It’s jeans, jeans and more jeans at StyleMax’s newest section.
This story first appeared in the October 9, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Retailers will encounter a bigger and better StyleMax, which runs Oct. 19-22 at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The largest women’s clothing market in the Midwest will feature a new denim section, with lines like Buffalo, Silver, Echo Red, Frankie B, Guess, Girbaud, Parasuco and Z. Cavaricci, along with a new section of contemporary dresses featuring fashions from Mica and Sue Wong. In addition, footwear fanatics will be happy to learn a new footwear section will be added with styles from Zoom, Smile and Elle. Lastly, expect to find more bridge offerings such as DKNY City.
“This show continues to grow for us,” said Susan McCullough, vice president of apparel for the Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. “We’re really looking to expand our categories.”
Retailers are responding. McCullough reports that more than 100 new stores have registered for October’s StyleMax.
“We’re suited more for specialty stores,” she said, adding, “We’re trying to be more responsive to them. A store should see more lines here than probably almost anywhere other than New York.”
The market features 100,000 square feet of exhibitors, showing 3,000 to 5,000 different labels.
Fashions are organized on the 8th floor of the Merchandise Mart around price point, lifestyle and attitude, McCullough explained. Accessories are grouped together and some fashions are presented by category, but definitions of categories vary.
“Everyone thinks they’re contemporary,” she said.
Bridge, for example, is mostly grouped together.
“But competitors don’t always want to be by each other,” she said. “They want to be in the same area but not always next door.”
McCullough said the show is designed to be convenient and enjoyable.
Breakfast and lunch are complimentary and a shuttle to and from the Merchandise Mart is available, McCullough said.
In addition, StyleMax includes a premiere party at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on the showroom floor, “The STYLEmakers” fashion show of contemporary fashions, lingerie and accessories at 8:30 a.m. in the Merchandise Mart’s south lobby and “The Collections” fashion show of women’s better, bridge and designer lines at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, also in the south lobby.
“We try to listen to what people want,” McCullough said. “We do a survey after every show.”
Surprisingly, many survey respondents request lines that are present at StyleMax.
“It’s gotten so big,” McCullough said of StyleMax, “buyers may not take the time to see the whole show.”