International Turnout at Accessories The Show, Stitch and MRKET
If you were hearing a few foreign accents around the MRKET show, it’s because 14 percent of the buyers attending the menswear event were from out of the country, according to Britton Jones, president and chief executive of BJI Fashion Group, which is part of Business Journals Inc. in Norwalk, Conn.
“MRKET was shopped by upscale retailers from 49 states and 46 countries,” Jones noted.
MRKET and BJI Fashion Group’s other two shows, Stitch (formerly Moda LV) and Accessories The Show, saw attendance rise 12 percent over last year, and the amount of space allotted for booths also increased 12 percent.
The shows were held Aug. 19–21 at The Venetian hotel and were part of the six trade shows that made up Modern Assembly, a new concept that tries to help buyers reduce the amount of time traveling from show to show by providing one-stop shopping. Modern Assembly also included Agenda, Liberty and Capsule.
Attendees at the Stitch show had mixed reviews. “It was a little weak, foot-traffic wise,” said Rebecca Dennis, an account executive for Sue Wong, the well-known Los Angeles line of evening wear and cocktail dresses designed by Sue Wong. “We did a lot of legwork to get our own traffic there, and that was pretty much all that showed. …Our concern is that there are too many shows at once. It just spreads the buyers too thin.”
Sita Thompson, who founded Los Angeles–based Sita Couture in 2008, was a little disappointed that her booth was tucked away toward the back of the show, but she registered late for the August show. Last time, her booth was in a corner spot at the front, which produced a flurry of orders.
Thompson said she rose to the occasion and decorated her booth with an eye-catching banner and pushed mannequins attired in her contemporary women’s fashions out into the aisle. That helped open a chain of resorts based in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and aided in acquiring a number of road reps to take her line out to stores.
“Being in the back, it wasn’t as loud, so we were able to have a couple of strong meetings with reps, and at the end of the day it was thumbs up,” Thompson said. “It was slower than last time. We had one day when there were no other shows open, and everyone killed it.”
At the last show, she opened 19 to 20 new accounts. This time, she established only eight or nine new accounts. One of her retail clients, Portofino in Beverly Hills, was too busy roaming through Project and WWDMAGIC to make it to Stitch. “There are too many shows going on out there right now,” Thompson, like many, observed.
Ben Kotler, the national sales manager at Nally & Millie in Los Angeles, was new to the Stitch show. For nearly five years, the line of casual womenswear opted to show at WWDMAGIC. But Kotler felt WWDMAGIC had become too fragmented, affecting buyer traffic.
“I thought the Stitch show was terrific,” Kotler said. “We thought the venue was very pleasant, and the ambience was very good. The overall feeling of the show was real comfortable.”
It was also good for business. “We did very well. We were very busy,” he said.
Nearby at the MRKET show, attendees were happy with traffic coming through the aisles. “For us, it was pretty good,” said Justin Remeny, president of Remy Leathers in Los Angeles.