Apparel and accessories trade show Industry 212 didn't have any competition this year during its new June 2 - 4 run. But according to some, that may not have worked toward the shows advantage. The new dates come as part of an overall effort to re-brand the show, according to organizers, whose efforts also included a re-merchandised show floor, fashion stillwalks (a display area that showcased upcoming trends for retailers) and new marketing strategies.

Last year, Industry 212 was held May 2 - 4 and overlapped with other fashion trade shows Moda Manhattan and Intermezzo. This year, organizers moved the show up to not compete. The result: reports of slower traffic from exhibitors and a 16% decrease in overall attendance compared to last year.

The June show (one of 3 each year) featured 350 or so exhibitors who showcased more than 600 lines in categories including junior, young contemporary, better contemporary, streetwear and accessories. That's another significant drop from this years January show which featured approximately 500 exhibitors and more than 3000 lines. (Show organizers were unable to provide last May's exhibitor and line information.) Still, organizers were optimistic. "We are quite satisfied with the attendance and are pleased with the event," said Ernae Mothershed, Public Relations Manager. "As one of the first stand-alone markets for Industry 212, this event was a success." Unfortunately, not everyone agreed.

"I don't think separating the shows was a good thing," said Eric Choi, president of Miss Me, a Los Angeles-based young contemporary apparel manufacturer that exhibits at Industry 212 three times a year. "I'd like to see the show moved back to May." Choi said his company didn't see as many upscale boutiques at this show who usually come from Intermezzo to buy pieces from his line.

Exhibitors in the streetwear section also reported slow traffic. Kim Montenegro, owner of men's and women's combat-inspired clothing label Submission, Inc., jeans label Motor and Philadelphia, PA-based retail store Very Bad Horse, said she came to the show to get new retail accounts. But by the second day of the show, she had only landed two. When asked if she would bring her labels back, Montenegro said, "Maybe. But we'll see."

"It seems like it's getting slower every year," said Lesley Vonderheide of New York-based Mobile Showroom, who was selling the young contemporary apparel and accessories label Emily The Strange. Vonderheide added that the show was still worth doing however she felt it lacked a certain excitement.

For new labels, on the other hand, Industry 212 was a good vehicle for exposure and introduction into the market. "This show is giving me presence," said Miami, FL-based Tricia Fix, owner/designer of her self-titled colorful and funky clothing and accessories line consisting of reworked vintage pieces and sports gear for women. In the same booth, co-owners Cheryl Waltuch and Eli Naranjo were selling Not Your Average, a line of tee's and tanks with tongue in cheek screen printed sayings such as "I survived Hebrew school" and "P.S. I sold your stuff." The label is already carried in several major boutiques in its native Miami, but Waltuch and Naranjo said the show has opened many new markets for them on the east coast.

After a two-year hiatus in the US market, women's sportswear label Esprit is back. The publicly traded company, whose design and marketing is based in Germany, imaging and branding based in New York and production based in Hong Kong, recently relaunched in the US and was at the show specifically to market itself to independent retail chains and boutiques. "The show's been good for us," said Tim Gorgol, executive sales manager, who also noted Esprit's intention to do more novelty shows like Industry 212 to market the label to the industry.

The next installment of Industry 212 is scheduled for September 26 - 28. For more information on Industry 212 log onto

Joselle Yokogawa, Features Editor