NEW YORK — A new trade show targeting designer, contemporary and premium denim brands and buyers is slated to debut in Los Angeles next spring. Called Class, the dual-gender show will be staged at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium—once home to the Academy Awards—from March 1–3.
Class is being organized by Jason Bates, owner of the L.A.-based showroom Derelicte, and Keith Cokes, a sales veteran of Ted Baker. The duo also have two unnamed, silent partners who are providing financial backing for the venture.
“We think there is a demand for a well-orchestrated trade show in Los Angeles, with the right level of sophistication for designer brands and trendy streetwear labels,” said Bates. “There hasn’t been a trade show like this in L.A. since MAGIC left years ago. Going to Las Vegas is a huge expense for a lot of people, so we want to create something local—right here in Santa Monica, which is the birthplace of the surging contemporary designer fashion movement.”
The Class debut comes as the West Coast Exclusive, also staged in L.A., is in flux, following its purchase by Business Journals Inc. That company has not decided whether or not to continue with the L.A. edition or focus its resources on the much larger Exclusive show in Las Vegas, according to Larry Hymes, sales director for both shows.
Bates is aiming for 200 to 300 brands for Class, and he pledges to never go over that number. “We want to curate a high-end show with integrity,” he explained, rattling off a list of vendors that have expressed at least preliminary interest in participating in the first show. These include John Varvatos, Corpus, Bureau, Generra, Fred Perry, Ever, Original Penguin, William Rast, Hudson Clothing, Avalon Group, Namaste Showroom, Atlas Group and MK Sportswear.
Building a successful trade show from scratch is a tall order, but Bates and Cokes have extensive contacts in the industry. Also, Bates already runs a small existing trade show, called Coconuts and Bananas, in Honolulu that targets Hawaiian retailers. That show, which debuted in 2004, will next be held Nov. 15–16, with about 30 brands, including Triple Five Soul, WeSC, Fred Perry, Goorin headwear and Ambiguous Clothing.
Prior to opening Derelicte—which reps Bread Denim, Orthodox, WeSC, Initium Eyewear, J. Fold wallets, Revolve T-shirts, and True Love and False Idols—Bates worked for a party planning and event production company that organized movie premieres for blockbusters like The English Patient. “Event planning is in my blood,” he noted.
An eight-by-10-foot booth at Class will cost $4,000 for the first show next spring, and Bates expects to raise prices by $500 each successive season.
In order to help drum up buyers for the debut, Class will cover the travel expenses of 100 top retailers—who will be chosen in consultation with the show’s vendors.
While Class is likely to attract a fair number of California brands, Bates and Cokes are aiming to make the show as international in scope as possible, and are flying to Scandinavia, Brazil, Japan and Australia to personally recruit participants.
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)
Discovery is collaborating with British pop artist @philipcolbert on a new line of clothing and accessories called Discovery Shark. The collection, which will launch next summer for Shark Week’s 30th anniversary, features a whimsical line of women’s and men’s bomber jackets, sweatshirts, bags and more. #wwdfashion
“I’m always a big champion of a female rapper, and I’m glad to see a new voice that feels unique and authentic that’s coming up, and I think we’re going to see more great things from her,” said @itsjeremyscott about @iamcardib, who performed at @moschino’s Art Basel Miami Beach party last night. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@janellemonae’s “What’s Your Frequency?” room in @refinery29's #29Rooms made its debut this week at the opening of the Los Angeles art exhibit. “It’s about the ongoing conversation around mass surveillance, the weaponization of technology and cultural uniformity. My space was created so that we can come together and talk about the complexities of our humanity,” said Monáe. #wwdeye (📷: @bucknerphoto)
@pantone announced their Color of the Year 2018: Ultra Violet. Nearly 20 months after the musician Prince’s death, fashion is having a purple moment. Varying shades of purple appeared on spring or fall runways, from @christopherkane to @calvinklein. @gucci’s Alessandro Michele bathed his fall runway in ultra violet-colored light at one point. Pantone 18-3838 is meant to “push the boundaries of what inspires us to look upward and outward to the future.” #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)