While the third time is traditionally the charm, the fourth edition of the denim trade show BPD Expo, which was held last Wednesday and Thursday in New York, was arguably the show’s best one yet.
Taking place is an empty retail space on Lower Broadway in SoHo, the event featured 20 exhibitors, including well known mills such as Cone Denim, Kurabo, Blue Lab, Artistic Milliners and Global Denim, and a slew of hands-on, interactive stations that showed a multitude of ways that denim can be treated, decorated and transformed into original, beautiful jeanswear. These included a traditional Japanese shiburi dyeing area, a booth where artist Hyemi Cho customized pieces with her original handpainting, a live chain-sticher who embroidered the items that were given to him, and an eye-catching display of denim that had been woven into area rugs.
While technically a fabric show, BPD Expo 4.0 often seemed to be more of a casual crafts fair and the refreshing result was a very non-corporate and enjoyable celebration of innovation and originality – complete with an open bar on both evenings.
The show’s motto “Anti Bullshit. Love Denim” was therefore most apt.
Bill Curtin, the show’s founder and owner of New Jersey’s BPD Washhouse, told Sportswear International at its conclusion: “People used to say the show was inspiring and now they say it’s FUN. How many people say that when they go to a trade show?”
One particular highlight was a one-on-one trend presentation given in individual sessions by Denim Therapy, a 10-year-old company in midtown Manhattan that repairs, alters and customizes jeanswear for both private citizens and apparel companies. Own and run by Jessica Azoulai, its services include temporarily transforming one’s favorite pair of jeans into maternity wear for $60 by adding panels and an elastic waistband and then restoring them back to their original condition once the baby has been born. Employees Emily McIntosh and Raffael Flores Contreras highlighted major trends for the upcoming seasons, which include lots of black and charcoal washes, rigid raw stretch for men and vintage-look stretch for women, higher-rise men’s bodies and looser high-waist straight silhouettes for women instead of jeggings. (“People tell us that if they want leggings they will buy actual leggings,” said McIntosh.)
The pair also said to expect an onslaught of wide, oversized jackets; repaired, patched and DIY looks; traditional gridded Japanese Sashiko embroidery; painting and silkscreening; and grommets and hardware decorating hems.
Exhibitorwise, Global Denim reported that its bistretch and warp-only stretch denims were selling well along with its colored denims in earthy desert tones. Meanwhile, Cone Denim, which made its BPD Expo debut, merchandised its small booth into three main categories: Retro, a black-and-white Black and Natural selection, and Performance denim. VP Kara Nicholas said she was glad to show at the event and added, “We keep on getting calls asking for black and natural denim.”
More impressions of BPD expo in our gallery:
For more information on trade shows check out DFV Group’s expocheck.com.