Color, Fabric Treatments and Paying It Forward at the West Coast Trend Show
By Kelli Freeman Contributing Writer
Menswear buyers were inspired by color, new fabric treatments and a sense of a “higher purpose” at the Spring ’17 West Coast Trend Show menswear market in Los Angeles. “I’m looking at a hybrid of elements of sophistication in prints and colors from subdued to pops of color,” said Jill Nakashima, buyer at Patrick James in Fresno, Calif. “Innovations in stain-resistant tech fabrics that insert stretch, allow for comfort, breathability and less wrinkles are helping to stimulate sales and create a good vibe.”
The show’s appointment-only Saturday is growing in popularity with attendees coming from Alaska, New Mexico, Washington State and Colorado for the Aug. 6–8 market at the Embassy Suites Hotel LAX/North. First-timer Traci Gendron, with Storm Men’s Shop in Fort Collins, Colo., was able to see her vendors and look for new lines. “This is a relaxed, easier and friendlier feel. I’m impressed with the complimentary lunch, snacks and dinner party,” Gendron said, adding that she particularly liked the button-down wovens from Borgo 28 and James Campbell.
Gendron opened the Storm Men’s Shop in 2015 to provide a safe and secure workplace for her son Tanner, who suffers from cystinosis, a rare and incurable metabolic disease. A former hairstylist-turned-retailer, Gendron is on a mission to raise awareness and money to find a cure for the disease, which slowly destroys the organs in the body, and she is donating 100 percent of the shop’s profits to the Cystinosis Research Foundation (www.cystinosisresearch.org).
“I’m fumbling my way through [retail], but I’m doing okay, and that’s why reps are helping me,” Gendron said.
New exhibitor United States of Art was showing its collection of artsy, leather and canvas vintage novelty wallets and personaltravel accessories. Designer and owner Kemal Dural also has retail outlets at the Hollywood & Highland complex in LA’s Hollywood neighborhood as well as a shop in San Diego. “
I’m here for the first time to get a feel for the wholesale end of the business, get my feet in the water and make connections,” he said.
Some hot items included Loro Piana’s “Drifter Jacket” in linen—“Buyers love it because it’s lightweight and transitional taking a man from casual day into the night,” said Robert Vance, sales director for Lanai Collection; Maceoo’s signature checker patterned dress shoes and shirts; red washed-lamb antique blazers by BNR Leather Co.; the Martin Dingman Monte Carlo sport shirt collection; brilliant color patterns from David Smith Australia; and Pete Huntington and SAXX underwear.
For many buyers, the West Coast Trend Show is the first stop before heading to the massive Las Vegas trade shows a week later. Thomas Malvino at Louis Thomas Fine Men’s store in Corte Madera, Calif., calls the West Coast Trend Show a “must-attend” show. “This show becomes a necessity to make Las Vegas a doable show. I can get 12 appointments knocked out in Los Angeles, making a huge dent for me to look at other areas such as skin care, which I normally wouldn’t have time to do in Las Vegas.”