Sharifa Murdock, the co-owner of Liberty Fairs, is introducing her first consumer-facing event.
Murdock, who has worked in trade shows for the past 15 years — starting with Sam Ben-Avraham at Project and then joining him at Liberty Fairs — felt that among the many consumer events, conferences and festivals that have popped up over the last few years, no one was speaking to young women.
“This is something I’ve been wanting to do for years,” said Murdock. “It’s something I’ve been doing already through my mentorship program The Brooklyn Intern and as I’ve traveled and gone to different events, everything felt very adult. It’s a festival for us to celebrate us.”
Called ENVSN Festival, Murdock describes the event, which she’s been putting together for the last six months, as a girls’ day that will cater to Millennial and Gen Z women. The one-day event, which will take place on Oct. 20 at Industry City in Brooklyn, will feature two marketplace floors dedicated to beauty, wellness and fashion brands such as Hudson Jeans, Thinx, Urbanears and Shea Moisture. This will be coupled with experiential activations. Naked will offer manicures, Kappa and Champion are allowing visitors to customize apparel, and every hour Fila is giving attendees the chance to win an outfit. Guests can also relax in massage chairs or partake in a yoga class.
“The reality is that these kids are shopping a lot, but they are thinking methodically about what they consume,” said Murdock. “It’s important for designers to understand that. We have a bunch of girls on our board and these are the brands they love.”
The other two floors will house panels and DJs. Panels include a women in media session; a loving myself session; a workshop on beauty inclusivity; a session about sex, wellness and a talk with Lauren Simmons, the youngest and only full-time, woman trader at the New York Stock Exchange. A yet-to-be-announced keynote speaker will close out the talks.
Laura Stylez from Hot 97 has curated the musical performances, which will begin at 7 p.m. and include Maliibu Miitch, Saweetie, Zhavia Ward and Danileigh. Tinashe is headlining. General admission tickets that allow entry to panels, shopping and limited access to DJ performances are $39, while the festival pass, which offers VIP access to shopping, panels and musical performances is $149. Going forward, Murdock would like to hold the event earlier in the year to align with back to school.
“I want ENVSN to be the Himalaya of back-to-school programming for girls. I want them to get excited and recharged before they head back to school,” said Murdock.
This event is being held under the Liberty Fairs Group umbrella, which now includes Capsule, Cabana and Liberty Fairs. Premium Group recently purchased a minority stake in Liberty Fairs Fashion Group, a deal that will bring the Liberty, Capsule and Cabana shows to Europe and Premium to the U.S. Murdock believes trade shows are still necessary but they have to evolve.
“It has to be a lifestyle show,” said Murdock. “When you come to Liberty now, it needs to be about what I need for my lifestyle, not just what I need for fashion. It needs to be an experience that’s informative and gives people something to talk about. It’s no longer just about looking at clothes. You want more.”