Mike Sampson. Photo by Robert Kley

Mike Sampson. Photo by Robert Kley

Trade Show Veteran Mike Sampson Unveils Commotion

Trade show veteran Mike Sampson unveiled the inaugural Commotion direct-to-consumer show Feb. 5 in downtown Las Vegas.The weather was unseasonably cold during the first run of the show, but Sampson wasn't going to let frosty temperatures get in the way. There was a party to throw, bands that needed to perform, and new fashions that needed to be shown.

Commotion took place at events space Fergusons Market in the Alley. About 15 brands exhibited at show, including Stance, Nobis, Psycho Bunny, Atelier & Repairs, Dickies, and Dirtymilk. Most of these brands also exhibited at the high-profile, sprawling B-to-B trade shows doing business during the past week. These shows are familiar territory for Sampson. He helped launch trade shows such as Enk NYC and Enk Vegas. He thought that brands need additional forums to talk about their styles.

“The trade show model is challenged. It’s too careful,” Sampson said. Zappos.com, headquartered in downtown Las Vegas, helped produce Commotion, said Audrea Hooper, Zappos' head of fungineering & brand experiences.


Wild Eyes. Photo by Andrew Asch

At Commotion, brands displayed and sold their styles in open, 10 by 10 booths. Artisans also were available to customize clothes. Bands such as Wild Eyes from Nashville performed. Pizza, hamburgers and tacos, and of course, drinks were served.

This production of a pop-up market and a party might sound familiar. Reed Exhibitions’ productions ComplexCon and Agenda Festival run similar show models of producing pop-markets for brands. However, ComplexCon And Agenda Festival were launched as much larger affairs, with hundreds of vendors exhibiting.

Commotion’s next step will be to produce events similar to the inaugural show, but in towns on the Eastern Seaboard. Sampson said that shows and venues have not been scheduled yet.

Daniel Antonio of Dirtymilk said that this set-up is great forum for designers and brands. "It's about meeting people and talking to them about the brands," he said. Antonio unveiled his brand's Addition Series at Commotion.


Daniel Antonio. Photo by Robert Kley