ENK International is one of the most unique and exclusive trade shows in the United States. It includes up to 10,000 different design companies from accessories to womenswear, and attracts over 250,000 people from the world wide fashion community, including buyers and the rapidly expanding varieties of media. The trade show began in New York City, one of the fashion capitals of the world, and grew so rapidly that by 1986 the coordinators had to open a separate show for the womenswear market, known as Coterie. Coterie for Spring 2014 is currently taking place at the Javits Center in New York City September 17, 18, and 19th.
When did you begin putting on the Coterie trade show?
ENK International has been putting on the Coterie show since 1985. The first 10+ years of Coterie were held in several different hotels, mostly in the famous Plaza Hotel.
What were the ideas behind the creation of this trade show?
Elyse Kroll, founder of ENK, represented several men’s collections on a PR level. She quickly released from attending stale, typical trade shows that the fashion world needed a supplicated, efficient marketplace. The first ENK event was Designers Collective (men’s) which showcased 5 collections.
Are there any requirements the companies or brands that you host at these trade shows must have?
Each collection submits an application supplying ENK with information about their company such as years in business, the designer, who is their demographic, stores they sell, etc. Additionally, they submit samples of their current season. These applications and samples are presented to a Committee (comprised to consultants and retailers) for review. The Committee looks for quality of merchandise, design direction; also they are looking to avoid a merchandise category overload within the show.
Who is the target customer for these trade shows?
B to B – retailers, e-commerce stores selling contemporary, designer, denim, casual contemporary women’s ready-to-wear, accessories, and footwear merchandise.
Who gets invited, or is allowed admittance to the trade shows?
ENK International Shows are trade only events and are not open to the public. Retailers from across the globe – from larger department stores to medium-sized multi-store owners and specialty boutiques to online commerce are all invited to attend. In addition, editorial press and bloggers are also invited to cover the latest trends in fashion.
How long does it take to organize each of these shows individually?
This is a difficult question to answer – but it is really an ongoing process that doesn’t stop. For example, while we are in the process of a current show we are already planning the next one.
Do you have regulars who return at each trade show or do you change the assortment every year?
We definitely have regulars; some have been participants since almost the beginning. Building and continuing relationship is a favorite part of the job. Seeing designers have the ability to come back season after season, year after year, it’s inspiring to see them succeed as a brand, and for us to be able to help out in any capacity is rewarding.