By  on September 22, 2008

ATLANTA — Want to see the latest in premium denim without the hassle of Vegas? Then Trafik Tradeshow is the place to be, according to many of the retailers heading to South Beach this week.

James Costa, CEO of Carpe and Trafik, said he’s expecting about 350 exhibitors, the optimum number the show can handle, as well as a good buyer turnout. Saks Fifth Avenue, Selfridges and Nordstrom will be among the boutique, specialty and other high-end retailers in attendance. Trafik opens its three-day run at the Miami Beach Convention Center on Wednesday.

“We’re expecting our best show yet,” Costa said. “It’s getting the national attention we had hoped for. The retailer response we’ve had is greater and more positive than we’ve ever had. We’re getting retailers from all over. We’ll also have international attention from Japan.”

Indeed, Trafik has its fans. Retailers like it because they can find premium brands they don’t see at other shows and also because it’s a relaxing atmosphere. Farshad Arshid, owner of Standard in Atlanta, said, “They put on a great show. They always bring in vendors we don’t always see in New York or Vegas. They really go out of their way to bring in some of the smaller and newer lines that might not get the chance to show at Project.”

Lisa Kline, owner of Lisa Kline in Los Angeles, said she has picked up new lines there, including Laguna Beach Denim, Don’t Tread On Me, Wet Cement and Evil. “It’s a very good networking show for me, and it’s relaxing—not stressful,” she said. “It’s a boutique type of show and gives me more time to connect with the vendors. You know you’ll get everything you need because it’s not as crowded [as the Vegas and New York shows].”

Arshid added that he goes to trade shows to look for new lines. “With Trafik, you hit the jackpot more, I think.”

Events at Trafik include a display of pop art throughout the show floor and the Trafik Jam party on the second night of the show at Trafik’s host hotel, Gansevoort South.

After a traffic jam of shows this past February with Trafik, Coterie and the Las Vegas shows all held around the same time, Trafik decided to move its date to be the last one on the calendar. “Everyone suffered for that,” Costa said. “Now, this is the last opportunity for a big show, so people can look at what’s going on at Vegas and then finish up at Trafik,” Costa said. “People are holding on to [open-to-buy] dollars longer and making decisions later, so they’re happy to have another chance to buy product.” He added that Trafik is more convenient for East Coast buyers than MAGIC, which tends to attract more West Coast buyers.

Buyers also have praise for Costa and his staff. “They’re motivated and they take care of the buyers,” Kline said. “They make the buyer feel special.”

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