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Class Trade Show Adds Surf Lessons and More Exhibitors in its Second Go

Fashion trade show Class took to Santa Monica for its second outing, adding more eco-friendly elements and beach-culture touches like surf lessons.

By Shilpa Gopinath August 22, 2008, 3:04 PM EDT

After its debut in March of this year, fashion trade show Class returned to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium August 19 and 20 for its second eco-friendly show. Creator Jason Bates added a host of new elements focused on environmental friendliness and Southern California culture and worked with event producer Matt Wise to make it happen.

“Class was created as a reaction to the dullness and overwhelming lack of inspiration that exists at other industry trade shows,” Bates said. ”Vegas has become an overwhelming corporate behemoth that, while important, lacks the creative newness, stimulation, and edginess of a true fashion leader. I feel that it is time to bring it all home to California, where it all began.”

Calling attention to the new fashion trade show's Southern California locale, organizers added elements meant to evoke laid-back local culture, such as surfing lessons for participants, art instillations on display from local artists, and foosball and Ping-Pong tables in the patio area.

Following suit from its debut show, Class concentrated on green initiatives. “The fashion industry is accountable for over 50 percent of pollution in the water due to textiles, so we’re just trying to do our part,” said Wise. Eco-conscious touches included Green Power Generators, recycled signage, recycled-aluminum racks, and earth-friendly water service I Love My H20 stations throughout the venue. All programs—including a bowling mixer—were within walking distance of hotels, and organizers worked with True Offset, an organization devoted to planting carbon-offset trees in Hawaii. “We attract brands that are eco-friendly and organic; there is growth in that region because it’s becoming more trend driven,” added Bates.

The show has increased its participating retailers, adding more women’s and accessory brands, plus a perfumery. Class increased participation by about 30 percent for this show, and organizers plan to maintain that growth rate.

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