On The Agenda: Sustainability, Diversity and Brand Purpose

Brand Licensing Europe will spotlight new and diverse brands and voices to drive meaningful change.

Ian Hart, Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA

September 7, 2022

5 Min Read
PUMA x Coca-Cola.
PUMA x Coca-Cola.PUMA

At a Glance

  • Hear how Brand Licensing Europe is focusing on sustainability and diversity at the 2022 show.
  • Learn about the Culture and Unity Catwalk from Saphia Maxamed, founder, Black Lives Matters Movement.
  • Read about BLE's additional offerings for education and relaxation that highlight these important social causes.

This year’s Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) will focus on sustainability, diversity and brand purpose, highlighting new and diverse brands and voices in order to drive meaningful change. Keynotes include one from Richard Dickson, president, chief operating officer, Mattel, who will present “Barbie x Fashion,” on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, the second day of the event is also shaping up as a must see, with the keynote, “Leaders Panel: Building a Post-Pandemic Retail & Licensing Strategy,” moderated by License Global with speakers from Hasbro, Liberty and MDR Brand Management.

BLE will present a sustainability case study, “Peppa Pig Goes Green: How Muddy Puddles Can Inspire Cleaner Seas,” with Cat O’Brien, director, retail development, Europe and Asia, Hasbro, and Helena Mansell-Stopher, founder, chief operating officer, Products of Change. It will be held on Thursday, Sept. 22.

The three-day event will wrap up with the keynote, “The Good Fight: How Purpose Breeds Success” on Sept. 22 with The Point.1888, Paramount Global, The Smiley Company, English Heritage and Products of Change.

Culture and Unity Catwalk

Black Lives Matter T-Shirt.

On Sept. 22, the Culture and Unity catwalk spotlights Black Lives Matter Movement fashion collections and Black-owned businesses looking to break into licensing.

“The show is curated with Black diversity, equality and inclusion in mind,” says Saphia Maxamed, founder, Black Lives Matters Movement. “Our models are a mix of high-fashion models and Black British music artists. This catwalk show will also showcase black and LGBTQ+ designers who are showing at London Fashion Week in the same week, therefore some of the pieces will be dropping fresh off the prestigious London Fashion Week backdrop. We also have Black African culture troops who have a Royal family seal of approval, they often perform for the Queen. For the first time, the industry will be introduced to an effective way of delivering a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy correctly that is authentic and not a tick box exercise or a number’s game.”

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“Through partnerships with Products of Change, Licensing International, Black Lives Matter Licensing as well as Junk Kouture and many more brands, all aspects of the program will aim to educate, inspire and invite action within the brand licensing community,” says Anna Knight, senior vice president, licensing, Informa Markets.

Wellness and Relaxation

Other highlights include the BLE and PoC Sustainability Café, which will recycle materials from last year’s sustainability activation and showcase sustainable consumer products and fashion lines from 12 brands, including Primark, Eden, Wastebuster, Smiley, Wow! Stuff x RSPB, Hasbro x Asda, Smurfs x Pure Top Table and Discovery.

In the Products of Change Lounge, PoC ambassadors will run sustainability clinics (available to all attendees) and member meetups. Visitors and exhibitors will also be encouraged to take a break in the Wellness Lounge, a dedicated quiet zone on the show floor for relaxation and solo work containing power, water stations (with eco cups) and plants.

Talk from the BLE Fashion Catwalk

Hot Wheels apparel.

Among those ready to strut down the BLE catwalk are Wildbrain and “Teletubbies,” Boat Rocker Studios and “The Next Step,” “Cry Babies Magic Tears,” 9 Story Entertainment’s “Karma’s World” plus The Harlem Globetrotters and IMC Toys.

“The fabulous foursome will be modeling a colorful collaboration secured as part of the brand’s 25th anniversary activity with Italian sports and lifestyle brand, ellesse, and festival and streetwear clothing brand, GoGuy,” says Melissa Goodrich, director, brand management, Wildbrain. “The limited-edition ‘Teletubbies’ adult fashion collection launched earlier this year to celebrate Pride encompasses colorful trend stories, reflective of each character, and a hero sticker print.”

“To celebrate the ongoing partnership between Boat Rocker Studios’ ‘The Next Step’ and Pineapple Studios, we plan to use this catwalk to showcase the collaboration that will include dancing and everyone’s favorite girl power anthem,” says Shannon Honer, licensing manager, Boat Rocker Media. “There will be six looks going down the catwalk and accessories will be provided by our licensee, Brands Group.”

“With its proprietary technologies and consumables for sustainable, on-demand digital direct-to-garment and direct-to-fabric production, Kornit Digital is pioneering a fast, agile, cost-effective mechanism for empowering fashion designers and their fulfillers to create without limitation of color or graphic detail, free of minimum quantities, using a wide range of fabrics,” says Robert Zoch, global content manager, Kornit Digital.

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On the kids-themed catwalk, “Cry Babies,” Magic Tears will explore their imaginative world where tears are magical and carry special powers, by showcasing a new range of backpacks and bags from accessories partner, R.J Bags.

“Retail Monster is working on behalf of IMC on licensing, retail sales and marketing for the U.K.,” says Cristina Camprubi, licensing director, IMC Toys. “Working closely with apparel partner, Poetic Brands, on daywear and nightwear, we have a beautiful range of clothing in pastel colors and cute slogans featuring key characters from the show.”

9 Story and Karma’s World Entertainment, along with U.K. licensing agent and marketing partner, Retail Monster, are launching an exciting merchandise program for the brand, targeting kids 6-10 and based on the series’ key pillars of music, dance and fashion.

“There are more than 50 licensees on board including global partnerships with Mattel, Scholastic and Universal Music,” says Jennifer Ansley, senior vice president, marketing and communications, 9 Story Media Group.

“‘Karma’s World’ offers streetwear-inspired daywear from Poetic Brands, nightwear and accessories from Cooneen and footwear from Brand International. The BLE catwalk will be showcasing the range exclusively for George at Asda that launched in August with a U.K.-wide interactive ‘Karma’s World’ Beat Bus marketing tour at nine Asda stores.”

To learn more about Brand Licensing Europe, or to register, visit Brandlicensing.eu.

About the Author(s)

Ian Hart

Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA, License Global

Ian joined the License Global editorial team in May 2022 as digital editor for the U.K. and EMEA, becoming Senior Digital Editor in April 2023.

Ian is a huge fan of sports and entertainment brands and, as a father, toys and kids' brands are a large part of his life!

He has been at Informa (formerly UBM) since 2018, where he was previously the editor of SHP, a B2B digital publication aimed at health & safety professionals.

Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in B2B trade print media, in the automotive sector, working on various publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

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