Class Fashion Trade Show Grows in Face of Shrinking Economy

The Class fashion trade show grew in exhibitors and attendees over its debut in 2008, despite the tough economy.

By Shilpa Gopinath February 5, 2009, 11:45 AM EST

Reusable bags at Class

Photo: Becky Sapp

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Now in its second year, the Class fashion trade show took to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for its third installment. The two-day eco-friendly show ran on February 2 and 3 and saw an increased in exhibitors and attendees—despite the declining economy. “The number-one thing everybody is talking about in New York is the economy. I’m not hearing that here. People that are here are going to weather this storm, and they’re looking at the positive and how [to] get through it. We’ve actually grown 20 percent in the number of brands [represented],” Class director Jason Bates said.

New elements at the event included spa services from Osea, which offered massages, facials, and hand treatments; and a haircutting station from Barracuda Hair. Mod furniture decked lounge areas throughout the venue and a DJ spun.

A living garden by Big Red Sun and the Surfrider Foundation sat in the lobby as an effort to educate guests on progressive gardening practices. Following suit from the last show, production incorporated green elements like bikes that powered blenders for fresh fruit smoothies, organic catering, and green efforts from individual exhibitors.

Bates realized his goal from the last incarnation of the trade show and increased exhibitors in the home goods, women’s wear, and accessories categories. For future installments of Class, his goal is to grow the categories of denim, designer, and contemporary apparel.

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