Axis has been the antithesis to mammoth-sized trade shows as it aims to be the place for a different generation of shoppers.
The show, which debuted last February in New York, will now test buyer appetite for its concept when it brings Axis to downtown Los Angeles this year. The West Coast edition will be timed to run with the Los Angeles Fashion Market, which draws buyers to showrooms in the Cooper Design Space, New Mart, California Market Center and other places in downtown. The first L.A. show would debut sometime this year.
The question is whether the industry needs another trade show and Axis show director Vanessa Chiu thinks so. She’s basing that on feedback from buyers, who have lamented the largesse of some shows and desire for the mix of vendors Axis handpicks.
The show bills itself as a curated offering. Show organizers work closely with brands to bring the right mix of retailers to the show floor—sometimes footing the bill on airfare or hotel stays for select buyers. The recently ended February show at Pier 92 capped at 200 brands — including Friend of a Friend, Nana Judy, House of Harlow, Beach Riot and WeSC — and that could maybe rise to about 225 depending on the venue, according to Chiu. The Los Angeles show will likely start at around 150 to 200 brands, she added.
Brands are organized into four buckets consisting of fashion, active, accessories and intimates and home and beauty.
“I really wanted the point of difference for Axis to be that we’re intimate,” Chiu said. “I wanted it to feel like a really weird wedding. We’re an extension of the lifestyle we live.”
That was seen at the recently ended show via the art installations and pop-up spaces from the likes of Nylon magazine and free breakfast that included Health-Ade Kombucha. The show totaled more than 35,000 square feet. Chiu declined to cite an attendance figure or to say whether it was up or down from the previous show. Marketing materials for the February show said Axis draws more than 5,000 people, of which more than 3,000 are buyers. Some of those in attendance at that show included American Rag, Anthropologie, Kin Los Angeles, Fred Segal, Ron Herman, Selfridges, Aust and Net-a-porter.
Axis is part of Reed Exhibitions, which also owns the Agenda and Capsule trade shows, among several others.