Story and Photos by Tom Wallace and Kathleen Gasperini
(capsule) trade show was among the trifecta at Modern Assembly in Las Vegas, NV, February 17-19, 2014, along with Agenda and Liberty Fairs that provided exhibitors and fashion industry leaders insights into top brands from Europe, Japan, and North America. Launched by the agency BPMW, which also has a wide-ranging showroom of brands, (capsule) is known for introducing many American retailers to a score of European collections.
The open concept of the show held in a ballroom makes it an easy show to understand. Transparency here is key, and the formula has been successful as the show also takes place in New York and Paris. (Capsule) is also known for having some of the best options in trade show food choices, plus ongoing free coffee and high-end teas which may not seem noteworthy, but when covering trade shows for days in Vegas, is a noted and appreciated aspect.
Brands range from sports-inspired, such as Lightning Bolt and M.Nil which is actually the very first brand to create surf trunks pre-Quiksilver, to Mr. Turk and their funky trousers and inspiring vests, fashion-forward Shades of Grey by Micah Cohen, Norse Projects, and classics like Penfield, Hudson’s Bay Company, and Hershel Supply Co. It is an interesting mix that somehow works very well together and provides an inspiration walk around the aisles that you don’t always experience at more generic shows.
One of the best parts of (capsule) is to see what’s next with niche European brands, a growing number of new ethnically inspired collections such as hightops from Mipacha, and the gatherings from key showrooms including BPMW, Idiel, Blackcircle, Medium Concepts, and Barbarian.
While plaids are still going strong, the main directional changes come from the silhouettes. From more tailored, tighter fitting button downs, to tapered pant legs and capris, what’s happening with many collections is a more modern and androgynous mash-up. Other trends to note especially coming from (capsule) are the themes represented from nautical inspirations including sailor stripes, anchors, and colorful raingear from brands like Westerlind, Sailormade, and Seaworthy.
Sundries section offers up a unique location for the growing importance of brands catering to men’s grooming products such as Beardbrand and Imperial Barber. Inside another area called the Donut Shop is one of the coolest cash and carry areas of all of the Vegas fashion trade shows with American vintage items such as sports banners, antique baseball bats, stitch letters, patches, typewriter keys, wool scraps and balls, and handmade furniture from brands such as Irons & Duck, Orange Crush Exports, and Bush Smarts.
Above the Tree Line is a uniquely curated section within (capsule) with brands that offer up compelling and authentic outdoor gear and apparel. This section has grown and illustrates the crossover between the outdoors and contemporary, modern fashion elements. Brands such as Arbor have moved into this section to differentiate themselves from the average action sports-inspired apparel. Other brands such as Westerlind, Snow Peak, Freeman, Gramacci, Kletterwerks, and Frost River also round-out the space.
Basically, outdoor gear and apparel has taken on new meaning at Above the Tree Line which is something Outdoor Retailer should take notice. It’s not all about technical gear for climbing the highest mountain, but also about looking smart with quality crafted accessories while camping.
Here’s more from (capsule):