The starting gates of the spring 2012 fashion season will fly open in New York on Sunday when four of the six menswear trade shows happening there this week will begin. The remaining two start the next day. Here is a guide to all six shows, which promise to make this NY men’s market week a very busy one.

Formerly known as The Collective, the long-running ENKNYC show is the most established of the six shows happening this season. The current edition runs Sunday, Monday (both 9am to 6pm) and Tuesday (9am to 5pm) at its usual location, The Tunnel/La Venue at 28th Street and 11th Avenue. It will once again be divided into four areas: Designers’ Collective (contemporary and designer menswear), Blue (premium denim and sportswear), Tmrw (directional and up-and-coming labels and designers) and Clean (men’s grooming). The show will feature approximately 250 brands. Highlights of Designers’ Collective will include NY Prepster, Ben Minkoff and FVF by Jerry Kaye. Blue’s many exhibitors will include Agave Denim, Nuco, William Rast and Original Penguin. Tmrw’s must-sees will include the leather jackets by the new line Ariel Martin, Cockpit USA, Instantology and Sid Neigum. Clean, meanwhile, will offer free shaves and haircuts and brands such as The New York Shaving Company. An opening night party co-sponsored by William Rast and ENK will take place Sunday night at 6:30 pm on the rooftop of the Dream Downtown Hotel in Chelsea.

Jimmy Taverniti@Project
Jimmy Taverniti@Project
Project returns to its home in SoHo at 82 Mercer Street on Sunday, Monday (both 9 am to 6 pm) and Tuesday (9am to 5pm). Showcasing about 130 exhibitors, the show will include such important players as AG Adriano Goldschmied, Ben Sherman, Big Star, Cheap Monday and G-Star. Special initiatives will include an area where brands create merchandise onsite, a blogger project where online writers will report on the show in real-time, a surf-inspired lounge created by design firm Desiron, a bar lounge by the barbershop/speakeasy The Blind Barber and the unveiling of K-Swiss’ interactive tribute to street-tennis legend Joey Yates, who will make a live appearance at the booth. Charity-based jewelry brand Falling Whistles is sponsoring a party Sunday night from 7pm to 11pm at The Blind Barber at 339 East 10th Street.

Capsule NY will be the largest edition ever, with more than 150 brands, including favorites such as Shades of Grey (US), Billy Reid (US), Camo (Italy), Klaxon Howl (Canada), Naked & Famous (Canada) and Soulland (Denmark). Mark McNairy, another show favorite, will launch his first sportswear collection at the show. New exhibitors include Danner Boots, George Cox Shoes, Ovadia & Sons and the Japanese denim line Mr. Freedom. The two-day show will run Monday (10am to 7pm) and Tuesday (10am to 6pm) at 548 W. 22nd Street near 11th Avenue and feature the debut of an onsite pop-up shop called Old & New, which will offer vendors of both vintage and new merchandise. It is co-produced with Michael Williams of the blog “A Continuous Lean.” Capsule’s official party takes place Monday night at the Angel Orensanz Center at 172 Norfolk Street at 9pm and will have live music by Nguzunguzu and other acts. There will also be onsite happy hours at the Capsule show during its final two hours on Monday and Tuesday.

Running concurrently with (and next door to) Capsule, the independent street and action-sports show Agenda will take place Monday and Tuesday (both 9am to 6pm) at the Chelsea Art Museum at 556 West 22nd Street. It will house about 75 exhibitors, including favorites Analog, DC, Fila, Gravis, LRG, Nike, Obey and Royal Elastics. The opening night party, sponsored by headphone brand Skullcandy, will happen Monday night from 11pm to 3am at Liberty Hall at The Ace Hotel while the closing night party is Tuesday from 7pm to midnight at Cut and Run at 599 Broadway.

The newest arrival to the men’s show scene in New York, Appointment is the creation of Rendez-Vous and Surface to Air leaders Antoine Floch and Nic Jones. This intimate showing of just over 25 collections will run Sunday to Tuesday from 9:30am to 6:30pm at Industria Superstudio at 775 Washington Street in the West Village and is meant to showcase “a thinking man’s wardrobe.” Participating brands include Assembly NY, Master-piece, Loden Dager, The Hill Side, Rochambeau and Eleven After Eleven.  The show is also throwing a party in the yard of the SoHo Grand Hotel on Monday from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.

Consisting mostly of tailored, dressier and more traditional menswear, MRket will host more than 250 domestic and international brands on 42,000 sq. feet (3,902 sq. meters) at the cavernous Javits Convention Center at 42nd Street and 11th Avenue. Of particular interest to those in the more progressive casual and sportswear market will be the new Vanguards Gallery, a juried section curated by Michael Macko, the former fashion director at Details magazine and VP Fashion Director at Saks Fifth Avenue. It will showcase The Barbour Steve McQueen Collection, Number Lab, Stubbs & Wootton, Isaora, Rodd & Gunn, R&G, Strong Boalt, Lee Cooper and Miansai. The show will also boast an onsite spa and DJ and blogger lounges. MRket runs Sunday, Monday (both 9am to 6pm) and Tuesday (9am to 4pm).

Individual reports (and photos) from each show to follow….