NEW YORK — The five women’s trade shows Accessories, Edit, Fame, Moda and Stitch were again held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here, but on an atypical schedule. Due to Pope Francis’ visit as well as Yom Kippur, Business Journal Inc. Fashion Group held the shows on a Saturday-Sunday-Monday span for the first time. Typically, the shows begin their three-day run on either the Sunday or Monday immediately following New York Fashion Week.
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“It’s a very different traffic pattern this year because of the Jewish holidays. We have never before run on a Saturday — and Saturday is a very difficult time for retailers to leave their stores but we know we couldn’t run on Tuesday and wanted to give people three days,” said BJI’s chief executive officer Britton Jones. Despite initial trepidation, Jones said Monday that, “if we are comparing Saturday’s [attendance] to a normal Sunday, we are right on — a lot of really great retailers were shopping on Saturday.”
Jones reported that in total, the shows had 1,000 vendors and were visited by an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 buyers.
Nisse’s creative director Nargisse E. Akyüz, exhibiting at Stitch, said: “What’s important is that the traffic is good traffic, not just window shopping traffic.”
Jeremy Wood-Ross, sales director of new jacket brand Ellie Mae, which exhibited at Edit, said that the traffic levels allowed the label to “gather as much feedback as possible and really sit down and have a conversation [with buyers].” The label, which will debut in stores for spring 2016, was consistent with a floor-wide trend for lightweight, tailored outerwear.
Some exhibitors felt the new schedule — and the large number of shows at the same time — impacted traffic. Jessica Choi of 5 on 7 New York — a brand that exhibited at Edit for a second consecutive season — said, “Traffic is pretty slow, it’s been hard to get new clients…last season was better.”
Mel Katz, president of Mel & Lisa — a label that exhibited at Stitch — cited a near 75 percent drop in foot traffic to his booth over last season. “This year traffic is soft for two reasons. I think it falls at a strange time because of the Jewish holidays, a lot of local people are not attending, and there are so many shows going on at the same time [in the Javits Center] that buyers don’t have the ability to go to all of the shows.”
As BJI’s five shows were under way on the Javits Center’s lower quadrant, the Coterie show was being held upstairs. Mallika Thomas, founder of the brand Haute Latitude, which showed at Moda, felt that the sheer amount of shows in the convention center “spread buyers too thin.”