brands to enter the region and nab a share of its fashion market. Such sentiments are only confirmed by the increased prominence of Scoop International, a London-based trade fair that puts an emphasis on emerging global designers and lifestyle brands.

Ahead of Scoop International’s upcoming show, set to take place at Olympia West, Kensington, between February 11 and 13, the fair’s founder and managing director, Karen Radley, spoke to FashionUnited on the business behind its global concept.

The UK market has been - and is still going through - somewhat of a challenging period in terms of trade and economy. Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel?

I have been in the industry since I was 18 and over the decades, I have come across challenging times, but the fashion industry is and remains an exciting and vibrant industry led by entrepreneurs who are the best at being flexible and adapting to market changes. Scoop has a continued strong interest from international brands who wish to come to the UK and exhibit at Scoop, we have many new designers this season and the registration and interest from buyers is the strongest it has ever been.

An attendee of Scoop International. Credits: Scoop International.

A positive shift could also be reflected in the increase of international brands interested in attending Scoop. How does the trade show aid such labels in entering the UK market?

We encourage international labels to look for representation here to make entering the UK as easy as possible and we can actively help them find the right partners. We work with experienced distributors and agents who know the ropes and can facilitate easy trading between UK retailers and international designers. Scoop feels more like a large showroom than a trade show, with a relaxed, caring, and personal environment and I can personally introduce the designers to the best retailers in the UK.

What are the key challenges international brands are currently facing when entering this market?

It is learning to understand the market. The British high street is changing, market towns are becoming more affluent, with people returning to the high street. More independent boutiques are opening with a new generation of buyers who very often have a national presence via their websites. The challenge is understanding this unique market and the best way to do that is by attending Scoop and meeting new and established retailers.

What is Scoop's selection process when deciding on exhibiting brands? Are there requirements they must meet?

Having been a buyer for many years I approach the selection process as though I am merchandising my own store.

The fair ground of Scoop International. Credits: Scoop International.

How was this year's theme - a Return to Wonderment - conjured up? How will be it reflected in the show?

It is a playful and whimsical theme that explores romance and glamour while epitomising quintessential Britishness and humour. The season’s artwork celebrates the fun and fashion of Scoop and the fresh look this brings to Olympia West. We will unveil the theme on site, and everyone will need to wait to discover it for themselves.

What are you currently anticipating in terms of visitor numbers? Are there any notable buyers attending?

Scoop is on everyone’s calendar, and we are anticipating one of our strongest attendances. Scoop welcomes the best independent retailers and international department stores across the UK and internationally.

Are there any other new features or elements visitors should keep an eye out for at the upcoming show?

Scoop is all about a lovely buying atmosphere and experience and the main feature will be the unveiling of the theme and creativity at the show.

This year's theme of Scoop International - a Return to Wonderment. Credits: Scoop International.
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