BPD Expo, a pop-up denim trade show organized by BPD Washhouse and Washhouse Denim, cherry-picked a selection of 18 denim mills and manufacturers to exhibit at its biannual event in New York. The show was held at an intimate space in Soho on Jan. 24 to 25.
Described as the “antitrade show,” BPD Expo is designed for the time-crunched New Yorker. It does not exhibit in traditional trade show halls, offer panels, or any bells and whistles for that matter — rather, its no-frills approach is squarely focused on helping brands source quality denim in a decidedly casual environment. And, the show enlightens attendees on aspects of denim culture and offers a peek into how denim is dyed, via its Shibori demonstration — a Japanese dyeing technique — and its indigo dye display.
For BPD Expo, brevity is key. Its “speed denim” process, comparable to speed dating, enables attendees to swiftly sift through collections presented in each booth for five to 10 minutes by communicating their preference for an accelerated track via a hot pink rubber bracelet given at the door. Alternatively, its yellow bracelet sends the message that the customer is only interested in seeing the top 10 products, which is a preselected offering that promotes bestsellers, directional ideas and innovative fabrics for each company, according to BPD Expo organizers.
Bill Curtin, the founder of BPD Expo and owner of BPD Washhouse, told WWD, “My idea for BPD Expo came from reading an article on the demise of the Bread and Butter trade show in Europe. It originally strived to change the format of trade shows, but then unfortunately [ate] itself by turning into what it once disliked. The final quote of the article said, ‘Bread and Butter will be back, but we will be smaller, useful and boutique style.’ This is what BPD Expo is [all about], and the feedback has been wonderful because this is how our visitors describe the BPD Expo experience.”
BPD Expo organizers made a pointed effort to create a down-to-earth atmosphere at its shows after overhearing a denim novice tell a denim veteran that they “are a passenger” and “don’t try to pilot the 747,” when asking for advice. Suffice it to say, interactions at BPD Expo are personalized, one-on-one and natural. The show’s success in the B2B realm ignited the idea to create a separate entrance for B2C attendees interested in perusing its Vintage Mart, a selection of $200- to 400-plus vintage denim pieces. Success from that endeavor led to the development of a pop-up vintage retail store months later — the firm said it is planning to open a similar store in the spring.
Upcoming trends for spring 2019 presented a contrast of soft Tencel blends and dark, heavy washes that were realized across a number of collections, as well as a number of embroidered, personalized styles. Exhibitor Artistic Milliners, a denim manufacturer based in Turkey, noted that consumers are “obsessed” with Nineties denim aesthetics. To meet this demand, the company released its “90210” concept, which revives and updates beloved looks from the era with new indigo shades and the incorporation of stretch technologies: the idea is to hit a sweet spot of “timeworn vintage appeal.” The company also said wider-cut jeans are trending, as well as constructions that appear heavy but are actually soft and lightweight. And its colors for the season include “Matcha,” a range of green indigo hues that allow for fade and high contrast, the company said.
Brands that exhibited at BPD Expo include: Grandtex Denim, Dayao Textile, Hefine Denim, Indigo Textiles, LNJ Denim, Tejidos Royo, Kipas Denim, Artistic Milliners, Rajby Textiles, Raymond Uco Denim, Foshan Huafeng Textile, Tce Denim, Artisan Cloth w/ Kurabo Industries, Calik Denim, Tat Fung Textiles, Freedom Denim: Shandong Ruyi Group, Tuong Long Denim and DNM Textile.
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