License Global: Tell us about the BLE Sustainability Activation in partnership with Products of Change.
Anna Knight: Sustainability is a huge, life-changing issue that countries, companies or consumers can't ignore. At BLE, we feel we have an important role to play in inspiring brands, manufacturers and retailers when it comes to understanding and making positive changes for the planet.
The activation is a huge area that's front and center of the show floor, focused around six key zones that showcase innovation in retail, fashion, materials, and product and highlight what brands are doing to drive social change. It's massively interactive and inspirational. We also have drop-in 121 Sustainability Clinics where visitors can get free advice from the experts at Products of Change to help them no matter where they are along their sustainability journey.
As well as Products of Change, we're working with some great partners, including Asda, The Eden Project and Teemill. We're also hoping to raise money for industry charity The Light Fund with a licensed fashion swap.
This isn't the first time you've partnered with PoC founder Helena Mansell-Stopher.
No, it's not. We've consulted with Helena in the past about sustainability content for BLE and Festival of Licensing, and she programmed an entire day of sessions at the launch of BLIS Europe (Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit) in June. When I was interviewed, I talked about how I hoped the licensing industry was ready to make a genuine commitment to change. There's no question that commitment is there, and we are now seeing brands, manufacturers and retailers taking purpose-driven, authentic action to instigate that change.
For example, the work Jade Snart and her team are doing at Asda across the George fashion range is phenomenal. They now design collections using 3D technology to eliminate fabric samples, and they have a 100% sustainably sourced school uniform range.
Brand Licensing Europe is back – in person – in November. You must be operating at full throttle.
Absolutely. It's all hands on deck and it's all coming together nicely. We currently have more than 130 companies signed up to exhibit from all categories across licensing - Character & Entertainment, Brands & Lifestyle and Art, Design & Image. We also have great representation from Europe and the U.K., and some fantastic brands from the world of sport, including NBA, Tour de France & Paris Dakar, Olympique De Marseilles, EUFA Club Competitions, Dorna Sports, Manchester City FC and FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano.
Visitor registration has recently opened and we're seeing registrations from across the U.K., Europe and the U.S., including Asda, Bandai U.K., Bioworld, Character.com, CIJEP, Claire's Accessories, Clementoni, Egmont, Funko, Grani & Partners, Hallmark, Hornby Hobbies, Kinnerton Confectionery, Marks & Spencer, Nutmeg Morrisons, Panini France & Italy, PEZ, Royal Mail, Rubies, Sainsbury's, Stradivarius, The Entertainer and Vue International. More to follow soon.
We can't wait to get back on site now, and network with people face to face again.