The first half of 2015 features a noteworthy New York trade-show development: BJI Fashion Group and ENK International are joining forces to colocate for the fall-winter market.
Previously, in May, the season’s ENK shows, Intermezzo Collections and Accessorie Circuit, were held at Pier 94, while BJI’s Moda, FAME and AccessoriesTheShow were at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Now, all will show at the Javits Center on April 27 to 29.
“For many years, we have been trying to have our shows in the same venue because it’s easier for the retail community,” said Joanne Mohr, executive vice president of ENK International. “It’s not always possible because of venue ability, but beginning this spring, ENK is moving our May show from the piers to the Javits Center and in the same building as [BJI]. We are still two separate companies, but we’re colocating.”
BJI president and chief executive officer Britton Jones added, “It’s really important for the industry, which is the reason for doing this. ENK and Business Journals have found that we both win by providing better support for the industry. All the exhibitors appreciate retailers spending less time trying to get cabs and buses from one venue to the other.”
There’s another reason for the decision to switch to April from May.
“Retailers have been asking to stay a little further away from Mother’s Day, which is the second-most-important holiday in the year for them,” said Mohr.
The move comes in light of modest expectations after a challenging year. To combat the climate, producers of major New York trade shows are ramping up newness to entice buyers.
“Retail has been difficult in 2014, but hopefully, now that the cold weather has hit all across the country, people are out and buying starting this November, which will certainly affect the first quarter and second half of the year,” said ENK’s Mohr, adding that energy is expected to be up, with buyers “looking for that one thing that is going to make them different from their competitors. It’s incumbent upon our designers to be fresh and innovative to have those items that will entice retailers.”
ENK is introducing a new activewear section at Coterie, and there will be an increase in lifestyle products that could complement retail environments. Nail polish company Color Club, for example, exhibited last September and will be back to offer collaborations with vendors. The May edition of Accessorie Circuit, meanwhile, is launching an artisan area, with designers joining from across the U.S. to offer handcrafted jewelry, handbags, belts and other accessories.
BJI’s Jones pointed to this year’s tough first three quarters but expressed optimism for 2015.
“If we can have a few months of solid, sustainable growth, it can be a positive thing,” he noted, citing as a major plus falling gasoline prices, which free up disposable income. “We think that bodes very well for our markets.”
The January edition of MRket is sold out and up 15 percent, with over 75 additional brands. Its Made in Italy section is 30 percent larger, and a new Modern Prep lounge, showcasing preppy men’s brands, will be introduced. AccessoriesTheShow is launching The Nest, a new area of up-and-coming talent curated and nurtured by the show and including Brandimport, Impressed By Nature and Katula Kiss.
“It’s a presentation of hand-selected, up-and-coming designers that the AccessoriesTheShow team is curating, and we are showing them in an open format,” said BJI vice president Sharon Enright.
Also, in January, the show and Printed Village will be hosting a temporary, on-premises tattoo parlor for buyers. BJI’s Moda, meanwhile, is launching a new collaboration with stylist David Zyla, the author of “How to Win at Shopping,” who will be curating a trend vignette at the February edition.
Ed Mandelbaum, who produces Designers & Agents with Barbara Kramer, called the first-half outlook “optimistic,” noting that “the feeling of positivity is from the completion of the 2014 show season.
“We ended the season with sold-out shows in New York and Los Angeles,” Mandelbaum said. “We received overwhelming positive feedback from the spring ’15 shows. At this time, we are running ahead of previous years with exhibitor registration.”
For this first half, the show is considering the return of a forecasting installation curated by Li Edelkoort.
Capsule New York Women’s, meanwhile, this season is moving from Basketball City downtown to Pier 94, which, according to Edina Sultanik, who cofounded Capsule with Deirdre Maloney and Minya Quirk, is “closer to Midtown and more conveniently located for the buyers who want to attend the show. We’re [also] adding a new show within a show, called Capsule Accessories, which will spotlight the collections of emerging and influential accessories brands.”
“Additionally, we’re partnering with The Accessories Council, [which is] going to curate a showcase of important brands to help promote accessories in the marketplace as well as help new brands promote their businesses and learn the buying process,” she said. “We’re also launching The Beauty Lab, a new section that will feature an array of independent beauty brands.”
On the men’s wear front, Sam Ben-Avraham, founder and chief executive officer of Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs, staged at Pier 94, is enthusiastic about the first half, particularly with the growing sophistication of the men’s market.
“I believe men are more comfortable dressing up, and that reflects on the whole industry,” he said. “We see the bar being raised on the product level and the retail level. Stores are upgrading and updating themselves, and so are we. The trade-show platform is seeing more energy from the brands and the retailers. I feel, 2015 is going to be a great year for everyone that understands the new men’s consumer and knows how to change to answer that demand.
“We’re looking at out-of-the-box concepts, with one of the biggest being our partnership with the most prestigious fair on the planet, Pitti Uomo, in Florence,” Ben-Avraham noted. “We’ll also have our staple initiatives back, including Freedom Hall, curated by Ouigi Theodore of The Brooklyn Circus.”
Project president Tommy Fazio said, “We just finalized an acquisition by UBM [that] is going to make Project and all our shows even more powerful, organized and efficient. Since we are in constant interaction and work so closely with retailers and brands, we have a unique insight into their needs. So, my outlook is based upon our constant interaction with the retailers and brands — they are super optimistic. Our focus this season is on retail and brand matching, connecting brands to the retailers they need to see and vice versa.”
Other shows this first half include Designers at the JW Marriott Essex House and Atelier Designers, which takes place at the Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square.
The first month of the year will also bring the major textile fairs back to town, offering buyers and sourcing experts opportunities to see spring 2015 fabrics and materials and network with manufacturers on production planning.
Premiere Vision New York and Indigo New York kick off the season on Jan. 13 and 14 with its second season at Pier 92. An expanded array of trend and design seminars are on tap, while an enhanced selection of European fabric, trimming and accessories companies set up shop at the Hudson River venue.
The next week, on Jan. 19 to 21 in the Javits Center’s North Hall, the 18th edition of Texworld USA, considered the largest apparel and textile sourcing event in North America, will feature the International Apparel Sourcing Show. As usual, attendees will be able to participate in a complimentary seminar series presented by show partner Lenzing Innovation. The series will cover multiple industry topics, from sourcing “Made in the U.S.” products to fabric formation and supply-chain sustainability to color and trend forecasting.
The denim-centric Kingpins New York rounds out the textile shows on Jan. 20 and 21 at Skylight Clarkson Square at 550 Washington Street. The show features denim and sportswear fabric mills from around the world, as well as wash houses, full-package manufacturers, trim providers and business-solutions experts.