Count down to the trade shows: which ones should you attend?

I originally wrote this article for FashionEdits, view it here.

Torn between attending the January vs. February fashion trade shows this upcoming season? From ENK, the Accessorie Circuit, PROJECT, Dallas Market Center, to LA’s CLASS shows and more, there are so many choices, with the first being, which month to attend? Don’t fret my fearless fashion friends, here at FashionEdits we are giving you the skinny on which trades show month will be the hottest and why.

Our industry insider, Anne, who works closely with top brands like Rebecca Minkoff, White and Warren, and Three Dots for their Canadian distribution, tells us exclusively that even though some stores, especially those traveling from Canada, opt out of the January shows in favor of the larger event in February, the January shows still prove extremely lucrative – going for quality vs quantity. The traffic is still heavy in January, but you get more one-on-one time with the buyers which leads to larger and often repeat sales. This trend seems to be due to the heavy emphasis on accessories in January and many buyers are focusing on immediate buys so the January ship dates work in their favor.

Michelle Rowe who represents the famed Lauren Merkin handbag and accessories designer collection, echoes this same sentiment. There is slower and less traffic during the January shows where as February sees a flurry of buyers, press, and more booths. However, January proves to be the most lucrative time for order placements and one-on-one time with buyers and vendors, especially those looking to stock their stores with accessories, handbags, jewelry, and shoes. So less traffic in January but the quality time means more for the bottom-line.

Since during the February shows the majority of fashion brands are showing their Fall and Winter collections for July and August delivery, many buyers and retailers are wary to buy accessories and handbags so far ahead of season.

Obviously this buying and selling trend for accessories would be the opposite for apparel. So if you have your accessories covered and are looking for the top clothing buys, then the February shows are not-to-be-missed. During the February trade shows not only does the traffic increase but there are also more booths and brands to peruse, and it is the optimal time to place your orders for Fall and Winter designs.

Another reason to swing by the shows during February is because you most likely find new and emerging designers during this time – and who isn’t looking for the next big thing?

Nonetheless, it’s clear that both months are inherently invaluable to the fashion community as trade shows, from New York to Los Angeles, are the glue that holds all fashion facets together. Even the fashionistas from somewhere in between, like Dallas, Texas, knows the importance of trade shows.
“Each Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market has become valuable to retailers as they continue to buy closer to need,” said Cindy Morris, COO, Dallas Market Center. “Our five annual Markets including January are order-writing shows and are a smart business investment for buyers.”

Our parting advice: if accessories are your thing, January is your time to shine, but if you need to add apparel and clothing to your arsenal, you best bet is the February shows. Either way, we’ve got you covered, so stay tuned for our fashion and trend recaps of both months of shows.