Brand Assembly Branches Out


Brand Assembly’s emerging-designers section


Rachel Ruddich at Brand Assembly

This season, Brand Assembly expanded to 112 brands.

“It’s our biggest show ever,” said Alex Repola, who produces the upscale contemporary trade show with Hillary France.

For the Oct. 12–14 run of the show, Brand Assembly expanded to fill the space on the top floor of the Cooper Design Space. (In the past, Brand Assembly shared the space with the Coeur trade show during the March and October markets. This season, Coeur moved to a new venue a few blocks away. See related story, this issue.)

France said the expanded space allowed the show to add more exhibitors and create a larger emerging-designers section in the center of the show. Brand Assembly featured a mix of apparel and accessories collections.

“We want it to be a curated show so buyers can find everything to fill their stores,” France said.

Traffic at the show was steady, France said on the second day of the show. “Yesterday was really good despite it being Columbus Day.”

Returning exhibitor Elizabeth Lewis, owner of the SYDNY showroom, represents and distributes Australian lines such as Tiger Lily and Ministry of Style.

“It’s always consistent and a really nice group of buyers and great brands,” Lewis said, adding that she saw buyers from across California as well as Florida, the Midwest and the South.

“Everyone is talking about the weather,” Lewis said, adding that her transitional collections are a good fit for retailers needing to fill in inventories with more warm-weather pieces.

“We’re doing a lot of Immediates because of that,” she said.

Another returning collection at the show was Calvin Rucker, the Los Angeles–based line designed by Joie Rucker and Caroline Calvin.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of our favorite accounts come back,” Calvin said.

This season, the designers split their denim offerings into its own group, separate from the Calvin Rucker collection.

“It warranted having its own story in the Calvin Rucker way,” Rucker said. “We’re targeting other accounts that possibly don’t carry the collection but would be interested in the denim.”

The Spring line is inspired by sirens—“which is what we call mermaids gone bad,” Calvin said.

Calvin and Rucker worked with UK-born, LA-based artist Steven Bryan, who created several prints to convey the theme, including a black-and-white coral print and a moody print created from an aerial shot of a stormy sea.

“We had the concept of using layered chiffon to make things look like they’re underwater,” Rucker said.

New exhibitors to Brand Assembly included Leonarda Barbieri, showroom manager for Showroom 212, based in New York, who was showing the collection for Brazilian designer Cecilia Prado.

“Yesterday was good for us,” Barbieri said on the second day of the show. “We’re trying to do more shows on the West Coast. It’s an area we want to grow.”

This was also the first time showing at Brand Assembly for Solid & Striped, a 3-year-old swimwear, ready-to-wear and accessories collection from New York.

Sales Director Chelsea Lachowicz said the company is looking to open more West Coast stores. Lachowicz said most of the retailers she saw at Brand Assembly were West Coast based but added, “We see everyone else in New York and Paris.”

Lynn Rosetti, owner of the #8 New York showroom, was another new exhibitor at Brand Assembly, but she had showed at Coeur last season.

“I like the Cooper building,” she said.

Rosetti represents several accessories collections, including jewelry lines Poupette and Vanessa Lianne as well as several handbag lines, including Rosetti’s own Oliveve line plus Hare + Hart; Marie Turnor, a Los Angeles–made collection of bags crafted from Italian leather; and a new collection, Rachel Ruddich.

Rosetti said she was pleased with the show. “It’s the brands we want to be with,” she said. “There hasn’t been a ton of traffic, but they were writing.”