More space equaled more business during the Feb. 23-25 run of the alternative upscale streetwear trade show Pool (www.pooltradeshow.com). The shows new location, the Las Vegas Hilton Convention Center, housed approximately 300 exhibitors and included a newly added shoe area that featured ultra-hop sneakers and footwear from brands such as Adidas, Reebok,, Puma, C-Label, N.Y.L.A., Sugar and Vans. Another area called the "Private Arena," located at the very back of the space and taking up the entire back wall, featured booths from well-established brands and new comers to the show, Fornarina, Joie Jeans, Gsus, Generra, J. Lindeberg, Theory and Sixty USA, showing their Miss Sixty, Energie and Killah lines.

Attendance was significantly up. Rhonda Walker, Pool's founder and organizer, said attendance doubled from last year's show, held at the Alexis Park Resort, attracting approximately 5000 buyers. Some of the retailers shopping the show were Los Angeles-based Fred Segal Melrose, Boston-based Allston Beat, Atlanta-based The Standard, San Francisco-based Villains and department store Bloomingdales. "All the right stores were there," said Walker, who also mentioned that Barney's New York got approved to attend the show next season. (The department store doesn't travel to tradeshows outside of New York, according to Walker).

The styles were mixed for fall/winter '04. Aside from an array of cool jeans, screened t-shirts and zip-up hoodies for men and women, collections offered a very broad range of looks.

Apex Museum's mod equestrian theme was impressive. The men's collection showcased a limited edition "Mohawk Bomber Jacket" that features detachable synthetic fur on the hood that can be worn in Mohawk mode or standard mode. For women, it was all about dolman sleeve v-neck tops, stripes and tweed bottoms.

Men's wear label Pure Fusion offered nice shots of color in its collection. A blue tartan blazer, striped button-front shirts and a fuchsia rooster screenprint on a black tee were all eye catchers.

Young women's label Kitten did sexy skate punk styles with gothic undertones. Bleach splattered denim pants and mini's, graffiti graphics and spider-web prints on tops and dresses came with 80's-esque accessories like pins and lightening bolt necklaces.

Dirty Laundry had a punk edge, but theirs was contrasted with glitz. Hand-stitched tops with a homemade feel were appliqued with metallic skull and cross bones and either came sprinkled with crystals or surrounded by cutesy flowers or argyle appliques.

Designer Freddi Rojas took a queue from LaCoste and sewed on large-scale alligators on the fronts of his polo shirts for men and polo dresses for women, adding his usual quirky touch.

The show wasn't all quirkiness and casual though. Women's labels like Luscious, Lemon Twist, Nisa and For*Mos took a simpler approach to the season, showing solid-colored knits, pretty dresses and skirts and an overall grown-up look.

--Joselle Yokogawa