STYLE INDUSTRIE TO JAVITS
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
NEW YORK — The Style Industrie women’s apparel trade show and A Style, its companion accessories show, are moving to a new venue, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, for two of their five annual editions.
Debra LaChance, executive director of Style Industrie, said the convention center will house the September and February shows — the year’s two biggest. The three other editions — in January, May and August — will continue to be held at the Hotel Inter-Continental.
The additional space at the Javits will allow further development of the September and February shows by offering more categories.
“We wanted to offer a more well-rounded show,” said LaChance, who staged her first Style Industries show — initially known as StyleWorks — four years ago. “It’s a tough job balancing vendors’ and buyers’ needs. You want to offer enough, but not too much. Really, what you’re doing is research all the time — what will best suit the needs of buyers at that particular show.”
LaChance further noted, “Everyone is buying so close to need. The question is, ‘What do buyers and vendors need today, and how can they make the most of this [particular market] trip?”‘
Developing the new format for the Javits represents a “six-digit investment,” according to the trade show producer. She plans to offer cafes, a VIP buyer lounge, shuttle transportation to other shows, travel packages and a pavilion layout to spotlight both established and new categories, which she has not yet disclosed. A design firm was hired to develop an upscale floor plan along the lines of European trade shows. The new setup will feature European-type hard walls for exhibits, carpeted booths and aisles, freight handling, basic furniture and overnight storage.
The first of the Javits events for Style Industrie will be a three-day show starting Sept. 12. It is expected to attract 650 sportswear and accessories exhibitors — about a 25 percent increase compared with last year’s September edition of the show at the Hotel Inter-Continental.
About 125 of September’s exhibitors will be newcomers, LaChance said. Also, as part of its continuing efforts to support young designers who might not have the financial backing to attend the show, Style Industrie will sponsor 10 young designers at the fall show — compared with four at the May show.
With an expanded show, Style Industrie looks to draw a larger crowd of buyers. More than 6,000 retailers — 20 percent from overseas — are expected to turn out, representing an increase of at least 20 percent over the September 1997 show.
Buyer attendance is also expected to have an international mix, with a strong following already established among French, Italian and Japanese buyers. Now Style Industrie is targeting retailers from South America and Germany and is working with trade commissions to bolster attendance from those areas.
In total, buyers from as many as 20 countries are frequently represented at the shows.
The move to the Javits is getting an enthusiastic response from some established Style Industrie exhibitors, who like the idea of an open show.
Lisa Shaller, president of Simply Chic showroom, which reps Juicy, Sweet Romeo, Charlotte Tarantola and Love Letters, said she has been a proponent of moving the show to the Javits for a few years.
“It’s less stressful. People feel more comfortable and buyers are less intimidated,” she said. “You can breathe. You can see what’s going on and see who’s busy. Competition breeds more and more people.”
Eric Azagury, president of Diabless Paris, a junior contemporary sportswear line that shows at Style Industrie, said he expects a boost in traffic.
“The good thing about the Javits center is there is more room for buyers to move around,” he said.
Changes are also under way for the hotel shows. For the first time next year, vendors at the hotel show will have the option of using hotel rooms or an open space, with the show taking over ballroom space as well.
“We should be covered now. We’ve got the Javits, the hotel shows and the open areas in the hotels,” LaChance said with a laugh. “If there’s anything else [exhibitors need], they’re welcome to call me. In fact, I encourage them to call me.”
Having grown from a two-person operation to a 10-member staff, Style Industrie plans to hire additional executives as needed. The latest addition is Kat Humpage, who has done freelance work for trade show producers; she joined Style Industrie Monday as director of new business and will focus on developing the show at the Javits Center.