As the bigger North American shows wrap up in New York City, the season looks ahead and switches gears slightly for Los Angeles, with its lively downtown trade and showroom business. Covering 100 blocks of downtown, the LA Fashion District features more than 2000 independently owned businesses, 80% of which are devoted solely to wholesale. The biggest tradeshow action happens with the variety of shows at the California Market Center and then D&A (14-16 October), which is across the street at The New Mart.
Designers & Agents is coming off an energizing run in New York. “We are expecting the momentum to carry through to LA. We are excited about both the high return rate of our participating brands and the addition of approximately 30 new collections,” says Managing Director Meryl Mandelbaum.
Attendees can look forward to that special D&A family feeling of warmth and camaraderie, for which the show is famous. “Given the fact the D&A show producers are ourselves agents and have spent considerable time at trade shows over the years. Creating a new model for D&A was a priority from the beginning,” says Mendalbaum. “We have a combination of authentic, independent brands that are screened and curated along with our mission; which is not merely to fill booths but to create a destination for retailers and designers to do business and be inspired. We recognize our place in the scheme of things and our responsibility to our exhibitors and buyers, which is to have standards and not waste anyone's precious time. There is a sense of community and shared perspective and of course a successful show makes everyone happy.”
Buyers can look forward to brands from Japan and Europe, a niche that D&A fills for the LA customer, as well as cool independent, American brands. There are a number of new collections this season as well as sustainable brands and charitable initiatives like En Shalla’s new Food Bag Foundation, a company that works with women in need to embroider recycled food bags in Marrakech.
“We like to say that we are not a supermarket, we are a gourmet store,” Mandelbaum says. “Designers & Agents is a writing show, which at the end of the day is what it's all about. Good business, good atmosphere, good food and good vibes, making the whole trade show experience a pleasure.”
The California Market Center, conveniently across the street, is a destination at market time, with open showrooms and enough trade show businesses to fill retail needs for months and months to come. “October is the busiest time of year for California Market Center with 10 events taking place over three weeks,” says the building’s Senior Marketing Director, Becca Dawson. In addition to the LA Textile Market in early October, the season kicks into high gear in the middle of the month with five different events that cater to men, women and children’s fashion including the popular Label Array show.
These events also mark a farewell to the old and a sneak peak to the new. By January 2020, all CMC showrooms and events will cozy into their new home, a 13-story complex that will serve as a mixed-use campus featuring top-of-the-line fashion showrooms, creative offices and modern event spaces. This will be the largest transformation since the building’s inception in 1962.
The renovation also sees the CMC advancing their sustainable practices in terms of digital signage and the elimination of single-use, plastic show badges. And, seeing as October is Sustainability Month, no better time than to announce the CMC’s partnership with Fashiondex to present the 3rd edition of the Sustainable Fashion Forum, a one-day conference focused on ways fashion businesses can become leaders in climate change, environmental sustainability and ethical responsibility. And let’s not forget about the return of Vegan Fashion Week for LA Market Week, an event dedicated to elevating ethical fashion globally and empowering conscious brands and their cruelty-free fashion and vegan designer collections.
Last but certainly not least, The LA Men’s Market is always a CMC hot hit which has grown, organically, for the past six years. “We started the show on the 4th floor of the California Market Center where brands showcased their collections in different rooms,” says Show Director, Sannia Shahid. “It was a small show but was a success. We wanted to keep the momentum going. We kept putting efforts towards growing the show by getting key brands and buyers. Now we take over the entire 10th floor of the CMC, an open floor plan but still stick to our roots by creating an intimate environment.”
With most LA shows geared towards women, the LA Men’s Show has made its mark by celebrating the growing men’s fashion segment. “Los Angeles has this remarkable energy. People in LA are not scared to mix it up and take risks,” continues Shahid. “They are trendsetters and making a ton of noise. We want to be a part of this. We want to bring menswear back to LA. Every season we evolve, beyond catering to our existing brands, we add key new additions. Buyer attendance is our focus, including major department, international accounts and top boutiques. Beyond the business of brands and buyers, we aim to incubate the chance encounter that happens at these events that births the next movement or trend that we all can’t get enough of.”
It looks to be a sensational upcoming Market Week in sunny Los Angeles, a market that is continually evolving, making its presence and importance known more and more each season.