Southern California is emerging as a hot spot for fashion showcases in 2022, as new trade shows debut and a longstanding footwear event grows in a new location.
Fresh off The IR Show’s successful debut in San Diego, organizer Gary Hauss is already busy planning special activities for the trade show’s next event, on Aug. 2-3.
“I’m in the process of buying a big block of tickets for the Padres vs. Rockies game, so we’ll all be there together on the first night of the show. And on the second night, we’ll host a big party,” Hauss said.
The IR Show, which relocated to the San Diego Convention Center, featured 170 exhibitors at its inaugural event earlier this month and attracted buyers from smaller independent and regional chains who hailed from roughly 26 states.
The brand roster heavily favored the comfort category, with names like Birkenstock, Clarks, Aetrex, Rockport, Vionic and Dansko, though Hauss said about a dozen brands from the work category also participated, as well as several fashion labels, including Miz Mooz and A.S. 98. He told FN for the August edition, he aims to feature more price-point and high-end fashion brands.
In the meantime, technology firm FashionGo is set to host its first in-person trade show on May 3-5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, Calif.
Founded in 2002, FashionGo serves as a business-to-business online marketplace that hosts some 1,800 brands and works with around 1 million registered buyers, the company recently told FN’s sister publication WWD. In August 2020, it launched a virtual trade show, but this marks its first foray into the physical space.
To organize the venture, it partnered with industry veteran Tom Nastos, former president and CEO of both UBM Fashion, which owns Magic, Project and Coterie, and ENK International.
Nastos said the first FashionGo Palm Springs show is expected to offer 300 brands in women’s ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear. And a second event there, slated for July 26-28, is expected to host 450 women’s vendors. A Third show is scheduled to take place at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City from Nov. 5-7.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a group of footwear brands are organizing a special shoe showcase during the upcoming L.A. Market Week. Dubbed The Pivot Show, the event will be held at The New Mart on March 7-9 (with setup on March 6). It will feature more than a dozen fashion-focused collections, including Ilse Jacobsen, Rollie, Frye, JSlides, Jeffrey Campbell, Oncept and more.
Dan Butler, national sales manager for Lines of Denmark (which distributes Ilse Jacobsen and Rollie), is one of the organizers of the grassroots event. He told FN that the group was motivated by a lack of show options in the area that would allow them participate or offered value.
Thus, a united effort: “After establishing our own beautiful showroom in L.A., we realized that by ourselves, we just weren’t a compelling enough choice to become a priority for retailers at the show to schedule time to visit,” said Butler. “I believe with the brands we have assembled, and camaraderie we all share, this new option will become a priority for all retailers to visit.”