SAN DIEGO — With the economic outlook not quite as sunny as the San Diego weather, the city's lifestyle trade shows are zeroing in on strategies for success despite brand exoduses and buyers' reluctance to shell out for costly road trips.
"Obviously, this is a challenging time," acknowledged ASR president Andy Tompkins, "but we haven't seen anything that indicates that the attendance won't be as strong as last year or even a little up."
If Tompkins' prediction holds up, ASR, the action sports industry's leading trade show, will draw at least 6,500 buyers and 700 brands to its spring-summer edition. This year, the show will take place from Sept. 4 to 6 at the San Diego Convention Center.
"September has been pretty steady, and it is typically our stronger show," said Tompkins, comparing the spring-summer event with the fall-winter one that will run from Jan. 22 to 24 next year. "Our preregistration is up aggressively over last year."
ASR, though, has been dealt a blow by the decision of longtime footwear exhibitors Podium, C1rca and Sole Tech to pull out. Tompkins pointed to the down economy and a drive to push production schedules earlier as reasons for their exits.
"They are looking to make some difficult financial decisions," he said. "That said, we do really have a good footwear mix at the show. We have over 60 companies promoting footwear product."
Aaron Levant, founder and president of the streetwear-driven trade show Agenda, asserted that the five-year-old event might benefit from brands departing ASR. "Initially, our show was built out of the success of their show; now I think we are competing more on an even playing field," he said.
Already, Levant detailed that Agenda has been able to attract major brands, including Nike, New Balance and Stüssy. At the same time, the show is attempting to keep a healthy dose of emerging brands and beef up the presence of women's labels, which constitute roughly 20 percent of the attending brands.
Overall, Levant reported that Agenda caps the number of brands at 100 to 120, and typically lures 1,800 to 2,300 buyers per show. "Every major chain store that carries relevant product seems to be ending up on our floor," he said.At ASR, categorical bright spots are swim and women's contemporary apparel.
"ASR has really become one of the West Coast centers of swim and attracts that specialty [swim] buyer on the West Coast," said Tompkins, who estimated that 100 swimwear brands display their wares at ASR. "You are going to see increasingly more swim brands."
In terms of retailers, the international, swim and boutique segments have been strong for ASR. The ailing dollar has led to the international contingent accounting for about 10 to 15 percent of ASR's total buyer count. "It is about as affordable for many countries around the world to come to the U.S. as it has ever been."
Regardless of where they come from, Tompkins and Levant stressed that proven brands are valuable resources to buyers in the midst of an economic slide. "They are not looking for as much new stuff," said Levant. "There is not as much margin for error, so there is not as much chance being given to new brands."
Throughout the years, retail consolidation has also led to a smaller core group of buyers overall, even though Tompkins suggested that higher-volume purchases often occur. The shrinking buying teams have made it that much more crucial to ensure that key buyers are present and satisfied with the brand lineup.
ASR collaborates with the city to negotiate low hotel rates and offers affordable transportation options to cut buyers' expenses. Agenda has been working on deals with JetBlue and is planning to pay for the airplane tickets for about 20 to 50 important buyers, up from 10 to 20 in previous seasons.
"The main overall theme here is that we are continuing to do well in this market when everyone else is reporting horrible outcomes," said Levant.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews