Three trade shows — the new Project show, The Collective and To Be Confirmed — showcased the spring 2004 collections of hundreds of apparel brands in New York City on July 20-22. Focused mostly on menswear, the three shows ran simultaneously in three different venues.
Project, the brand new menswear show, made a strong debut at the Puck Building in SoHo. Launched by retailer Sam Ben-Avraham, owner of New York specialty store Atrium, Project featured two floors and approximately 80 vendors. Brands ran the gamut from Valentino R.E.D. and Sixty’s Energie, both from Italy, to New York-based up-and-comers such as Anthony Caputo and Duckie Brown. Prominent fashion trends at Project included tropical and surfer themes, distressed denim and washed-out colors and a bevy of embroidered or embellished woven shirts. Exhibitors there were especially pleased with the show’s attention to service and the venue’s generous supply of natural light, which poured in through the Puck Building’s extra-large loft windows.
The Collective, now in its 23rd year, focused its sportswear and directional menswear offerings in two aisles called The Section. With approximately 65 exhibitors, The Section included better denim companies such as FRX , Earl Jeans and the new men’s denim line Da’Mage as well as Custo Barcelona from Spain. ENK International produced the show on Pier 94 on the west side of midtown Manhattan.
TBC returned to the Starrett-Lehigh building on West 26th Street and showcased approximately 100 young, street-influenced brands. Newcomers included Loose Leaf from California and Red Toenails, a one-year-old reworked vintage, rock 'n’ roll-inspired brand from Brooklyn. More established names included Nike White Label and Paul Smith Red Ear. New buyers’ lounges and potted palms strategically placed between the racks lent a more business-friendly and serious atmosphere to TBC but a live DJ and an overwhelming twenty- and thirtysomething crowd kept the mood young and hip. Music was a fashion influence on the TBC clothes as well, especially on clubwear and T-shirt graphics. Tropical island themes were also prominent, and were seen in designs from brands such as Trovata, Triko and Block Headwear, among many others.
(Christopher Blomquist, US Features Editor)