Fall14 LA Fashion Market Week: The Trade Show Mediocrity Continues?

Posted by Paul Brindley
on March 13, 2014

I have been meaning to write this article for weeks now but have been at a loss of what to say. If you know me, that doesn’t happen very often!

But with the Fall14 Los Angeles Fashion Market Week happening next week, I thought I would try and put my spin on the fashion trade show year so far.

Due to ice age weather in large parts of the country and the continuing struggles of the economy, the US fashion trade show circuit has been at it’s enigmatic best this year.

The year started with a optimistic bang at the Agenda show right here in dear old sunny and warm Long Beach, CA. You can check out my review article here.

Things then moved to the east coast and into the nastiest weather that many have seen in a while. Understandably, buyer traffic was down considerably due to the lack of dog sleds in New York. Quite sensibly, many buyers stayed away all together.

We then bounced back here to the ridiculously warm and dry winter in LA for the Summer14 edition of Market Week. I thought it was a quiet week but industry reports had the January market exceeding expectations for many agents. I didn’t see it myself, and I was in the fashion district every day.

I was bit surprised to read in Apparel News, “Some reported meeting with local, national and international retailers who were scrambling to replenish inventory. Others said holiday sales were good for retailers who carried higher-end merchandise.” I thought that holiday sales had been a bust all around.

Brooklyn Hat Co_Vegas Feb 14

Brooklyn Hat Co at Liberty in Las Vegas Feb 14

However, there was some good business done at D&A on the third floor of The New Mart. My old mucker, Ben De Luca of Christy’s Hats was very happy with the first 2 days; particularly the performance of his growing brand, Brooklyn Hat Co.

The road show then moved to Las Vegas for the madness that is the bi-annual Las Vegas fashion trade show week.

The results were choppy. The contemporary shows at the Sands Expo/Venetian Hotel were busy and bustling – Liberty, Agenda and Capsule.

The better men’s show MRket, the women’s contemporary and missy show Stitch, and Accessories did just OK.

Over at the Mandalay Bay, reviews were mixed about Project, ENK Women’s and PoolTradeShow. I know established collections and agents that did very well, others that thought is was OK, and others that were disappointed. It is not unusual to get the full range of responses. However, the preponderance of the latter two was a bit worrying.

If you want to browse my photos from Vegas and see some of the labels that I liked, check out my Instagram page: instagram.com/paulbrindleyconsults

It was a quick turnaround to the Fall14 New York trade shows. So quick in fact that a few friends had to red-eye to get there for pre-show meetings the day after Vegas finished.

Again, there were more mixed reports of buyer traffic and order writing at Coterie.

So, here we are with a few days to go before LA Market. It is difficult to predict how the week will go. Some of the agents I have spoken to are quite confident of a solid week based on their appointment calls and what they have heard from buyers.


Louise Farnay bags

Regardless, it is exciting that one of my clients will be launching in the US this week. Hong Kong based Australian bag designer Louise Farnay debuts her Fall14 collection and immediates at Bloom Showroom in Suite 401 of the Lady Liberty Building at 843 Los Angeles Street. To view the collection, call or email Jennifer Dermer on 626-534-5625 or jennifer@bloomlashowroom.com.

I am optimistic that next week will be a strong LA Market Week. Why? No empirical reason, more a gut feeling.

I think that many west coast retailers have stayed close to home this year and have been watching their dollars in the continuing choppy market. Many are buying closer to ship date than ever before, and delaying their purchasing decisions out of prudence. But they have to plonk down the dollars some time for Fall.

I’ll be around the action all week blogging and Instagramming as I go.

Paul Brindley
paul brindley consults