Visitor levels at Brand Licensing Europe hit an all-time high this year, with a three per cent increase in traffic.
More than 8,050 licensing professionals visited the show and the number of exhibiting companies also grew from 264 to 268.The numbers bode well for the show's future, located for the first time this year at London’s ExCel.
Next year, BLE returns to the venue with a show-wide theme of fashion, as reported by LTW.MEDIA last week.
Ambitious early stage plans include a live catwalk, with dramatic themed shows beamed onto every digital screen throughout the venue.
“BLE has become infamous for its themes and we are so excited about next year’s, we’ve been planning it for months. What I love about fashion in licensing is how inclusive it is. It’s accessible to every BLE exhibitor and its appeal is universal: it’s relevant to every demographic and is gender, race, age and generation neutral,” says Anna Knight VP of Licensing at show organiser Informa Markets.
Anna says that while toys have for years been the gateway products for brands, apparel is “now helping to drive experiences and build brands, especially for categories like eSports, which have an older, hardcore, merch-driven fanbase”.
“At BLE 2020, we will be exploring fast fashion, haute couture collabs, sustainability, the economy and more,” she adds. “One of the reasons we moved BLE to ExCeL was the potential it offered to create a more experiential show. We proved that this year with our activations and Fresh off the Runway showcase. But, next year, our fashion theme will really highlight what ExCeL can offer BLE and our exhibitors and visitors.”
This year’s activations were widely hailed as a success, bringing to life some of the industry’s biggest and most important up-and-coming categories. They included Beyond the Book (publishing), Arcade (gaming and esports) and Heritage X Interiors.
“They were a huge hit with visitors: interactive, inspirational, bold and beautiful, a real testament to the impact creative, successful licensing programmes can have at retail,” Anna says.