Project Sets New Standards
The Project N:OW section holds the key to the sprawling Project trade show’s future, said Lizette Chin, Informa Markets’president of men’s, who oversees the giant shows.
She said that Project N:OW will set the standard for the entire show, which ran Aug. 12–14 in the mall-sized North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Project N:OW focuses on limited-edition collections that are at the leading edge of fashion. “N:OW is the future for us,” Chin said. “We are going to use the template of N:OW to expand that across our show floor and make this big show feel like a series of small, curated experiences.”
The recent Project also saw the introduction of the One Campus organization. For the first time in memory, all Informa shows were put on in one convention center.
Thulani Ngazimbi, founder of The Rad Black Kids brand, exhibited at N:OW. He gave high marks to the new setup. “Having everything together at the Las Vegas Convention Center gave us more traffic. Buyers were not exhausted from trekking around from one convention center to the next,” he said. For the upcoming February show, Project will move to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.Then it will return to the Las Vegas Convention Center in August, where it will make its home for the next decade, Chin said.
Fred Levine, co-owner of the M.Fredric specialty stores, also applauded the One Campus setup. “People hate change,” he said. “But the transition seemed smooth.”
At the show, Levine noticed some major trends. “Animal is back and bigger than ever—leopard, zebra, snake, any animal print. I thought that it had run its course,” he said. “But like tie-dye, it doesn’t go away. I saw animal prints from every category, from designer to budget.”
Levine also noted that bricks-and-mortar retailers have a lot to worry about with much of the attention focused on mounting competition from digital retailers. “Their buying is sharper, they have nailed down returns [policies],” he said. “They’re doing a great job. They’re turning on more people to online. The only option is to sharpen your game. [Bricks-and-mortar retailers] must sharpen customer service and work with precision buying. You have no room for mistakes.”