Top Drawer A/W 2016: The Debrief

by Alice Gallop


Last week Toucan headed over to Olympia for London’s A/W Top Drawer Trade show. As the UK’s leading international design-led event for innovative retailers and independent businesses, you can imagine Top Drawer was well up our street. The event covered everything from gifts and stationary to home accessories and soft furnishing, and gave us the opportunity to get a feel for the coming trends (and later rack up an enormous wish list on ASOS).

We were most excited about the SPOTTED section, which is reserved exclusively for rising design stars and small companies that can’t afford to break into the competitive trade fair market. At Toucan, we are committed to supporting thriving new talent and therefore loved that these exciting businesses were given the opportunity to introduce their work to an international audience.

We have picked a handful of our favourite stalls from the show, which we feel added a spark of creativity and innovation.

Tea and Tequila Trading

The Tea and Tequila Trading stall’s wonderfully whimsical accessories were an explosion of colour. University friends, Sarah and Millie source skilled artisans across Mexico with whom they design and create their Mexican inspired, London infused accessories and jewellery. We were like kids in a sweet shop.

Stand 4 Socks

Socks you can be proud of — and not just for their eccentric design — but for their life changing capacity (yes, really). Each pair of socks represents a different charity donating different tangible aids, helping to tackle some of the largest social issues in the world today. At just 25, CEO Josh is doing the unthinkable- changing the world one sock at a time. We approve.

Born Lucky

Born lucky creates child’s wall art inspired by Japanese techniques and Scandinavian minimalist design. With its baby sushi and adorable moon faces, we challenge you to find anything so cute.

Katie Mullally Jewellery

Last but certainly not least, Katie Mullally Jewellery. Winner of “Best New Product for Fashion” at her first Top Drawer show, Katie’s beautiful collection of quintessentially British, hallmarked and heirloom collectable charms were impossible to ignore (and largely responsible for our hefty ASOS wish list). Katie designs the pieces from her home in Tunbridge Wells and are loved by the likes of Ellie Goulding, Fearne Cotton, Calum Best and Vogue Williams. The exceptional quality and simple design renders them timeless classics in your jewellery collection.

We were lucky enough to get a few words from Katie about her thoughts on Top Drawer: “The show was brilliant in so many ways, stockists get to see all your new products, you obviously meet lots of potential new stockists but also, perhaps more importantly you meet with your current stockists you’re working with’.

“It’s the perfect show if you are starting out, but also ideal for established brands. They have great stockists attending the show from small boutiques to the large high street and online retailers not just within the UK but international buyers also. Additionally, you have the opportunity to meet other designers, and it’s a great networking opportunity. Business is built on relationships, and as a start up business I think it’s always good to go to as many events and shows as possible. It is amazing how many interesting and helpful people you meet.”

If you missed Top Drawer do not fear, other trade shows offer similar opportunities for emerging businesses throughout the year, such as ‘Launchpad’ at Pulse, and ‘Springboard’ at PG Live. They are brilliant ways to showcase your work and a whoooole lot cheaper than regular stands. Also, keep an eye on the Top Drawer twitter as they announce opportunities to participate in the next edition in January.