On the show grounds of Liberty NY
23 Jan. 2014
Show Report: Positive Start for Liberty NY
The mood was generally upbeat at the second edition of the Liberty NY trade show on Tuesday, the show’s first day of its 2.5-day run. While Tuesday’s often intense snowstorm made Manhattan travel conditions less than ideal and sometimes left the show’s floors and steep staircases slippery with melted snow, Liberty nonetheless drew a steady stream of buyers and visitors.
“We had a few cancellations and a few buyers who didn’t make it to the city but for the most part we had very good traffic for a first day,” show founder Sam Ben-Avraham told Sportswear International on Tuesday afternoon. “We are two separate buildings and this building is four floors so you don’t see everybody come in at one shot but for a first day in this kind of weather we had a very good day. Everybody that made it to New York on Saturday, Sunday or Monday is here.”
The show, which featured approximately 150 brands, was held in a new venue in the Chelsea art gallery district and split between two buildings across the street from one another on West 22nd Street. One featured two small ground-floor halls with active and/or street brands such as Pony, K-Swiss, Quiksilver Originals and Plain Jane Homme (which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year) and more tailored men’s lines such as Ben Sherman, Descendant of Thieves and Farah. Also on hand there was Onassis, a very reasonably priced collection of detail-oriented menswear that is just getting into wholesale after launching its successful monobrand retail business in the US a few years ago. Paul Jacobsen, the brand’s vice president of sales and marketing, said he had several promising meetings with buyers at Liberty.
The majority of Liberty’s exhibitors, however, were housed in the building across the street, which featured four floors of exhibition space. Appropriate to the weather, the fifth floor featured a display of snow-covered mountains and showcased outerwear brands Spiewak and Canada Goose while the fourth floor was home to Freedom Hall, a special section of 22 collections “defined by a reconstructed and more international view of work and play” curated by Ouigi Theodore of The Brooklyn Circus. Notable brands in this area included Art Comes First 3Sixteen Jeans, Ebbets Field Flannels and LFANT, a young New York-based line with a colorful, modern preppy/street aesthetic.
Liberty also featured several European and Japanese lines making their US debuts.
Regarding the general business mood in the US, Ben-Avraham said this: “It’s much better than Europe. I just came back from Europe and it was a bit depressing. In Europe people are looking for the American buyers to come in and save them. We got a few Japanese and European brands to come in and open up into the American market now. The American market is happening now and the mood overall in the market is great, I think.”
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