Retail is improving and buyers were enthusiastic at the second CALA Men’s & Women’s show held at the OC Fair & Events Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., Aug. 28th to 29th. Attendees traveled from California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington to see 250 vendors from around the globe who presented their Spring ’23 collections.
“Business is doing good! We’ve had our best year ever!” Said Brianna Malvino of Louis Thomas Fine Men’s Apparel, Corte Madera, Calif. “Everyone has someplace to go, and we need to buy more to have the inventory,” she adds. “The CALA show is getting better and better with more people coming and making appointments now that COVID is tapering off.”
“I’m looking for fun, playful items that stand out like the I.C. Richard Choi indigo dyed denim knit blazer,” said Reza Shekarchian of Avedon in Beverly Hills, Calif. “It’s fresh, new and at a great price point, addressing the new uniform. It’s where tailored meets sportswear and vice versa.”
Nostalgic long and short sleeve shirts were on high demand from colorful prints to linen and knits by Desoto, Georg Roth, Patrick Assaraf, and Postmarc. Irene Becker of Alandales in Culver City, Calif., was especially excited to see JK Collections’ tie-dyed linen shirts created with a mesh sausage netting. “It’s really unique and interesting, I’ve never heard of this process or seen anything like it,” said Becker.
Vintage t-shirts from American Needle to Reyn Spooner’s vintage rayons with novelty prints from Guardians of the Galaxy for Holiday and Star Wars were also a hit. “While I’m looking for very dressy short-sleeved shirts,” said Greg Miller of G. Miller in Olympia, Wash., “We sold out of the Reyn Spooner Star Wars series of shirts. I bought 10 but wish I’d purchased 50. They were a hot ticket!”
“We only go to one show a year and focus on what we like such as TailoRED sport coats, plus we love Newport Beach,” said Brooks Whitworth of Homer Reed, Ltd. of Denver, Colo. Whitworth explains that fostering relationships and believing in the product is most important, plus they found the CALA show made it easy for them to find new lines showcasing unique items. “STITCH NOTE is the perfect example; It’s really fun, tasty, and well-made for our discerning customer that focuses on quality,” Whitworth added.
There was no shortage of great denim at the show, including brands 34 Heritage, Alberto, and AG Jeans. “People are rushing to get clothing for vacations, reunions, weddings, and all the events that were held off due to the pandemic,” said Jake Campbell, West Coast Sales Director at AG Jeans. Retailers are writing orders and optimistic about seeing an influx of customers shopping at brick-and-mortar locations. “The men’s market is back to work finally!” said Campbell.
Julie Dreyfus represents several tailored clothing lines from Ralph Lauren to TailoRED “I love this new open booth format, the location is chill, inviting, and more people stop by the booth. I opened two new accounts and I thought I knew everyone.”
“The CALA Show greatly benefits Garys because it allows me to review my final buys for the season and provides me the opportunity to see the vendors who have reached out to see me. There are a lot of brand owners and representatives, and the show allows me time to visit them,” said John Braeger of Garys Newport Beach.
“I was so very pleased with the impact the CALA show had for True Grit and Dylan,” said Michael Kofoed who added, “Our representatives, Kelly Caldwell and Donna Gavin, turned in their best results, outperforming any show we had ever participated in for Men’s in previous Trend Shows. Orange County Fairgrounds provided the best working venue compared to any hotel room shows. I look forward to working again at the CALA Show next February. Congrats on a great show.”
JK Collections cool water repellent nylon shirt jacket that folds into a nylon travel bag. Jada Jo travel inspired men’s bracelets handmade matt unfinished and precious stones. “This jewelry is a great find for us.” said Ken Griffin of Button Down in San Francisco. WILL leather goods and HOOD’s return of the original sneaker and basketball shoe are just a sampling of some of the great product for holiday found at the show.
“After 16 years of organizing West Coast hotel room shows, a partnership was formed with Gerry Murtagh to host open booth men’s and women’s shows. This was exactly the kind of energy and structure we needed to get to the next level,” said CALA show partner Ken Haruta.
“CALA is a perfect place: convenient, with a much improved open floor format with great vendors. It gave me the chance to do my buying and button up loose ends,” said Andrew White of Ascot Shop in La Jolla, Calif.
Richard Allred from Toes on the Nose said “This is an easy set up, we had twenty appointments and opened four new accounts. I love that this amazing venue is in our backyard with great restaurants, hotels, and an airport nearby.”
Haruta adds “CALA Men’s gained positive reviews from my fellow sales representatives as well as our retail partners. Overall, the show was a success creating great momentum for our Fall 2023 show to be held February 19th & 20th at the OC Fair & Events Center in Southern California.”