Appeared In
Special Issue
Men'sWeek issue 01/09/2014

LOS ANGELES — The Tents@Project is on the move.

This story first appeared in the January 9, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Advanstar Global LLC-owned Project is raising the profile and accessibility of its designer and high-end contemporary men’s wear showcase by relocating it alongside the rest of the trade show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas rather than in a parking lot outside. The relocation will not change the size of The Tents, which will span 20,000 square feet and house some 75 brands, including Billy Reid, Kent & Curwen, Shipley & Halmos, BLK DNM, Raleigh Denim, Todd Snyder and, for the first time, Jack Spade.

“In my continuing efforts to help the retailers shop the shows more efficiently, we are going to build the actual tent in the inside of the building. It will be architecturally really cool,” said Tommy Fazio, president of Project. “By building the tent on the inside, it allows the retailers to shop the brands easier. All these brands that love the special attention and exclusivity now will get 20,000 retailers to walk through.”

During its run from Feb. 18 to 20, attendees will be able to enter The Tents from the registration space at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and from three openings in the main aisle at Project. Once at The Tents, they will find the look hasn’t changed from its two prior editions. Brand setups are mostly 100 to 500 square feet, and a height limit of six feet restricts brands from erecting towering, fortress-style booths.

“It is very white, it’s bright. I wanted to design it so it felt like it was more about the clothes than the atmosphere,” explained Fazio. “At most trade shows, you can build big booths and signs. You can’t do that in The Tents. It is meant to be sleek, beautiful and modern.”

As he has in the past at The Tents, Fazio will produce an installation called Tommy’s Edit to illustrate his perspective on the direction that men’s wear will take in the coming season. He also remains in charge of vetting the exhibitors that are allowed to participate in The Tents. “I look at the brand, its distribution, its editorial content and validity in the marketplace right now,” Fazio detailed. “There are brands in there that aren’t the most elevated brands, but I feel they are really important today fashionwise.”

The Tents@Project reflect a strategy by Fazio, who joined Project in 2012 after holding posts at Nordstrom, Simon Spurr, Calvin Klein and Bergdorf Goodman, to break down the larger trade show into smaller segments. The goal is to encourage communication and working relationships between similar brands, and aid retail buyers in their quest to pinpoint brands that are relevant to them.

“When I was at Bergdorf and Neiman’s, I would go to every trade show in the world. The rooms are very large and overwhelming. The way I am curating the shows now is the way I would curate a store. You feel comfortable shopping in more intimate environments in trade shows as well as stores,” said Fazio. “The Tents is an initial step toward making the trade shows more intimate and having intimate venues instead of walking into a giant room of brands. Next season will have another area that is as intimate and focused as The Tents.”

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