Best known for his showroom Derelicte in LA, Jason Bates launched CLASS, the Santa Monica showcase of premium sportswear, in March 2008. (The next edition of CLASS runs next week, Feb. 2-3.) Bates also recently announced that he has entered a licensing agreement with ASR to launch a new show, CLASS @ ASR, in San Diego in September. Here, part two of Sportswear International’s exclusive online interview (part one was published on Jan. 28) with CLASS’ founder on the show’s success, his plans and what’s on his hot list.



Do you have plans to launch CLASS elsewhere domestically? Internationally?

We love being on the West Coast, so there are no plans to launch other CLASS shows domestically. Internationally, we’re keeping our options open.



Speaking generally, what are the best trade shows worth going to and what do
you like about them (besides your own)?


Two of the best shows I’ve been to are the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair and the ICFF trade show. They are both well-orchestrated events with a crossover mix of categories that bring freshness to the industry. I like shows that feature great design elements that are presented positively and professionally.



You could say there are plenty, perhaps too many, shows to attend. What
advice do you give to exhibitors and buyers on which shows they should attend?


My advice is for exhibitors and buyers to support shows that help them cut costs, make money, and support their local and regional efforts. At the end of the day, people have to do the math and look at the quality of stores and brands that are present and focus from a budgetary standpoint.



How do you see the trade show circuit evolving in the next year?

Over the next year, I think we’re going to see a lot of changes in the trade show circuit. The larger shows are eventually going to dissolve because they are too segmented and out of touch. The smaller regional shows are the future because these models are more interesting and are better able to adapt to economic changes and new environments.



What is the state of LA's fashion industry? What has to change?

LA’s fashion industry has tons of exciting new talent as well as industry veterans. Coming up, we’re going to see some necessary change: designers are going back to the drawing boards and are getting better and more innovative. Constriction breeds creativity, and only those that can be lean, fast moving and resourceful will thrive.



What's the status of Derelicte showroom?

Derelicte continues to be a showroom with great agents, brands and reps. We do a consistent job to help businesses flourish. We’re working with some strong brands like WeSC, 24 Standard, Design by Humans, Kunna and Lucre Eyewear. Our business is up 30% from last year!



What other projects do you have your hands in right now?

Between CLASS, CLASS @ ASR and the Derelicte showroom, I’ve got my hands full right now.



What's your current feeling about next week's show?

I’m very excited about next week’s show. This season, CLASS will have the opportunity to show the world what we’re capable of doing and how well our community can come together to inspire successful changes. CLASS is representative of this necessary change and goal for greatness that is inspiring us all not only to persevere but also make ourselves better.



What and who's on your radar for fall ’09?

Operations and Howe both look really good; William Rast is promising, as is Naked and Famous Denim. Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow 1960 jewelry line reflects the new change for edgy fashion at accessible price points. Retailers are looking for a fresh brand mix at value driven prices. Everyone is focused on getting out of this hit that we’ve taken, so people are not going to be able to overcharge for the same design. People want something different – a new perspective.