CHICAGO — StyleMax saw the strongest January attendance in the history of the show.
“We are up by double digits,” said Susan Glick, vice president of women’s apparel at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, where the show ended its three-day run on Tuesday.
The January StyleMax unveiled a new makeover of the 200,000-square-foot trade show space on the seventh floor of the Mart, featuring more categories and contemporary vendors, LED lighting and complementary Wi-Fi. Some of the interior updates are still under way, including the addition of LED spotlights, new carpeting and exhibitor furniture.
“It’s a new year, a brand new look,” Glick said. “With a remerchandised floor plan, niche categories and more contemporary brands than ever we have taken StyleMax to the next level. Our goal was to create an elevated trade show experience.”
Overall, there were about 1,200 accessories and apparel brands at the show.
Staci Rice, owner of Scout Showroom in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, said the show was “great.”
“The turnout was really good. Sunday was very busy, we needed more helpers,” said Rice, whose multiline showroom features vendors such as Chaser, BB Dakota, Sanctuary Clothing, and White + Warren. “A lot of people were writing summer. No one wants to look at fall yet.”
At BCBGeneration, Seventies-inspired looks in the way of cold-shoulder and boho-tops, vests and jackets and brightly colored dresses performed well, said Jackie Lipp, sales manager. “The show was fabulous, one of our best,” Lipp said. “As a regional show, this is a smaller show, but we did four times as much [business] as we did last year. We also opened three new stores.”
Lipp applauded the redesigned trade show, saying her booth was now two times bigger. “It’s also a more laid-back setting for a trade show so you can have a conversation with your buyers,” she said.
For some vendors such as Santa Monica-based Hard Tail, the show provided an opportunity to meet with buyers who can’t travel to the East or West Coast shows.
“The show was decent,” said Louise McGarvin, sales executive at Hard Tail, a company known for its garment-dyed and hand tie-dyed pieces. “We did open five new accounts in the Midwest. New business is always good.”
Retailer Michelle Moore spoke positively about the show’s new updates. “I got new product and I felt the show catered a bit more to the retailers,” said Moore, adding she was shopping for unique pieces for her boutique, Not So Shabby, Oh So Chic in Jackson, Mich., and was impressed with vendors like Avatar Imports and Mystree. “There were good prices and I ordered a ton.”