From July 16th through July 18th at the Javits Center New York, Erik Ulin, President of Menswear and Leslie Gallin, President of footwear, present their curative eye in the form of the Project / Mrket to hundreds of prospective buyers from around the world. Project caters to slightly lower price points while focusing heavily on quality and curation, while MRkt showcases tailoring and classics, while featuring it’s own “Made in Italy” booth.
Broken into subsections to ease navigation, PROJECT and MRKT provide buyers a comprehensive and uncluttered way to peruse some of the best brands of the world, ranging in size from smaller luxury brands such as Le Flow and Hook & Albert to well known commercial brands such as 7 for all Mankind and Vince. In order to give each brand a level playing field, Erik decided to limit the frills of each booth to bare necessities. An advocate for truly quality products, he believes a brand and it’s assortment should speak for itself, without the use of fluff and decoration.
Amongst industry veterans, a plethora of small brands congregate in the Vanguards Gallery. Ulin believes that “an important part of supporting the marketplace is to foster the talent of tomorrow” and PROJECT gives newcomers a chance to showcase their work as well. The Vanguards Gallery is built to cater to brands less than two years old, and provide them with an accessible way to enter the marketplace in the form of a trade show without breaking the bank.
In conjunction with Vanguards, PROJECT welcomes the work of four talented graduates from the Parsons Fashion Design program after an intensive selection process. Yuner Shao, Rika Konishi, Alexa Chia, and Qiongxin Kou debuted their bachelors thesis collection inspired by a plethora of cultural and psychological experiences.
Yuner Shao presented a mix of screen printed and digitally printed garments reminiscent of Chinese Propaganda, accompanied by a coloring book and comic book, inviting the viewer to participate in the collection and “create their own” propaganda. Rika Konishi presented a collection inspired by “hidden emotions” and “deeper meaning” using a construction technique that allowed her to complete a garment that’s effect flourished post-wash. Alexa Chia used a highly experimental process to shape vinyl sheets to mimic the textures of denim jackets and jeans. Qiongxin Kou’s brand “Gentle Mind” was inspired by Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddism, to represent harmony, kindness, and zen, respectively.
To bring the opening day to a close, Bagutta and Project hosted a cocktail hour at Americano Hotel on the highlane, with plenty of shade, food, and drinks to beat the heat and prepare for a long week of buying appointments.