Sharpen your pencils, pack your bag and get ready for the biggest event in the schoolwear industry calendar

The Schoolwear Show returns this month, and it’s set to be bigger and better than ever. As well as giving visitors the chance to catch up with familiar faces and existing contacts, it’s also a great opportunity to source new suppliers, see the latest product innovations and plan ahead for your back-to-school campaign.

“We have over 50 exhibitors this year,” says event spokesperson Max Bevis. “Attendees can expect to see the latest product and service offerings from the biggest names in the schoolwear industry, including Banner and Trutex, as well as leading distributors PenCarrie, and embroidery brands Amaya and Madeira.” Other exhibitors include Russell, Chadwick Teamwear, David Luke, GForce, TheMagicTouch, Tie & Scarf Company, Rowlinson, William Turner and Winterbottom’s.

Following on from last year’s record-breaking show, there are plenty of new additions to look out for this year. “As well as a fresh new look, we have new exhibitors, show offers, lots of eco offerings and a new seminar programme,” says Max. Just like last year, the free seminars are designed to raise awareness and help businesses compete in a challenging market. “Look out for the School Association-sponsored seminar, Clear and Present Danger, in which a panel will discuss the implications of new government guidelines which affect everyone in the industry,” says Max.

Everyone who visits the show will receive a comprehensive show guide on arrival, which gives details of all the exhibitors, and visitors will be able to find out about new products and innovations, and pick up 2020 brochures and price lists. “It’s a great opportunity to network with likeminded businesses and discuss the latest trends, as well as common issues such as Brexit, with suppliers,” says Max.

The Schoolwear Show takes place at Cranmore Park Conference & Event Centre in Solihull from 13-15 October 2019. Founded by the directors of William Turner, David Luke, Rowlinson, Gymphlex and Banner, the show is free to enter for those who register online, and includes a complimentary lunch and refreshments, along with free parking. Those who don’t register online will be charged a £10 entry fee.

With more than 50 exhibitors this year, there’s plenty to see at The Schoolwear Show, including several new brands and lots of new styles

Chadwick Teamwear now offers 10 stock colour combinations to complement any school’s identity. The unbranded iGen games kit includes a female-fit polo and skort, and a unisex polo and games-style short. iGen has been designed, tested and manufactured using premium-quality 180gsm, ultra soft microdot polyester fabric. The traditional cut has been enhanced with subtle, modern design features.

Family-owned business the Tie & Scarf Company will also be showing its range of school ties and scarfs. The company reports that its ties can be seen in independent school and sports retail shops, along with embroidery and printing companies.

Amaya is showcasing the Melco EMT16 modular embroidery machine at this year’s show. “If you’re looking to increase your production on short and long runs, talk to one of our advisers about how the Melco modular system can help,” says managing director, Peter Wright. For a low-investment, full-colour printing solution, visitors can also discover the range of Forever transfer papers, for applying on garments, metal, plastic and wood. Amaya will also be showing Sef garment vinyl – a low-cost garment film and vinyl that’s suitable for heat transfer. This eco-friendly product is very easy to weed, durable and cost effective, and can be used in conjunction with a Graphtec cutter and Stahls’ heat press.

Sustainability is one of the biggest trends in schoolwear, and Banner will be showing its new Eco Tartan pleated skirt, which is made from 100% eco fabric. It’s available in three colour combinations – mixed multi, grey tonal and navy tonal – and coordinates perfectly with the three new colours offered in the brand’s Signature Jackets: bottle, maroon and royal. The best-selling Champion T is now available in 14 colours, including a new addition, classic navy; and a new primary house colour, emerald/white, has also been added to the Junior Training Tee in the Aptus Essentials entry level sportswear range. This is now available in six primary house colours, from ages 3/4 up to a 32” chest size.

Trutex is launching a new range of cultural uniform at this year’s show, following demand from schools and retailers. Matthew Easter, managing director of Trutex, says: “Our range of schoolwear has always been about inclusivity, in size and availability. We’ve seen an increasing demand for cultural garments, such as long-length skirts and full-arm polo shirts, so we’re happy to increase our offering to ensure we are able to accommodate these differing requirements.”

Winterbottom’s will be showing its boys’ shirt and girls’ blouse collections, which are produced using high-quality, low-maintenance, non-iron fabric. For 2020, the blouse collection increases to 14 options, with regular and slim fits in both long- and short-sleeve, button-to-neck or revere collar styles. All options are available in both white and sky. The shirt range continues to be stocked in regular and slim fits, with long and short sleeves in both white and sky.

Just as thoughts begin to turn to winter warmers, Rowlinson Knitwear will be on hand to show its full range of premium knitwear, including the Rowlinson Courtelle acrylic collection and the new eco blazers. V-neck pullovers and cardigans are both available in Rowlinson Courtelle, in plain colours plus eight striped designs, and crew necks and slipovers can also be made to order. The Performa Eco blazer will be available to order in girls’ and boys’ fit, in black, navy, bottle, maroon and royal. There’s also a Performa Eco jacket, which is a fitted, academy-style jacket for girls and boys in black or navy.

If you’re looking for garments that can be easily printed with school or college logos, Russell will be showing classic jackets, knitted items, T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts and jackets. The HD T 165 M/F/B is comfortable to wear thanks to the easy-care polyester mix and the slimfit means that it can be layered under the brand’s HD Hooded Sweat, while the Classic Polycotton Polo 539 M/F/B uses two-ply yarn for durability. These three items have a soft-touchfinish and excellent shape retention, which makes them the perfect choice for decorations and embroidery.

Visitors to the show can also expect to see a host of new printable products from show regulars, TheMagicTouch, all of which are perfect for schools, colleges and university students. The range now includes vacuum bottles, bags, wallets, phone cases, folders and notebooks, alongside leavers’ hoodies, mugs and caps. TheMagicTouch says it is a pioneer of the digital image transfer process and sublimation technology, and offers a wide range of MagiCut textile and garment vinyls (HTV). It continues to offer high quality, affordable solutions using the latest technology and equipment.

As part of its ongoing focus on sustainability and the environment, William Turner will be showing its made-to-order Eco Ties. These are made from fabric originating from a certified and fully-traceable yarn that’s produced from recycled plastic bottles. The ties are made in William Turner’s UK tie factories, further helping the environment by reducing carbon footprints and highlighting the company’s commitment to British manufacturing. With a wide range of eco yarn shades available, the bespoke ties can be made to any design or colour combinations, with or without a logo.

David Luke has led the way in sustainable schoolwear, and this year marks the 10th anniversary of its Eco-uniform range. To date, it has saved 27 million plastic bottles from reaching landfill, and has extended the range to include trousers, skirts and jumpers, as well as the original blazer. This year’s newest offerings are the Eco senior trousers, senior straight skirt and senior stitched down knife pleat skirt. When paired with the existing jacket, this means that schools can now offer affordable, and sustainable, eco suits. The three new products use polyester made from non-biodegradable plastic bottles, and are available in dark marl grey, with more colours to follow next year.

Coolflow Schoolwear is introducing Micro-Fresh Technology across its acrylic blend sweatshirts. This innovative treatment gives a long-lasting freshness and allows garments to be washed at 30°C, resulting in lower energy consumption and a reduced carbon footprint. Coolflow Schoolwear will now be distributing and manufacturing the Charles Kirk range of knitwear, sweatshirts and accessories, as well as the Russell and Result ranges. A full range of blazers, knitwear, sweatshirts and sportswear will be on show, including embroidery and heat transfer printing from their own in-house facilities.

This year, GForce Sportswear is introducing a new customisation service called GForce Signature. The range includes a choice of fully-customisable, self-branded school teamwear garments that can incorporate either the retailers’ or schools’ names and brands exclusively throughout, including the inner neck tape and neck labels, side seam labels and swing tags. The service, which is provided at no extra charge to retailers, enables schools to get their choice of kit with the unique addition of their own exclusive branding.

Madeira is making its debut at The Schoolwear Show in 2019, showing its range of high quality embroidery threads and consumables. These include timeless ranges, such as Classic viscose and Polyneon polyester, alongside innovative new products such as Reflect and HC (highly conductive) threads. Its comprehensive range of backings, needles, pens, frames, scissors and sprays will also be on show, and expert stawill be on hand to help with any queries.

Schoolwear Association Awards

Now in their third year, The Schoolwear Association Awards recognise the work and commitment of those in the schoolwear sector. This year, the awards event will take place on Sunday 13 October 2019 at The Village Hotel, Solihull, and will be part of the association’s annual fundraiser. Titled The Greatest Schoolwear Show, the awards evening will include a three-course dinner and live entertainment. Schoolwear. Awards categories include Best Schoolwear Specialist, Best Schoolwear Supplier, Best Digital Schoolwear, Best Community Partner, Outstanding Service to Schoolwear and Sustainability in Schoolwear. 

“The awards evening is an important date in the schoolwear industry calendar,” says David Burgess, chair of The Schoolwear Association.

“It really gives us all the opportunity to celebrate great work and achievements, awarding those that have excelled throughout the year.”

Tickets available from The Schoolwear Association.

Best Schoolwear Supplier 2018 winners, David Luke, receive the award from sponsors, Marton Mills