The relentless tropical heat beat down on LA for last week’s Spring 2016 Los Angeles Fashion Market, which set up shop in the downtown Los Angeles Fashion District from October 12–15.
The hot weather must have kept some buyers away because there was a distinct drop in the usual activity and energy this time of year. Business was as sluggish as sales of Fall merchandise must be at present. I can’t imagine buyers have much spare cash to be throwing down for their Spring orders. Apparel News reported that “… some buyers had less money available for Spring orders and others were scrambling to fill inventories with warm-weather apparel.”
It doesn’t help local sales agents that the LA Spring Market is at the tail end of the Spring selling season. Vegas was 2 months ago. The NY shows were last month. With any semblance of Fall yet to materialize, buying budgets must be drying up like a Californian river.
The show must go on and it did in the showrooms of the California Market Center, The New Mart, the Cooper Design Space, the Gerry Building and the Lady Liberty building — as well as at temporary trade shows Designers and Agents (New Mart), Coeur (at a new location at the Alexandria Ballrooms at 5th & Spring), Brand Assembly (Cooper), L.A. Men’s Market, Shape and Select (all at the CMC).
Designers and Agents was a bit light on exhibitors. They usually completely fill the 3rd Floor event space. Friend and generous bestower of complimentary hats, Ben De Luca of Brooklyn Hat Co. thought Monday was solid but the Tuesday I was there was significantly slower. He wasn’t holding out hope for much better on Wednesday.
The classy Brand Assembly filled the bright, white 11th floor event space of the Cooper. Brand Assembly has swelled to 112 brands. The contemporary women’s showcase has doubled in size over the past 12 months.
The LA Men’s Market show at the 10th floor event space in the CMC has grown into a mini Agenda. This is a show to keep an eye on. It was the only space of the entire week that had some real consistent buzz going.
The new Shape show for contemporary active and lifestyle brands had some good quality labels like NUX and Bhujang Style but very little foot traffic. There is definitely scope for a showcase like Shape but they need to get it off the 13th floor of the CMC and put it somewhere that buyers will actually visit.
I did spot a gem at Select on the ground floor of the CMC. LA’s own Lesebi was showing waterproof handmade nylon ankle bracelets produced by women in Mayan communities in Cancun, Mexico. Lesebi has partnered with Mayan Ook (ook is the Maya word for ‘foot’) which commissions and sells hand woven and embroidered garments made by local women from the state of Quintana Roo’s Mayan Zone. The Mayan Zone is formed by small rural communities located in the municipalities of Felipe Carrillo Puerto and José María Morelos near the Tulum region.
Venue is a showcase for emerging young contemporary, street and lifestyle labels. I like the concept. I like the artwork that decorates the space. But the space is too cavernous for the thin spreading of brands. Miles Canares, the owner/producer is a young and enthusiastic impressario who is genuinely supportive of his exhibitors. I would recommend he find a tighter spce closer to the heart of the fashion district to concentrate the energy of the show and maximize the opportunities of attracting buyers.
paul brindley consults