Jewelry designers Rebecca Overmann, known for her hand-carved pieces, and Lauren Wolf, best known for her store Esqueleto and her namesake label, believe small is beautiful when it comes to trade shows.
Friends for many years, Overmann and Wolf met at various trade shows in New York and Las Vegas. “Over the years we felt the size of the show at NY Now was just too impersonal and that the ‘jewelry’ category was oversaturated and poorly curated. It was difficult, as both a buyer and a designer, to find what you were looking for at NY Now,” Wolf said. To wit: Last year they founded their own gathering, Melee the Show.
“We had a great attendance at our first show in August 2017. I think we are all surprised, especially Rebecca and I, that anyone showed up. Joking aside, we knew it was risky jumping ship from such a big trade show, so we were unsure if we’d be able to get the buyers we wanted to walk both our show and the NY Now show,” Wolf said. “In the end, everyone showed up and said how wonderful the show was.”
The August 2017 iteration had 16 designers exhibiting and this year the number is up to 21 at the latest edition at the High Line Hotel here. Familiar names in this year’s show include Tkahres Jewelry, Tap by Todd Pownell, Wwake, Amáli, Melissa Joy Manning and Emanuela Duca.
When planning out how to curate the show, Overmann and Wolf aimed for “established designers who have strong relationships with their accounts and also represent a breadth of aesthetics and techniques.”
“The mood is refreshing — run by like-minded women — it feels a lot more personal than a larger trade show and I think this intimacy is a key interest for both designers and buyers alike,” said Wing Yau of Wwake, a New York-based jewelry designer and 2015 finalist of the CFDA x Lexus Fashion Initiative. “I think this is a great show for small-run and one-of-a-kind pieces, like bridal rings, or special colorways. Pieces that are special, but need to be seen in person, in such an intimate setting.”
“There is no shortage of interest from designers, but we’re wary of creating too much overlap between designers and losing what makes Melee a special experience,” Overmann said.
She noted, “We do have plans to expand the show to accommodate more vendors.”
Melee the Show runs in New York from Feb. 2 to 4.