A positive, upbeat business mood was in the air at all six menswear market trade shows held in New York last week, leaving most exhibitors and buyers enthusiastic about the spring/summer 2013 season. As Elyse Kroll, the head of ENK International, which produces ENKNYC told Sportswear International, “People were very happy with the traffic. New businesses were happy and senior businesses were happy. Everybody got what they needed to get.” She added, “Buyers were in good moods and wanted to buy and everybody came.”

Key fashion trends across the men’s market included pastel or earth-tone colors for jeans and chinos, nautical stripes, a red, white and blue palette, print-on-print looks, speckled yarn fabrics, contrasting shirt colors and light colored, distressed jeans.

Here are some highlights:

From its very first day, which happened to be a sunny summer Sunday that could have deterred people from attending, ENKNYC drew steady traffic. Colored bottoms—be they jeans, chinos or shorts—were the major trend story and were seen at Hudson, Paige, Agave Denim and Premium Lounge, among many others. Bag maker Sandast also impressed with a line of high-end leather bags and luggage with appropriately expensive price points.

ZiggyDenim @Project
ZiggyDenim @Project

Despite the recent departure of its former president, Andrew Pollard, Project NY was no worse for the wear. Featuring about 150 exhibitors, the event featured very happy exhibitors such as Jason Bates of Derelicte Showroom who unveiled the new Australian brand Ziggy Denim at the show and said, “This has been the best launch I have ever had.” As usual, denim was a big story at Project. AG Adriano Goldschmied pushed vintage washes and distressed styles, Robin’s Jean showed jeans with a “mud wash” and jewel-encrusted back pockets and Public School showed its new denim line created by Tobias Levine, formerly of 4Stroke. These 100% Made in NYC offerings include jeans with a candle wax finish called the crinoline wash.

Sunni Spencer, Project’s VP of sales, who has unofficially been serving as the show’s interim president since Pollard left, told Sportswear International at the show that producer Advanstar is still actively searching for a replacement president.

Agave @ ENK
Agave @ ENK
With its new venue, a pier-turned-basketball-complex on the East River on the Lower East Side, Capsule was able to fit all of its 200+ exhibitors into one continuous room that made navigating it easy. However, the extra space and straight-shot layout of the long aisles also made the show feel somewhat large, impersonal and overwhelming, even though it really was not. Exhibitors reported steady traffic throughout the show’s two-day run but some attendees groused that the new location was too far downtown and not close enough to public transportation.

Prints were a major trend at the show and appeared on everything from a pair of mixed print pants at Utility Canvas and the inside of a “porno jean” (featuring 1940s porn pictures) at Naked & Famous to the T-shirt graphics at Sangue, a brand from Southern Italy that features prints based on photos of local sites such as decorative tiles in the streets and buildings.

D&A Man
The Designers & Agents team made an impressive debut with its first ever men’s venture, which was an intimate, beautifully laid out gathering of just over 30 brands at a ground-floor space in Chelsea. Exhibitors such as Michael Paradise of The Stronghold denim brand and Sofia Spinnars, sales agent at the multiline showroom Apropo Studio, who was showing brands such as Giorgio Brato and Isabel Benenato (among others), all said that they and the visiting buyers really appreciated the show’s small size and calm atmosphere. D&A co-founder Ed Mandelbaum told Sportswear International that the show will remain small, even if demand is otherwise. “We are never going to be a sellout,” he vowed. A display of vintage items curated fashion insider Matt Winter added to the welcoming ambiance.

Show display by Michael Macko @ MRket
Show display by Michael Macko @ MRket
Much like at D&A Man, exhibitors at the second Man show in the West Village basked in the fact that the event was a tiny gathering of approximately 30 brands, including several European ones such as Won Hundred and Lacoste Live! Show cofounder Antoine Floch told Sportswear International that the show, which also holds an edition in Paris, attracted buyers from such stores as Barneys, Saks, United Arrows and Beams. “It was not crazy busy but there was a constant flow of buyers,” he said. He added, “They all said it was a good ambiance here and not super packed. Everyone has said to me, ‘Please don’t grow it.’” Noting that “people are buying again,” Floch also announced that the show will be launching a women’s version in Paris this year, which it hopes to bring to New York eventually. New brands showing there included graphic T-shirt line Skim Milk and AMH Ashley Marc Hovelle, a UK-based line of water-repelling T-shirts one of which had a paisley pattern inspired by a shirt designer Hovelle wore in a childhood photo.

MRket returned to the Javits Center and provided visitors with a strong onsite trend presentation curated by menswear insider Michael Macko. Standout brands included Jack Henry New York, which showed a mix of cleanly cut suiting pieces and draped white shirts, accessories company Hook & Albert, which wowed with an assortment of colorful and patterned socks and TM Stock, a brand new collection of neckties by Todd Stock, who showed his wares in a charmingly decorated booth.