It’s time to grow again.
Most apparel trade show producers feel the worst of the recession has passed, noting stores have adjusted inventory levels and need to stock up on merchandise now if they plan to stay in business. To help retailers along the way, organizers across New York are introducing many features this fall, from new venues to focused trend displays and areas that highlight emerging talent.
ENK International produces such shows as the Accessorie Circuit and Intermezzo Collections, scheduled for Aug. 1 to 3 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and the Coterie, from Sept. 21 to 23, also at the Javits Center.
“The recent recession has affected the fashion business in many ways [and], in an attempt to save money, various exhibitors reduced their space,” said Elyse Kroll, founder and chairman of ENK. “On the other hand, in an attempt to appear strong, various exhibitors increased their spaces. Designers also are editing the lines they show more cautiously, paying close attention to price, design and quality.”
Kroll added that for retailers, price point and making strong purchasing decisions have become more important.
“ENK understands this and has adapted our screening process accordingly,” Kroll said. “We carefully screen all brands to make sure they are merchandised properly.”
ENK also has implemented in-store visits, dispatching show managers into the market to meet with retailers in their store environments to better understand their needs.
Ed Mandelbaum, who produces the Designers & Agents show with Barbara Kramer, said there has been increased interest from foreign buyers and exhibitors, and it’s a trend he anticipates will continue.
D&A also is bringing some international flavor to its September show, scheduled to take place Sept. 20 to 22 at the Starrett-Lehigh building and the Chelsea Art Museum. It will feature the Scandinavian Projects, a special section dedicated to resources from Scandinavian countries.
“The style of clothing and accessories are very much in line with who we are,” Mandelbaum said. “There is definitely a kindred spirit.”
Overall, Mandelbaum added, “we are seeing growth, and are expecting September to be our biggest show ever.”
Business Journals Inc. is producing shows such as Moda Manhattan, Fame and AccessoriesTheShow, scheduled for Aug. 1 to 3, all at the Javits Center. AccessoriesTheShow Pavilion, Moda Manhattan and Fame also will take place Sept. 21 to 23 at the Javits Center. It will mark the first time Fame has a September edition.
“The mood going into these seasons is dramatically different than a year ago,” said Britton Jones, president and chief executive officer of Business Journals Inc. “We are very bullish moving into the August and September time period.”
Sharon Enright, vice president of the Tradeshow Division at Business Journals, added, “People don’t have the excess inventory they once had. Items are very important. Products that have quality and [brands that] really differentiate themselves are doing better than most.”
At the August show, Fame will move to Javits North, a newly developed building that is column free with natural light and connected to the original Javits Center through a walkway.
For August and September, the show organizers also are growing their in-show network, which allows vendors to buy video spots that will be shown on an increased network of high-definition plasma monitors around the exhibition space, as well as the buses that transport buyers.
“We feel that time is the most important asset buyers have, and they all try to be as productive as they can,” Jones said. “The more information we can provide them with about what’s in the show, the better it is.”
The company also just launched a social media platform, with Facebook and Twitter accounts that can deliver buyers “relevant information in real time,” Enright said.
Curve Expo’s New York edition is scheduled Aug. 1 to 3 at the Javits Center and will feature 230 brands, 40 percent of which will be international. New exhibitors will include Juicy Couture, Milavitsa, Pretty Polly, Gerbe and Sweet Intimates. This year, the show will have features such as a Cegid seminar, trends seminars for spring and fall 2011 and a “So Curve” party for vendors and retailers.
“For the first five months this year, the mood has been very good for our vendors,” said Laurence Teinturier, executive vice president of Curve Expo, the lingerie and swimwear show with editions in New York and Las Vegas. “We are in the field every day and there is not one vendor who isn’t optimistic.”
Nouveau Collective, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last month, will show Aug. 1 to 3 and Sept. 20 to 22 at Penn Pavilion. Joanne Feinstein, the show’s director, said Nouveau Collective will feature about 5 percent new designers in September.
“We are also introducing a whole gallery of graduates of fashion schools with their trend boards,” Feinstein said. “They see things so fresh and different and new.”
As for fashion trends at the shows, “what we are seeing is a resurgence of color and pattern, which I think is linked to the economy,” said Susan Summa, director of Atelier Designers, which will take place Sept. 20 to 22 at the Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square hotel. “Buyers in May told me that, into the fall and spring into next year, they felt much more confident.”