Why we loved being a Naidex exhibitor
Earlier this week, Kintsugi exhibited at Naidex for the first time. It did not disappoint.
The two-day event showcases independent living innovations, such as mobility products, and the work of support organisations and useful service providers. This year, there was a focus on inclusive fashion. It's very exciting for a brand like ours to know that there are others working on opening up this industry.
The Kintsugi team, made up of Emma, Helen and Denise, arrived in Birmingham on Sunday. We stayed at a nearby hotel and spent Monday setting up our stand. Our graphics, provided by K Display, looked fantastic! We added a clothing rail with two bars, one at a lower height, to ensure that wheelchair users could feel each garment. Our brochures, which feature models Caitlyn Fulton and Becky Barnes, were displayed on a stand at the front, while an ottoman and two black fluffy stools provided seating towards the back.
Day one: a flurry of activity
Day one was incredibly busy. We had loads of visitors to our stand! Almost every single one was interesting, imaginative and friendly, which made us feel welcome and at ease. It also meant that we received some fantastic suggestions on improving and expanding our range.
One of the biggest pieces of feedback we received was that a menswear range would be great. We agree! Our first collection of women's clothing was designed to test the water. Going forward, we fully intend to expand into menswear.
As well as meeting new people, Emma also met up with some familiar faces, including the team from Ability Today and Ros from Pos'Ability Magazine, as well as the fabulous blogger Tania (https://www.whentaniatalks.com/).
Day two: the inclusive fashion debate
We had expected the second day of Naidex to be much quieter, but it was almost as busy as the first. Warwick Davis was giving a presentation, which drew a huge crowd. Once again, we received plenty of lovely, insightful visitors to our stand, including Shani Dhanda who Emma was joining later in the day for a panel debate on inclusive fashion. Shani is a warm, funny and intelligent woman and it was a pleasure to chat to her.
Emma also met (and fangirled over) blogger Imogen Fox whose style is always on point and whose points are always well-made! And we also had a representative from ASOS come and see us, which was great, as we got to chat about how they're thinking about and working on accessible fashion. It would be amazing to see it go mainstream and we have high hopes for that.
An all-women panel
The panel debate featured Shani, Emma, model Samanta Bullock and Sarah McAnallen. Panellists were asked a series of interesting questions, including what brands could do to be more inclusive and what the impact of greater representation across the fashion industry would be.
Questions from the audience focused on why high street brands were yet to move towards more inclusive fashion and when there would be an increase in accessible menswear. It was also great to hear from two representatives from Scope, who mentioned a fashion show they were planning to highlight the importance of inclusive clothing.
Naidex45: a great success
Overall, Naidex was a fantastic event. What struck us the most was the sheer number of innovative, caring, solutions-focused companies and individuals in attendance. We would love to attend next year, especially with the growing movement towards a more inclusive fashion industry that allows everybody to express themselves through what they wear.
Kintsugi has a 25% discount on all products until 31st March with code 'NAIDEX45'. Place your order now at www.kintsugiclothing.com