By  on June 25, 2008

Moda Manhattan is forging its identity as a maverick.

More than eight months before the first fall 2009 market, Moda has set its dates for March 1 to 3 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

The decision by Business Journals Inc., which owns Moda, follows the show's March dates last spring, which ran separately from Coterie and the traditional trade show schedule.

After ENK International moved Coterie to Feb. 10 to 12, pressing against Project Las Vegas, smaller trade shows were faced with the decision to either move up to squeeze between New York Fashion Week and Coterie — as Designers & Agents, Train and Platform 2 did — or break off to run later, which was Moda's choice.

Long before any other New York show has announced its dates, Moda is committing to March. Britton Jones, president and chief executive officer of Business Journals, said he based his "carefully considered decision" on retailer feedback from last season's show. Next March, Moda will be joined by a pavilion of AccessoriesTheShow and possibly of FAME, both of which are owned by Business Journals.

"We got very positive feedback from retailers, who feel more comfortable buying closer and closer to market," Jones said. "Last year the other shows ran so early in February, it didn't give the retailer time to sort out their fall buying from their spring buying."

This is also about getting the word out early. Buyers, exhibitors and trade show managers have complained about the last-minute nature of New York's trade show calendar. Going forward, Business Journal plans to announce its dates a year out.

"Our industry deserves better than two months notice of when a show will be held," Jones said. "We're getting more and more calls from retailers wanting to know what our dates are so they can plan ahead and make their travel plans as

economically as possible. Plus, it's hard to promote your show internationally when retailers ask what are your dates and you say, 'Well, I don't know.'"

Jones hopes that by taking the lead now, he will encourage other trade shows to join Moda in March. Last year, Nouveau Collective moved with Moda to the March dates. Coterie has traditionally been the largest show that serves as an anchor around which other shows base their schedules."This is about market unity, and we will talk to all of the other show producers and hope they will do it at the same time," Jones said. "Obviously, it would be a best case scenario if Coterie embraced these dates, but if they elect to run at a different time, we know that last March we doubled our attendance from the previous February market — and we only had two months to pull that show together. We think we can do an even better job with this amount of lead time."

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