By and  on December 11, 2013

NEW YORK — The trade show circuit is going digital with a high-speed connection.

Several producers of the New York shows are pushing into the digital sphere by adding new apps or updating existing ones in the first half of 2014. The strategy is aimed at enhancing the show experience for exhibitors and attending buyers at a time when the sluggish economy continues to impact the overall outlook.

“The trend to shop closer to season continues, so the buyers require fresh product at competitive prices,” said Joanne Mohr, executive vice president of ENK International, which produces Accessorie Circuit, Coterie, Intermezzo and Children’s Club. “The challenge remains — the best way to drive consumer spending is offering great products at great prices.”

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For the first half, ENK will introduce the Shop the Floor digital platform, which, Mohr noted, “provides ENK brands and retailers a year-round buying connection.”

“Qualified buyers may login to STF to view and/or purchase collections throughout the year,” she said. “Current exhibitors may update their online ‘line sheets’ as often as they wish, providing clients with up-to-date information. At show site, STF is a digital ordering solution and a vehicle for buyers to search for products by name or category, making their shopping experience more efficient.”

Britton Jones, president and chief executive officer of BJI Fashion Group, which produces such shows as Fame, Moda and AccessoriesTheShow, said, “Our mood is very good. All of our shows are in good places and we feel we are staying true to our mission and fulfilling the needs of the industry. The general economic conditions are challenging. Most retailers are finding their customers are being cautious and very value-conscious, so we are working hard to make sure we are providing retailers with products, lines and brands they won’t find anywhere else. Our goal as always is to have 10 percent of the show new each season.”

Next year, Business Journals is relaunching a mobile app called My Market. “It allows buyers to keep this app on their phones and they can search by seasons,” explained Sharon Enright, BJI Fashion Group’s vice president, Tradeshow Division. The app will constantly be updated and users won’t have to download a new one each season.

With other shows, new or strengthened features contribute to the positive outlook.

“Based on our experience at the most recent show, which had an uptick in attendance, we feel that 2014 will continue to have a positive upswing,” said Ed Mandelbaum, who produces Designers & Agents with Barbara Kramer. “D&A will continue its long-standing commitment to sustainable, ethical and fair trade design practices with its Green Market and Green Leaf programs.”

There has also been an effort to up international resources at the show.

“D&A continues to present the strongest selection of both emerging and established brands,” Mandelbaum noted. “In particular, buyers will see an increase in both Asian and European brands.”

Other shows are equally taking a more global perspective.

BJI’s Moda in February will mark the debut of a Montreal Collections showcase including such established brands as Arctic North and Nino Gaspari. AccessoriesTheShow that month will host ABIACAV, a Brazilian government-sponsored association for the leather industry with brands like By Filip, Goldman, Drizza, Bennemann and Seaport on show.

Edina Sultanik Silver, co-owner of Capsule, said 2014 will mark the launch of Capsule’s “very first consumer facing shopping event this season — the Capsule Market Square. We’ve invited close to 100 designers to join us at this holiday pop-up shop, Dec. 13 to 15, at 82 Mercer Street in SoHo. These designers will be selling a combination of current merchandise, sale items, one-of-a-kinds. We’ve told them to bring it all.”

On the online front, Capsule is turning its printed guidebook into a digital, interactive version designed by New York’s digital group Tidal.

Among the other New York shows this first half are Nouveau Collective in a space at 508 West 37th Street Jan. 5 to 7; Project NY and Project Sole, which both focus on men’s wear, at Pier 94 Jan. 21 to 23, and Atelier Designers, which takes place at the Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square Feb. 22 to 24.

The major textile and sourcing fairs come to town next month in the midst of ongoing changes in global sourcing and fabric innovation.

Première Vision New York and Indigo New York return to the Metropolitan Pavilion & Altman Building at 125-135 West 18th Street on Jan. 14 and 15. PV will once again feature some of the top European mills showing their spring fabric collections on the main floor of the venue, while Indigo, a creative textile and surface design show featuring some of the most renowned international studios, will take over the second, fourth and fifth floors of the Metropolitan Pavilion. PV will feature its well-attended trend seminars run by Sabine le Chatelier, its deputy fashion director.

Texworld USA and the co-located Apparel Sourcing Show will set up shop at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on 11th Avenue on Jan. 21 to 23 with some fresh elements added to the largest apparel fabrics and sourcing show in North America.

Texworld has partnered with Manufacture NY, a fashion incubator for emerging designers, to allow attendees and designers the opportunity to source fabrics and speak with Manufacture NY about their products and services. Texworld will identify exhibitors on the show floor that are able to produce smaller minimums along with eco-friendly textiles in order to meet the needs of the buyers. In addition, Texworld is following the digital trend and has partnered with Tradegood, a B2B global sourcing community that connects responsible buyers and trusted suppliers. Texworld will offer the service to buyers and exhibitors prior to the show during the pre-registration process online and Tradegood will provide match-making support onsite on the show floor.

Texworld will also once again team with Lenzing Innovation for a diverse seminar series, with topics ranging from sourcing and fabric trends and innovations to sustainability and a focus on small business.

The denim-centric Kingpins New York show has a new venue for its next edition taking place on Jan. 21 and 22. It’s moving to The Tunnel at 269 11th Avenue from its former location down the road at Center 548.

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