The Las Vegas trade shows are about to get another entrant in Liberty Fairs, a new exhibition that industry veteran Sam Ben-Avraham will launch in August.
Ben-Avraham was the founder in 2003 of Project, which he sold to Advanstar Communications in 2005 for about $38 million. Since then Advanstar has grown Project into its marquee men’s show in both Las Vegas and New York.
Liberty Fairs will be staged at the Sands Expo in the Venetian/Palazzo complex and will focus on the men’s denim and contemporary market, in competition with Project. Ben-Avraham, whose non-compete agreement with Advanstar expired last month, is expecting to host about 250 brands in the August edition.
“When I sold Project I did not think I would get back into the trade show business. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think there was an opportunity and a need for something different,” said Ben-Avraham, who also owns the three Atrium specialty stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Miami. “The world has changed so much in the last 10 years and I think there’s a place for a new platform.”
Ben-Avraham has formed a strategic alliance with a group of other Las Vegas trade shows, encompassing Capsule, Agenda and the Business Journals Inc.-owned MRket, Stitch and Accessories The Show. The partners will cooperate on marketing efforts and streamlining the attendance process for the various shows, which will all be situated in the Sands Expo Venetian/Palazzo.
These shows and Liberty Fairs compete with the MAGIC Market Week shows that include Project, WWD MAGIC, ENK Vegas and FN Platform, which are all owned by Advanstar Global and which currently dominate the Las Vegas market. Project alone is home to more than 2,000 men’s and dual-gender brands.
Advanstar increased its heft in December via the $155 million acquisition of ENK International, which operated ENK Vegas, ENKNYC, Coterie and WSA, among other shows.
Agenda, which caters to the street, skate and surf market, will launch its first Las Vegas show in August. The show, founded by Aaron Levant, joined the Reed Exhibitions portfolio of events when the global trade show operator made an investment in Agenda last month, buying out Levant’s former partner, Seth Haber.
Levant, who remains at the helm of Agenda, said he expects 150 to 200 brands at the first edition of his Las Vegas show. The original Agenda show in Long Beach, Calif., hosts about 550 brands, while a New York edition usually hosts between 120 and 150 brands.
“This is a wonderful way to provide retailers with a complete shopping experience under one roof,” said Britton Jones, chief executive officer of Business Journals Inc. of the Modern Assembly agreement. “I think to an overwhelming extent the lineup of Modern Assembly shows is complementary to each other rather than competitive.”
Ben-Avraham’s Liberty Fairs concept includes an innovative booth system, a digital wholesale planning and ordering system powered by NuOrder, environmental initiatives and charitable contributions to educational programs at Parsons The New School for Design.
The booths will offer wider frontage with a bit less depth, sized at 15 by 8 feet, rather than the traditional 10 by 10 feet at most trade shows. The standard booth will cost vendors $6,500. Sourced from Vancouver-based Molo Design, the booths are constructed from accordion walls fashioned from recycled cardboard, rather than conventional aluminum. The booth walls are lower than normal at 5.5 feet, allowing people to see the entire trade show floor when standing up.
The goal of Liberty is to be a paperless trade show, and the company has partnered with NuOrder for an online shopping and order processing system that will be available to all exhibiting brands and retail attendees. A smartphone app will give attendees access to brand directories, event listings, show maps and guest services.
“We are creating a whole set of tools just for Liberty exhibitors to find retailers prior to the show and for buyers to maximize their visit there,” said Heath Wells, cofounder of NuOrder. Ben-Avraham made a personal investment in NuOrder last month with a group that includes Adam Bernhard, ceo of HauteLook; Khajak Keledjian, cofounder of Intermix, and Betsee Isenberg, owner of 10Eleven Showroom.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)