I’m on the plane as I write this and reflect on the past two weeks. The whirlwind started when I went to Las Vegas for the circus that is the apparel tradeshows. After seeing 4 shows in 2 days I was back to the daily grind for a few days before flying to NYC for the New York Fashion Week spectacle. I’ve been bombarded with so much in so little time, it’s been hard to find a moment to process everything but here are my thoughts on what I saw the past few weeks.
VEGAS TRADESHOWS OVERVIEW
I left Vegas disappointingly uninspired. I’ve been going to the tradeshows in Vegas for over 6 years (that’s 12+ plus shows because they are twice a year) and this was the most depressing show I have been to. The hype and excitement surrounding “streetwear” 3 years ago was gone. Streetwear has been dead for at least the past year or two but if there was any doubt about it, “streetwear” in the 21st century incarnation is completely defunct.
S.L.A.T.E. at M.A.G.I.C. was the most depressing of the shows. It was the same brands, showing the same thing. Sure, the economy played a role in the bleak atmosphere but the somberness trickled down to the clothes. Everyone was playing it safe – no risks were taken, no exciting new pieces to discover. Brands just pumped out more of the same and made what they KNEW would sell. The most exciting thing about S.L.A.T.E. was running into Claw$ who was signing her Mountain Dew Green Label Art bottles.
Pool was showing at the Las Vegas Convention Center as well and had a much more optimistic offering of indie designers. While the established brands were playing it safe, it was refreshing to see new brands born at Pool filled with new life and vitality, while also seeing established brands continuing to expand their product offering.
Project was smaller than usual but had a solid offering of brands. What surprised me most was that there was very little apparel that I found exciting. If you’ve seen our coverage from Project over the past week you may have noticed that we focused on a lot of footwear. From Melissa x Vivienne Westwood, Puma x Sergio Rossi and Reebok x Uslu, the most exciting products were born from footwear collaborations, or in the case of CeCe Chin Collection, out of debut footwear collections.
The most refreshing part of the Vegas Tradeshows was Capsule, a small selective tradeshow that reminded me of the early days of Pool when brands just had racks in a ballroom at the Alexis Park Hotel. Capsule highlighted the best of the best contemporary men’s sportswear and footwear. The women’s offering was pretty sparse, and I’m hoping that the coming shows will bring in more women’s brands of the same caliber.
VEGAS TRADESHOWS FINAL THOUGHTS
Financial analysts have something different to say about the state of the economy every day – one day it’s on an upswing, the next it’s still tumbling. I understand why a brand would want to play it safe in these uncertain times but I’m not sure safe is going to sell. People aren’t buying the way they used to – new pieces either need to add something new and exciting to existing wardrobes or need to add incredible value.
When people aren’t spending as much on apparel and making due with what they have, why would they buy something safe and expected (and probably similar to something already hanging in their closets?) I think that might be why I was most drawn to accessories at the shows – shoes, bags and jewelry are an easy way to create new looks without having to buy a whole new wardrobe. A different shoe and accessories can completely change a look.
New York fashion week was definitely more exciting than the Vegas tradeshows – doesn’t really compare. There’s more glamour, I mean we’re in the tents at Bryant Park! The Spring 2010 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was particularly exciting because it was the first Fashion Week that I attended with M.I.S.S. credentials. From my own press pass to invitations to shows and events, M.I.S.S. made giant strides in NY.
That’s not to say we were invited to Marc Jacobs or anything – we weren’t – but we’re taking baby steps and we’re ever grateful to the brands that do value our input and wanted us there to report on their lines. We hope they appreciate our insight to their collections.
From tent shows, to shows off-site, to parties and store openings, the M.I.S.S. team was running deep with several of us at different shows at the same time – we tried to cover as much ground as we could. The M.I.S.S. writers holding down the fort at home gave you their opinions on the collections that we didn’t get to see ourselves, because we felt like you would want to hear about those collections as well. Many thanks go out to the entire M.I.S.S. team – from writers to graphic designers – who are helping to bring you the coverage you want to see.
There’s been a few days lag time on some NYFW posts because it’s been exhausting going to all the events – the M.I.S.S. ladies need their beauty rest! The next few days you’ll see our coverage, and I hope that you’re as excited to see it, as we are bringing it to you.
Eyes to the sky, Ears to the street
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- Candela NYC Spring 2010 Footwear Preview