PARIS — There was a sense of renewed energy at the recent round of men’s and resort trade shows here, with buyers citing brisker business than for some time.
Both Tranoï and Man, which ran from June 22 to 24, featured pre-collections alongside men’s in combined venues this season, the latter for the first time, to attract buyers shopping across categories.
On a shrinking trade show landscape, each show’s move toward a more distinct positioning was welcome — Man/Woman for more commercial and contemporary brands and Tranoï for those looking for an edgier offer and young talent. Streetwear, handcrafted elements and labels with a sustainable ethos were high on buyers’ wish lists.
Tranoï grouped together men’s spring 2019 and women’s pre-collections in its Palais de la Bourse location, instead of splitting them over two sites. “It allowed us to create synergies and better curate the offer,” explained Tranoï chief executive officer David Hadida.
The show’s Bourse location grouped around 150 brands — down by roughly 15 compared with when there were two sites — and visitor numbers to the location grew 28 percent year-on-year. “We had a great session,” Hadida continued.
In tandem, the smaller Tranoï Week event in the Marais, open from June 21 to 26, featured London Showrooms, with 14 British designers, five independent designers and Tube Showroom, a showcase of three young Chinese brands.
“It’s much smaller than previous years, but the concepts are getting stronger, because the competition is getting stronger,” commented Eve Roosna, buyer for unisex concept store ER Boutique in Tallinn, Estonia, at Tranoi. “There’s so many interesting, fresh brands,” she added, picking Stella Pardo as one of her highlights.
“Compared with the September session, foot traffic is a lot lower, but the buyers are much better quality,” said Stella Pardo sales and production manager Claire Boukobza.
Nevertheless, certain buyers said they had hoped to see an even more extensive offer for women. “I hoped for more women’s because so much of the business is mid-season now,” observed Nikki Creedon, owner of the Havana boutique in Dublin.
At Man, which opened a pre-collection segment, Man/Woman for the first time alongside its core commercial show for men, exhibitors also reported brisk traffic and an uptick in demand.
“We know buyers are spending an important part of their budget during pre-collection and completing their buying during main,” said Man founder Antoine Floch. “A lot of the stores visiting Man are buying men’s and women’s so it was a good moment for them to find out that one-third of the brands were showing both.”
Man saw a 40 percent uptick in visitor numbers compared with its June session a year ago, Floch said.
“It’s good to get started earlier, because September is too late to be presenting, people don’t have any budget left already,” said Diane Ducasse, founder of DA/DA, who was presenting her first pre-collection at Man/Woman.
Several exhibitors in the core Man section of the show, which had two venues on Place Vendôme, were also upping the stakes by offering unisex collections or an expanded offer for women.
These included, for example, British heritage basics label Sunspel, which continues to expand its women’s offer each season. “Women’s is doing well, it’s starting to really build up, we’re getting a lot of stores that are dual gender,” said the brand’s vice president of global wholesale Derek Mosher. “It’s something that we’re growing organically.
“Customers had a good sell-through for spring, so they’re very optimistic, they’re coming with bigger budgets,” he added.
The label is seeing strong momentum in the U.S., notably, where it will open its first stand-alone store in September, as well as in Asia. (Sunspel has five stores in London, three in Japan and one in Berlin.)
Meanwhile, U.K.-based Sunny Up, the European licensee for the Stan Ray brand, was also seeing demand for smaller sizes and boyish silhouettes in its fun, workwear-inspired offer. “We’re seeing a lot of interest from women’s wear accounts, they want those boys’ silhouettes, and for fall 2018 we are shooting a women’s edit for the first time,” said director David Colwill.
Japanese men’s brands were back in force thanks to the renewal of funding from the Japan External Trade Organization, or JETRO, for the first time since 2013. JETRO helped 12 brands participate at Man and 11 at Tranoï. “If it hadn’t been for JETRO’s support, we wouldn’t have been able to come,” said Fortuna Tokyo president Ryo Murai, showing at Tranoï.
Here, a look at some of the highlights from the shows:
Brand: Stella Pardo
Backstory: Cinthya Guerrero created her Stella Pardo label 10 years ago to combine the handcrafts of her native Peru with Parisian design. Focusing on crochet work, the core of the brand’s offer is built around alpaca, chosen for its sustainability and made by hand in Peru. The designer regularly works on knitwear for the major French fashion houses. Key accounts include Anthropologie in the U.S. and Isetan in Japan. French actress Mélanie Laurent is the brand’s muse. For her first pre-collection, Guerrero worked with a soft color palette including rusty pink, mustard yellow and cream. Highlights included a fun sleeveless top crocheted with words “made with love” and maxidresses that combined Spandex with crochet work.
Average wholesale prices: 120 to 180 euros.
Brand: Made in ME 8
U.S.-based Italian photographer Francesca Galliani’s idea was to take her art onto the streets in order to reach a broader audience, she explained. She started out hand-painting a few T-shirts in 2015 after the Obama administration legalized gay marriage, and through a friend, came into contact with a buyer for Barneys New York, for which she has created exclusive T-shirts featuring her work. Galliani’s line of graphic T-shirts printed with her distinctive photos launched commercially in January this year.
Price range: $59 to 86 wholesale.
Brand: Fortuna Tokyo
Founded in 2004, Fortuna Tokyo’s aim is to preserve the tradition of Kyoto’s Nishijin silk, reputed to be the finest kimono fabric, by bringing it to a new generation of wearers and an international audience. “We want to protect Japanese culture, Japanese people are wearing less and less kimono crafts,” said Fortuna Tokyo president Ryo Murai. Its offer, designed by Akiko Koba, includes men’s and women’s ready-to-wear inspired by traditional Japanese attire but with a contemporary twist, as well as accessories. Key pieces for spring 2019 included long textured coats with metallic details, iridescent biker-style jackets and shiny silk polo shirts. With stockists including Isetan in Japan, and the retailer will soon be launching the collection at its outposts in Singapore and Thailand.
Price range: Starting from $45 wholesale.
Brand: Rocking H
British artist Howard Cuthbert teamed with circular knitting specialist Merz b. Schwanen to create his hand-painted sportswear made with organic cotton. The line launched exclusively at L’Eclaireur for spring 2018, and Cuthbert unveiled his first commercial collection at Tranoï. Cuthbert uses tailor’s chalk and masking tape before painting each design by hand, making each of his T-shirts and hoodies unique and appealing to retailers looking for exclusive, limited-edition products. Each design also features scraps from vintage Union Jack flags.
Price range: 195 to 295 euros at retail.
Based in Shanghai, Staffonly is one of the new generation of rising Chinese brands, and was founded in 2015 by London-trained designers Shimo Zhou and Une Yea. The brand, which was showing as part of the Tube Showroom within Tranoï Week, is focused on the Chinese domestic market, and includes Lane Crawford and 10 Corso Como Shanghai among its stockists. Staffonly’s futuristic sixth collection for men paired loose, sporty silhouettes with a pastel color palette taking in lilac, pale aqua and pink, using water-resistant technical fabric and a shrunken wool-cotton blend to create texture. Its quirky accessories were also resonating particularly with buyers, Zhou said.
Price range: 100 to 500 euros wholesale