GOTHAM’S GOT IT
TRADE SHOW ORGANIZERS REMAIN UNDETERRED BY THE LACKLUSTER ATTENDANCE FIGURES THAT PLAGUED SHOWS IN THE FALL. INSTEAD, THEY ARE GEARING UP FOR THE HOARDES OF TREND-HUNGRY BUYERS EXPECTED TO DESCEND UPON THE CITY.
Byline: Julee Greenberg
It’s been a bumpy ride for the New York trade show circuit in recent months. Coupled with a sluggish economy and the fact that many shows were rescheduled late in the season due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, trade organizers are counting on next year’s round of shows to attract buyers eager to spend and exhibitors stocked with fashion-forward items.
“Right after the World Trade Center tragedy, we didn’t know how this was going to impact life,” said Elyse Kroll, executive director of trade show organizer ENK International, which postponed its Coterie show from late September to late October. “Then I realized that people were not going to want to travel to New York so soon after the 11th.”
For the next Coterie, scheduled to take place Feb. 24-26 at the Show Piers on Manhattan’s West Side, Kroll said she is working to grow the event’s international section.
“International companies want to see their merchandise in the U.S.,” she said, “so while we are still careful about who we will let in, I hope to expand the international presence at the next show.”
Kroll said a robust holiday season at retail would help her show’s business. “Hopefully, we will have a good holiday to give people the confidence to do business at the next Coterie,” she said.
Sole Commerce, ENK’s first footwear show, was supposed to be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion, alongside the Coterie, but it also was postponed to mid-October. When Kroll was able to book the Jacob K. Javits Center for the rescheduled Coterie, she decided to run Sole Commerce in the same area, which worked out well, she said.
“It was a good first show, and I think that was because the shows were under one roof,” she said. “We accomplished what we wanted to, and that was for specialty stores to open shoe accounts.”
Now that the first Sole Commerce is behind her, Kroll said she can’t wait to see how it grows. The next show will be held Feb. 24-26 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
“I am very excited about the development of the shoe division,” she said. “I am seeing a major interest in it from all sides, and it is literally growing in leaps and bounds.”
Also produced by ENK, Intermezzo will run Jan. 12-14, alongside the Accessories Circuit at Piers 90 and 94 on Manhattan’s West Side.
MAGIC International’s Femme, which also was rescheduled, was held at the Jacob K. Javits Center. MAGIC marketing coordinator Ernae Mothershed said neither attendees nor exhibitors minded the show’s rescheduling.
“I think everyone wanted to reschedule the shows to be held around the same time,” she said. “This makes it easier and more convenient for buyers and considering the circumstances, people were pleased. We sort of created a new market week for buyers.”
For the next Femme show, slated to take place Jan. 5-7 again at the Javits Center, Mothershed said she is looking forward to having the same amount of floor space that the show had last May.
“Because we had to change the timing of the last show, we lost a substantial amount of space,” she said. “In January, we will have all of that space back. So, we are planning to add some new things to the show floor.”
Mothershed added that Femme will have a larger number of exhibitors from overseas.
Meanwhile, Nouveau Collective, a show featuring contemporary designers, will again be held at the Park Central Hotel Jan. 11-14. Workshop NY will be at The Space at the Chelsea Market from Feb. 22-25. The Designers at the Essex House exhibition will be held Feb. 17-21 and the American International Designers at the Waldorf-Astoria will follow Feb. 22-27.
A fairly new trade show, Workshop NY will enter its fourth season in February, with a few changes in store for attendees.
“For Workshop NY’s fourth season, we are converting the upstairs Loft Studio into a space exclusively for Accessories,” said Hortensia de Hutten, Workshop NY’s executive director.
“The room will have its own personality and a special setting different from the studios on the main floor. The importance of accessories in the American marketplace is quite clear, and it is our mission to bring the buyers and press the newest and most creative talent from around the world.”
Business Journals Inc. will stage the Fashion Avenue Market Expo (FAME) Mar. 2-5 at the Javits Center. Maria Miller, director of public relations and creative services for the show, which is run by Sam Starr, the former show manager of the defunct International Fashion Boutique show, said the show will feature about 700 collections — 30 percent more than last March’s staging.
Miller also expects an influx of better accessories companies as well as junior labels. She said there will be some new outerwear vendors and more better contemporary businesses. The show will have “real fashion direction coming from the Tropics,” she said.
Business Journals will stage Moda Manhattan, a new ready-to-wear show that will kick off its three-day run Jan. 6 at the Javits Center. It will feature about 300 upscale ready-to-wear collections and will occur at the same time as AccessoriesTheShow, also to be held at the Javits Center.
“The feeling I am getting is that by the time January gets here, people will have a need to get back to normal, which will cause them to want something new and fresh,” said Richard Gore, director of sales for Moda Manhattan. “So that can be very positive for Moda Manhattan, since it is new.”