Introducing brands’ fall 2012 offerings, Project New York kicked off the men’s market in Manhattan last week. Returning to 82 Mercer Street, the three-day show, which ran January 16-18, was home to, among others, lifestyle and Americana brands such as Ben Sherman, Wolverine Boot Co. and What Goes Around Comes Around. The multi-floored show offered approximately 130 brands in total, along with “The Blogger Project,” featuring ten onsite fashion bloggers, plus complimentary shaves from the New York-based groomer The Blind Barber.

Show favorites included The Brooklyn Circus, which showcased updated collegiate baseball jackets in a sporty vest. Simon Miller, best known for contemporary selvage denim, introduced chunky cable-knit sweaters. J Shoes introduced felt footwear while Wolverine offered quilted wool on classic mountain boots.

“Never Wet” technical outerwear was the draw at Salence’s debut collection; it features three-layer waterproof Teflon coating. Johnny Love, best known for its stylish outerwear, added unique accessories to its collection. UK-based Marshall Artist showed durable fabrics with contrast material on outerwear and vests, which proved to be a key trend throughout the show. Fremont offered a contemporary lambskin leather vest while across the way faux fur brand Tracker showed edgy styles for both men and women in outerwear and vests. Volt, which introduced colorful athletic-inspired footwear, caught eyes on the way out. A returning showcase from menswear guru Nick Wooster focused on the swimwear project with Orlebar Brow and a feature on brand Tom Snyder.

The heritage message reigned firmly throughout Capsule New York, which ran January 16-17. Relocated from the Chelsea neighborhood to a new space downtown at 550 Washington Street, Capsule showcased roughly 150 men’s brands. Lofty coats, Fair Isle sweaters and heavy woven textiles were key trends at the show.

Barque NY
Barque NY
Barque NY featured modern interpretations of classic styles. A quilted cotton/poly blazer was paired with floral printed shirting. Timberland Boot Co. debuted its accessories collection, offering a range of billfolds and zip wallets that will retail for $50-$90. Jack Spade accessories, Perfecto by Schott and Remi Relief updated historical designs and garments with modern elements. Tweed jackets, lightweight cardigans and colorful bottoms completed the dapper aesthetic at Closed. Melinda Gloss of Paris showcased sleek silhouettes in cobalt blue while Ian Velardi offered the pop color in a down robe of ripstop nylon. Holden mountain vest, Danner hiking boots, wood chips and the scent of pine helped create “Above Tree Line,” a new section of Capsule dedicated to outdoor brands. Meanwhile, alternate aesthetics could be found at Number:Lab, where performance textiles are designed for discerning athletic and contemporary eyes.

For the first time ever, Project and Capsule were held a week earlier than the other major New York men’s trade shows, ENK NY, MRket and Agenda. While some suspected that this would decrease foot traffic at all of them, Deirde Maloney, a co-owner of BPMW, the sales and PR agency that produces Capsule, said that it had little effect but that she understood visitor frustration about the lack of coordination this season.

“The January dates for our New York show are consistent with the time of the month that New York market week has been for years. It is regrettable that we are all not showing at the same time. We can’t speak to why the other shows decided to move their dates to one week later but we know that the splitting of the show weeks is causing a lot of inconvenience and expense for many buyers. This is unfortunate. We believe all of the New York shows offer buyers a different take on the market and present a different assortments of brands and complement one another well,” she said. “It is our hope that in the future we can all coordinate to ensure this split doesn’t happen again.”