Retail may be in the doldrums, but the positive mood around Los Angeles is what trade show organizers hope will carry business through the remainder of the year.
Kellen Roland, founder of the Los Angeles Men’s Market, said he’s projecting an increase in buyer attendance for the upcoming show, which runs from Oct. 18 to 19 at the California Market Center in downtown Los Angeles.
“Though business is down, we are filling a gap in the trade show calendar by focusing on the shoulder seasons,” Roland said. “Seeing holiday and summer at L.A. Men’s Market has proven to be an efficient way for buyers to shop the market. Being the only men’s show in L.A. also plays to our advantage. If you gather enough great brands in one place, buyers will show up. Those same brands are motivated to attend the shows that have strong buyer attendance. It’s our job to bring the right brands and buyers together in a cost-effective and time-effective manner. Time is money and people aren’t wasting either these days.”
Axis will test buyer appetite for its format, which marks its two-day West Coast debut Oct. 17 and will be part of the Capsule show at the California Market Center. The show will mirror the New York setup, but on a smaller scale with around 150 to 200 brands, according to show director Vanessa Chiu. Executives are confident the show will do well in meeting need and demand based on market research and what Chiu called the hype surrounding Los Angeles Fashion Market Week.
“I think the trade show environment is changing, so a lot of the brands are looking at it more from a strategic perspective,” she said. “They’re looking to get exposed to new eyeballs. Brands are actually looking for more consumers because that’s how they’re going to raise their ROI.”
Brand curation is also what will help respective shows compete in the market and stand out from competitors, said some show organizers.
Brand Assembly, aimed at creating a marketplace of emerging designers, wrapped its resort show at the Cooper Design Space this month with about 40 brands. It expects around 130 in October, which is historically its strongest show, according to chief executive officer and cofounder Hillary France.
Brand Assembly has also seen an increase in Asian accounts coming through its doors, which France speculated could be because of interest in the casual styles abundant in Los Angeles.
“When we started Brand Assembly three years ago, Los Angeles was on the verge of getting back on buyers’ radar,” France said. “We have seen increased buyer attendance show over show and I do think for this October market, because there seems to be a much higher awareness of the L.A. market, that I do see attendance being higher over the last October show. It is the last market of