The latest round of trade shows took place in Las Vegas last week. Read the reviews of Project, ENK and Capsule here


Last week’s Project show, which ran on the first floor of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, continued to show the creative fingerprint of new show president Andrew Pollard, whose succeeded Sam Ben-Avraham just one year ago. Aside from featuring some of the biggest casualwear brands in the world from Diesel and Adidas to G-Star and 7 for All Mankind, the show this season featured numerous side areas devoted to creativity and entertainment. These included the debut of three onsite multibrand catwalk shows on the show’s second day and Project Wooster, a special section of better menswear from the likes of Billy Reid, Grenson, Levi’s Vintage and Trickers that was curated by Nick Wooster, the former men’s fashion director of both Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Another area highlight was the Wattwash Treatment and Ozone Installation, created by Marithe + Francois Girbaud and Jeanologia, which demonstrated the new “green wash” technology that is far more environmentally friendly that standard jeans treatments.

Of course, there was also plenty to see on the vast “standard” show floor, which was divided into the following areas: accessories, dual gender, footwear, men’s, women’s and Workroom, a special side section at the entrance of the show that featured approximately 100 emerging or especially directional brands. Among those showing there were young New York designer Timo Weiland, who showed a green cotton baseball jacket with a blue and white striped lining, Gilded Age, which offered aged-look denim, Prospective Flow, which had artisanal-looking Japanese denim, and Matias Denim, whose wide range of handcrafted denim was displayed on special wooden frames.
Mors, a line of clean, Japanese-inspired sneakers from the UK, also made its American debut at Workroom. In the more commercial sections of the show, standout brands included Open Market, a brand new line of “modern workwear” from Kevin Chen, formerly the head of MEK Denim. Its many fine pieces included retro-looking brown jeans, denim and chambray shirts and polos with extra long plackets.
Sweden’s WeSC wowed with its own version of a Smart Car and wide assortment of jeans while fellow Swedish brand Gant served up preppy plaid shorts and a new collection of uber-bright sunglasses. Another impressive collection was W.R.K. (it stands for Work, Rest, Karma), a new line of clean, well-constructed menswear by Matteo Gottardi, formerly of the now shuttered line Operations.

Returning to the posh Wynn Hotel, ENKVegas had the same number of exhibitors as last season according to Elyse Kroll, head of ENK International, but a tweaked show layout of the more than 130+ booths (many of which housed multiple brands) made the intimate, high-end show seem airier and more open than ever.

Trendwise, color was a key theme among exhibitors. Hudson showed women’s colored denim in a wide range of choices while Paige was betting on colored options for men in ten different but very vibrant options. Hudson also unveiled its new partnership Isko, the Freedom of Movement collection of 360-degree stretch knits with a denim finish. Meanwhile, Paige, which had a packed booth on Monday afternoon, also debuted its new, pared down logo and simplified name, Paige. Designer Paige Adams-Geller explained there had been some confusion over Paige versus Paige Premium Denim and in an effort to streamline things and grow the brand even further, that all offerings would be known simply as “Paige.”

Color was also on tap next door at Citizens of Humanity, which showed women’s floral printed jeans and cutoff shorts and at men’s shirt brand Arnold Zimberg, who said their colorful printed shirts were the season’s bestsellers. Agave Denim showed a wide variety of women’s knit tops in many colors inspired by Mexican landscapes. Paul Pyo, national sales manager of Doctrine Jeans, however, seemed to be betting on mostly basic blue jeans styles for the season.
Two new lines also impressed at ENKVegas. FVF by Jerry Kaye, formerly the menswear designer at Perry Ellis, served up a lovely collection of wearable, easy-to-understand and well-made menswear while T. Christopher showed beautiful printed swimwear and shorts and casual, beach-friendly tops and jackets in a clean, nautical palette.

Running for just two days in a fifth-floor ballroom at The Venetian hotel, the Vegas edition of Capsule featured many of the same brands that showed at its New York edition in July. As in previous seasons, authenticity and heritage looks were important. Among the exhibitors featuring them was The Stronghold, whose owner Michael Paradise showed selvedge denim caps (retailing for $95 to $110) based on newsboy and worker model shapes from the 1920s and 1930s. He also said that his denim and canvas aprons, based on authentic workwear models, were among his bestselling items. Likewise, Heller’s Café, the famous vintage store in Seattle, showed authentic vintage pieces and its own in-house collection, which featured a faded jean with waist buttons that is a re-creation of a model from 1905.

More modern takes on historical pieces were shown by Cockpit, who livened up traditional bomber jacket styles with bright outer colors and printed inner linings along with new takes on the Hawaiian shirt. Prints were also important at Number:Lab, which showed a daring black-and-white printed jacket among its more nautical-inspired separates.
Modern and nautical was also the theme at Barque, a menswear line by Gilbert Chen, which featured blue and white check jackets and shorts emblazoned with anchors. Chen described his line as a “modern interpretation of classics.”

Finally, buzzed-about up-and-comer Ian Velardi, formerly of Rogues Gallery and Hickey, served up another collection of gorgeous contemporary menswear in high-quality fabrics. His key pieces for spring include a belted denim almost safari-style jacket and a blue and white bib-front pullover shirt and striped zip-front hoodie. He’s clearly one to watch.