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Brand Licensing Europe

Brand Licensing Europe draws in a crowd at ExCeL London

In 2019, Brand Licensing Europe moved to ExCeL London with more brands vying for attention and the all-important licensing deals. While Characters and Entertainment were the lion’s share of exhibitors with everything from kiddie-favourite Paw Patrol to the upcoming Top Gun Maverick on offer, a small contingent of artists and agents mixed with the big boys to show off their wares.

After her win at last year’s License This! competition Sarah Burman of Sarah Burman Design was getting noticed with her delightful animal illustrations. Meanwhile more animals were evident at the Oddcats! stall with their unique internationally-named cats. At Claire Louise Creative Studio it is watercolour art at the centre of the card designs that go from the ever-popular shoes and accessories through to scenic landscapes and cute critters.

Sustainability was the overriding issue for all at the event, with seminars, new products and all manner of information available to help those in the industry to tackle the problem. It seems companies big and small are working on ideas to limit single use plastics, make goods recyclable or use recycled materials in the manufacture. Packaging is being reconsidered and the concepts of fast fashion and throwaway toys are not the priorities they once were.

The natural world remains a current trend with the colour palette of muted tones of pink, beige and brown reflected in gifts, clothing and stationery. Watercolours, naïve artwork as well animals of every shape and size will continue to feature but upcoming trends are more Japanese-inspired due to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Kawaii is brighter and looks to Japanese pop culture.

The winners of this year’s License This! competition – Carrot & Toast and My Little Opera – received their awards from Chair Kelvyn Gardner. Carrot & Toast were created by Drew Bristow and are two best friends that are polar opposites who feature in a series of mini comics aimed at younger readers. Rosie Brooks took inspiration from the world’s greatest operas and ballets for the characters in her illustrations for My Little Opera. Not just for opera lovers, she’s hoping to bring the characters to a modern audience. This year’s License This! winners will receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2020, one year’s Licensing International membership and PR support.

Brand Licensing Europe 2020 will be held at ExCeL London October 6-8, 2020.

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