The spring/summer 2011 NYC menswear market concluded on Tuesday on what most reported was a very upbeat note, especially compared to last year. Here is a summary of the latest round of shows, which given the unbearably hot temperatures, were all conveniently held within a 12-block stretch of one another.


After successfully revamping its Collective show format with a new name and set-up in January, ENK International’s second edition of ENK NY continued to build momentum. Held July 18-20 at The Tunnel/LaVenue space in Chelsea, the show featured hundreds of brands in its four sections but still kept its intimate and welcoming atmosphere. The Tmrw section, featuring about 40 directional and up-and-coming brands, was the largest to date and held away from the rest of the show on the third floor. The fact that it was segregated from the rest of ENK NY somehow added to visitors’ perceptions that they would make a special hidden and tucked-away discovery here. And the product assortment did not disappoint, ranging from old-school dark denim blue jeans by First Standard and 1980s themed tees by UK-based Raw Power to faux denim bathing suits by Sundek by Neil Barrett (the new collaborative collection made its US debut at the show) and a great spring collection inspired by old French children’s books from New York-based designer Antonio Azzuolo. Back downstairs, in the Blue and Designers’ Collective sections, generally busy booths showed a wide variety of fresh merchandise. While there were far too many impressive items and collections to mention here, a few standout pieces included swim trunks emblazoned with an Japanese print of a wave from T-shirt brand Paste, 100% Tencel jeans by Agave, J.A.C.H.’s brand-new denim collection, a V-neck stub hoodie by Original Penguin, a buttery soft light brown leather jacket from Parajumpers and an immensely sellable collection from the Dutch brand No Excess. Denim-wise, washes remained generally dark (though several brands showed lightweight jeans) and fit-wise, skinny styles show no signs of dying. Chinos and chambray pieces were also dominant and it seemed that every collection had at least one piece in the traditional nautical combo of blue and white.


In its largest showing to date, the well-edited progressive menswear platform Capsule, held July 19-20, occupied four floors of Center 548, the former headquarters of the DIA art foundation. Collections were impressive and well designed for the most part, with fabrications more luxurious in feel but still price-conscious. Key trends included relaxed-meets-tailored separates, palettes of indigo, gray, jade, red and neutrals, denim tunics, cotton vests, splattered/bleach denim, Baja-inspired and Liberty-like prints, patchwork, contrasting colored lapels and collars, pique polos, hoodies, seersucker, blazers and surf-inspired separates. Shoes and other leather accessories remained anchored to woodland and artisanal inspirations, while bags sported more color. Brand highlights of the show included Sunspel, Camo, Post Overalls, Soulland, Shades of Greige, Penfield, Remi Relief, John Bartlett, Kitsune and Factotum. “The progressive menswear scene is growing as more and more attention is coming to this top tier segment of the market which is represented at Capsule,” said Edina Sultanik, a principal at BPMW, which produces the show. “This top tier menswear consumer who is looking for high quality, unique, independently owned collections is shopping more than ever, and retailers are upbeat. They are adjusting their brand assortments, looking to differentiate themselves from the competition by focusing on more exclusivity and tightening up the number of brands they feature in their stores, choosing to focus on a few select brands in a bigger way.”

Agenda NY

The first New York edition of Agenda, the California-based trade show that unites streetwear and action sports, took place July 19-20. Sixty brands showed their spring 2011 highlights on three floors in the Chelsea Art Museum, which is directly next door to Capsule’s venue. Show director Aaron Levant declared the new event a success. "New York City is simply amazing, we got a lot of buyers for all the brands over here,” he told Sportswear International. “Although California is way bigger [250 brands], we want to keep it small in New York. Over here denim is still huge and everything is concentrated on streetwear. I am very excited and can’t wait to be back in New York in January. Agenda NYC is really focused on streetwear and art culture. We are keeping it tight and focused on this.” The trend of colorful, neon collections continued at the show, along with an emphasis on functional pieces. Key exhibitors at Agenda NY included Analog, Beats by Dr. Dre, Gravis, Lakai, Lifetime, Nixon, Obey, Skull Candy, True Love & False Idols and WeSC, among others.


Menswear show newbie MRket, which is produced by Business Journals Inc., held its third edition (and celebrated its one-year anniversary) at the Javits Convention Center from July 18-20. The show has more than doubled in size since its launch and this edition featured more than 250 menswear brands, most of which were more traditional and geared toward classic, safe and commercially successful menswear. Interesting finds there included the fantastic, highly technical outerwear of Wellensteyn USA and the comfy albeit traditional chinos from Bill’s Khakis. The second edition of Vanguard, a special area featuring slightly more progressive and contemporary offerings, took place at the north end of the hall and included about 20 brands, including Parasuco Jeans, which showed new washes and decorative hardware, and English Laundry, which reported that its licensed wovens, T-shirt and accessories collections under the John Lennon and Scott Weiland names have been bestsellers.