Cabana, the swim trade show created by Janet Wong and Sam Ben-Avraham, wants to make a splash on the West Coast.
After premiering in 2013 in Miami, where it has held its three-day fair in conjunction with Miami Swim Week, Cabana is launching a two-day edition at Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, Calif., on Aug. 13. Aiming for a clean, sophisticated ambiance with an all-white décor offset by banners of beach scenery, the show is featuring 40 brands, including some that have participated in its Miami show that ended July 20. In addition to returnees Mara Hoffman, Tori Praver, Vix, and Boys and Arrows, Mikoh is joining the Cabana lineup for the first time.
“The West Coast became a natural destination,” said Wong, who’s the retail director for Ben-Avraham’s Atrium retail outpost in Miami. “Since we launched Cabana in 2013, our brands were immediately asking us about doing a show on the West Coast. At that time, we wanted to focus on Miami and build our brand before we went anywhere else.”
By jumping into the California market, Cabana is riding the wave of growth in the swimwear industry. NPD Group estimated that annual sales of women’s swimwear in the U.S. rose 10 percent to $3.3 billion from the previous year. However, the new show also places more pressure on brands and retailers that can attend only so many trade shows. Despite the buoyancy in swimwear, the costs for exhibiting and shopping the shows may not be proportionate to the anticipated increase in sales.
Plus, like a beach on a scorching day, the West Coast scene is crowded.
Cabana’s debut coincides with the next run of Swim Collective, the fair sponsored by the California Swimwear Association. Swim Collective is staging its two-day show, starting Aug. 13, at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Huntington Beach, about a six-mile drive north on the Pacific Coast Highway from Newport Beach. Some of the contemporary brands that are part of Swim Collective are Wildfox Swim, L Space, Seafolly, Vitamin A and Beach Bunny.
Just four days later, CurveNV @ MAGIC is opening its doors in Las Vegas, unveiling 250 brands, 150 of which are expected from the swim sector. Some of the vendors include Trina Turk and Ale by Alessandra Ambrosio. In a sign of how difficult it can be to roll solo in the swim industry, CurveNV @ MAGIC combines all the swim and lingerie brands from CurveNV and WWDMAGIC, which previously competed with each other.
In the thick of the trade show season, Agenda featured a smattering of women’s bikinis from brands like Beach Riot, Rusty and Tavik earlier this month in Long Beach.
In Newport Beach, Cabana is starting with the same number of brands that it featured in its first iteration in Miami. Over the past two years, its tents in Miami have grown to accommodate 100 brands, then 140 labels. Wong said she learned from their experience in Miami.
“I’m not reaching out only to swim stores,” she said. “I’m reaching out to boutiques that also carry resortwear.”
As for Las Vegas, which has transformed into a Mecca for the trade show circuit, it wouldn’t be farfetched for Wong and Ben-Avraham to expand there. After introducing Project, which he later sold, and founding Liberty Fairs, Ben-Avraham knows the ins-and-outs of operating an event there.
“We are definitely working on expanding,” Wong said. “I wouldn’t rule it out.”