By  on December 6, 2006

LOS ANGELES — Happy to escape sweltering heat or freezing temperatures in their home cities, buyers are drawn to Los Angeles markets and trade shows by the mild climate and relaxed shopping atmosphere, but organizers and vendors are working to keep them coming back for fresh resources.

For most organizers that means tinkering with existing formats — growing

vendor presence in underserved categories and adjusting dates, for example — rather than completely overhauling shows.

Barbara Kramer, co-producer of Designers & Agents, the contemporary apparel and lifestyle show that inhabits the New Mart and Cooper Design Space five times a year, said upcoming editions will be "business as usual." She and partner Ed Mandelbaum are building on recent additions to D&A, including expansions of home design and men's or unisex components.

"Our show was always considered a women's show, yet we had a strong audience in the unisex realm," said Kramer. "We made a real widespread outreach to all of our brands and said anyone who really has a men's side or unisex side, feel free to include it in any show."

Kramer estimated that a quarter of the roughly 465 vendors at the Los Angeles show are offering men's or unisex items in January. Earnest Sewn, Camper, Masons, Hollywood Trading and Monarchy are among the brands that bridge the gender gap.

Home design has played a large role in D&A's June show, which runs June 8 to 11 next year, but Kramer said the lifestyle entrant has spread to other D&A shows throughout the year with smaller presentations. Among the brands in this category are Denise Schmidt, Bob's Your Uncle, French Bull, La Compagnie de Provence, Tepper Jackson, Assouline, Simpatico Candles, Soolip and Apothia.

"We started out with just the idea of adding something extra," Kramer said, noting she initially included home design in the June show to give retailers more holiday options. "It has done quite well. It expands a little bit every show." In addition to the June show, D&A is scheduled next year for Jan. 12 to 15, March 23 to 26, Aug. 10 to 13 and Oct. 26 to 29.

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