Market Week can become a bit timeworn: same brands, same spaces, same paths. But the Los Angeles Fall 2017 shows at the California Market Center and New Mart were refreshing and dynamic. Perhaps that new life came with the debut of Source British Tradeshow or the growth of Capsule and Axis. Or maybe it was just the invigorating fall season ahead. Nevertheless, all the shows were energetic and busy without a sign of ennui among them.
The California Market Center opened up its showrooms for the occasion in addition to the first floor contemporary brands of the dependable Select x Emerge show. The elevator ride to the 13th floor penthouse, however, revealed most of the action. The curved hallways led to the Transit footwear show, ALT and its collection of athleisure and the Coeur gift and home show. But the season belonged to Source and Capsule.
Source, dubbed “Great Brands from Great Britain,” spanned apparel, crafts, gifts, footwear, home and accessories. The first US tradeshow to showcase solely British brands, “British design and craftsmanship have long been revered by US buyers. With Source British in Los Angeles, West Coast buyers are being offered the extraordinary opportunity to explore Britain's top brands in one convenient LA Market trip,” says Joanne Lee, Senior Vice President of Tradeshows & Marketing at the CMC.
No doubt it’s a talented little island. From the organic cotton soft toys of Chunki Chili to the expertly detailed, luxurious equestrian inspired bags of Equi-Scuto, the Source show had so much to offer. Glen Appin is a great little Scottish brand showcasing tartan kilts and all things Harris Tweed including fantastic handbags, wallets, flasks and weekend bags. Hedon brought their take on motorbike and cycle helmets across the pond that have to be seen to be believed in copper, silver and all sorts of cool colors and just as comfy. Satanic Mill showed their collection of inspired, theme-based painting men’s dress shirts that run the gamut from a Pollock painting to William Blake poetry. Belfast is proud of their Attune Womenswear and the brand’s soft, three color layering system while Roy Lowe & Sons make socks that fit like a dream and won’t ever slip down your foot. There were too many other brands to name along with wine from the UK and a hosted tea room featuring scrumptious scones, too.
Down a few hallways from Source, the building opened up to LA’s version of Capsule and the work of its newly appointed women’s show Director, Joanne Mohr. Capsule can’t be all its grown to be in New York but Mohr brought a great representation that feels really good in LA. “The Capsule team has curated an event where buyers may discover 'new/next' designers,” she says. “We will capitalize on that strength and begin to invite established brands. Together the new and known collections will provide a powerful buying marketplace for retailers.”
Eight Tees makes basic tee shirts that will have you rethinking boring solids with their super soft hand feel and great fit. C. Bonz came down for the show from Portland with their adorable take on comfort dressing. The brand’s yummy micro fleece can be dressed up with heels or worn super casual with cool little patches and hidden pockets, even in the micro fleece panties!
MPG is a brand that bridges the gap, literally and figuratively, between the main Capsule show and its Axis, swim and athleisure section. Sandwiched well in between the show and show-within-a-show, MPG had their tech pieces with firm dance heritage, as illustrated by Julianne Huff, the MPG brand ambassador. Their machine washable silk, mesh detailing and reasonable prices would make anyone dance.
“Axis has evolved as a hot category in retail,” says Mohr, “so it is a natural segment within Capsule as an added shopping experience for buyers.” The space was full of new athleisure and swim styles from the likes of S.I.E. Swim, based out of Hawaii, a perfect place for the birth of a swimsuit brand, but manufactured in LA, the perfect place to wear a swimsuit. The company’s owner is a surfer so the line includes body suits, wet suits and all manner of bikini. Khewella is a bathing suit brand that prides itself on empowering women and creating suits that flatter and take away the terror of bathing suit season. The line’s tropical-inspired collection was born on the beaches of Brazil but created by a native of Turkey. Shoppers also got a taste of Capsule’s Market Square, the show’s cash and carry section open, surprisingly, to the public and featuring brands like Charlotte Stone, Floss Gloss, Luda Vintage, Seek Collective and much more.
Breaking away from the CMC penthouse and crossing 9th Street to the New Mart brought about another installment of Designers & Agents, LA edition. This always-friendly family of brands displayed the show’s usual warmth and no nonsense business. New Scotland was there with their quirky, fun collection of Cashmere and Italian fiber sweaters that look very Celtic even though the designers do not hail from Scotland. Mexicana footwear has a decidedly international take on cool leather boots and sneakers. Based in France and Italy but manufactured in Mexico and retailing for about $400, these star spangled boots have been a hit in Europe for two decades and have just hit US shores where they are sure to sell well.
Brothers and Sisters showroom is fortunate to have such great brands and they brought their entire line. Jet by John Eshaya featured a hand cut Parisian sweatshirt. The former Ron Herman stylist clearly knows what women want. R&R Surplus brought their surplus knit dressing, vintage army jackets with added hoods, etc. Illia had their crave-worthy velvet, hand dyed pieces, angora and suede styles. Go by Go Silk continues the Go Silk tradition of wearable, washable silk. And Brown Allen showed eco-friendly merino cashmere and, the new trend, sweaters made from yak hair.
All in all, a big and, most importantly, successful fall show for Los Angeles that will start the season off at a steady cantor.