As I wrote last week, I’ve been to market in New York City twice this spring; our second trip took us to the annual spring Fashion Coterie at Jacob Javits Convention Center. This is a huge show of women’s apparel from some 5,000 exhibitors spread out over a half a million square feet. With about 20,000 buyers and other industry attendees, this is a busy place during its three-day run every February.
The fashion industry categorizes apparel according to price point, with labels starting at mass market (or budget) and moving up through moderate, private label (a department store brand such as Charter Club at Macy’s), contemporary, better, secondary lines (such as Marc by Marc Jacobs), bridge, designer, and lastly, couture. The Coterie offers clothes in the better, bridge, and designer categories.
We like to shop the Coterie because of its incredible variety of designers, all vying to become the next big thing. Unless you are a real industry insider or a “Women’s Wear Daily” reporter or something, you will have never heard of the vast majority of the exhibitors filling the shared showrooms and major spaces.
What we want to do is discover the best of these new names while keeping the well-known designers our customers love. That’s what I like about the whole buying process – that combination of fresh and familiar, talent search and tradition.
We also like the Coterie because it provides a great preview of trends, both new and continuing. Here are some pieces and places that caught my.