The NTWRK Agency, The Park Showroom, The FNDTN and Flagship Agency joined forces for this year’s LA Men’s Market at the California Market Center in DTLA this past Monday and Tuesday. The event was absolutely a success, and the hype for the event was felt from the top down. The turnout was great, the morale was high and breakfast was served… and we’re not talking granola. Stumptown provided coffee, espresso and cold brew while Egg Slut slung made-to-order omelettes to so many dudes in Nike Flyknits, it had to be a Guinness World record.
LA CANVAS felt nothin’ but love as the brands’ tables donned a proud stack of our latest Fashion Issue for the grazing buyers looking for their next best seller in Spring ‘14, or just whoever is still putting out new varieties of the Jogger pant (jk but srsly jk). It looks like this is the beginning of the golden age for the LA Men’s Market as we sat down with the man who put it all together, Kellen Roland, of The NTWRK Agency — he also gave us some insight into why this is the best time for men’s fashion. Honorable talking point mention: dressing like your uncle is cool. #wut
Mr. Roland also showed us around the LA Men’s Market, aka the marketplace of our dreams, personally. Not bad.
LA CANVAS: So, what exactly is The NTWRK Agency?
Kellan Roland: The NTWRK Agency is a brand-building agency. We represent multiple clothing and accessory lines for the US with offices in Los Angeles and Manhattan. We specialize in wholesale but play a key role in brand development. Basically, we are the representatives of our brands and we make sure that their goals and initiatives are followed through and implemented in the US market.
LAC: What do you do with the brands you represent?
KR: Well, number one, we hand-select our clients to be the best brands within their given niche, and a key element is having a very intimate relationship with the brand owners. We’re definitely an outside sales agency, but we act as if we’re inside sales and act with the brands’ needs and ambitions first and foremost. We’re the people getting their product into the right stores to make sure that brand’s message is clearly conveyed in the US market.
LAC: Do you facilitate collaborations within the brands you represent only or do you reach outside the realm of The NTWRK Agency?
KR: We definitely play a key role in all aspects of our brands, and it just depends on what the brands’ needs are. So, if one of our clients is looking for a footwear brand that we may have a relationship with, we’ll reach out and we’ll begin that communication. We just play a role in executing whatever needs to be done so that the brand is successful.
LAC: How far will you go to ensure your clients’ success?
KR: Though our job is first and foremost sales, we want to help out with marketing, PR, brand-development and how the brands show up in stores because it’s very important for them to be sold-in properly. That’s our key objective, but the next step in that is them selling through and selling out of the store. We have a very active role in the brands’ life, whether that’s helping with in-store build-outs, connecting that brand with the right media publications, and making sure that brand is featured in the right magazines or on the right blogs.
LAC: So how much do you yourself have a creative say in the collaborations and what you do with your brands? Are you still creative in your position now?
KR: We’re still creative in our executions and getting the brand out there in terms of sales and in-store environments, but our brands take the lead from a creative standpoint. We are a sales agency; I definitely want to make that clear. Our brands are so creative on their own so they don’t need much help from us, and that’s a part of picking the best brands. Herschel Supply Co. is on our team and they are on their own creating the best product and the same with Komono, Primitive, Brothers Marshall and Native shoes. We don’t need to be too creative in the sense of the brand creating their product, but we are creative in getting it to market.
LAC: Back to the LA Men’s Market, how did you get all of these awesome people and brands together under one roof?
KR: The way this started was: I had the idea and brought it to some other people who work with me at The NTWRK Agency, plus some local brand reps and showroom owners — we all have these beautiful showrooms in DTLA and we weren’t getting enough traffic from our local buyers or the national buyers. We offer our buyers a key opportunity to see 90 of the best brands in a two-day time period while cutting costs, saving time and really just being streamlined, giving the brand, the rep and the buyer an opportunity to do business and make it fun.
LAC: There are definitely a lot of well-dressed dudes here, but are you happy with the turnout?
KR: The event is off to a great start, it’s the morning of day two and we’ve already had triple the amount of buyers compared to any other LA Men’s Market, so, it’s been a huge success.
LAC: Wow! So, something has to be working here, right?
KR: The key is that buyers are here, they’re seeing the brands, they’re having longer appointments, and it’s not rushed like at a store where there are a lot of distractions. It’s all about doing business and leaving paper. At the end of the day, that’s what I am at heart, I’m a sales guy and it’s great to meet with the retailers but we’re trying to get the orders in. People are leaving orders here and it’s been a great experience. I’ve talked to some of the key brands that are participating and everyone has positive things to say including the retailers who made the trip down here.
LAC: In terms of your own feeling regarding Men’s fashion today, where does your own style fall within the spectrum of menswear and streetwear?
KR: [Fashion is] awesome because, on the one hand, you have kind of this refined gentleman, or, “hey, it’s cool to dress like your uncle.” I dress like an old man now, and I’m only 31. Then you have some people who dress in all black plus all of the other sort-of fringe trends happening as well. Right now, we’re in the most special time for fashion because taking risks is encouraged and being an individual is celebrated. It doesn’t matter if you are a skater, surfer or DJ you can wear whatever you want — no one is attached to any certain demographic or scene anymore. It’s kind of like a free for all, which is fun — whatever you want goes.
How do you feel about streetwear making its way into menswear?
KR: The cool thing about fashion is that it comes from everywhere; whether it’s Michael Jordan sneakers influencing fashion in the late 90s or it’s a kid skating in Brooklyn, then you see an element from his ripped shirt or ripped jeans on a runway in Milan. That’s the great thing about fashion, there’s really no rhyme or reason to it — it’s a creative expression that you see from the ground up to the top. Seeing streetwear emerge onto the runways is rad because a lot of the early streetwear, especially in the 2000s with the all-over prints, was derived from runways anyway. That all-over, high-end Versace [print] was influencing Freshjive, 10Deep and brands like that when they were taking those elements and incorporating them into their own streetwear collections.
With fashion, it’s kind of an interesting scenario because everyone is watching each other. Raf Simmons is watching the designers at 10Deep, 10Deep is watching the designers of Givenchy and it all happens together, so you get this beautiful combination of streetwear influencing and high fashion and vice versa to create basically where we’re at now, which is menswear.
LAC: What advice would you give someone just starting out and trying to be like you?
KR: I would say to anybody, if you need advice to work hard, quit now. As far as advice, keep your ears open, be humble and attach yourself to people who know more than you. The smartest advice I can give anyone is surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
LAC: Last question: how do you feel about LA CANVAS?
KR: I love it. It’s awesome there’s a publication that’s speaking directly to what’s going on in LA. There’s so much happening in Los Angeles and it’s nice to be able to tell our story and to give people from a consumer and trade POV — kind of an inside loop as to what’s going on. You guys are doing a good job of telling people where to go eat and what is the coolest fashion, but, more than that, also giving readers some insight on how this stuff is created.
It’s sort of this hybrid view because with the emergence of technology like Instagram, Twitter and all these things people have become accustomed to a behind-the-scenes mentality. Ten years ago, you didn’t know how things happened, they just happened. Now, if you’re not part of the step-by-step process, you feel like you’re left out as a consumer. As a media publication, you’re able to bring people in on that journey, help tell the story, and hopefully keep telling the stories of all these great things happening in LA, and eventually branch out to other cities as this thing grows. In an era where print media is said to be nearly dead, I hope there are people who don’t listen to that because if you listen to what everyone says, then we’re all doomed to fail.
See you all at the 2014 LA Men’s Market. We’ll definitely be there.
Sooo the word on these here streets is that L.A. Fashion Week is no NYFW… or London, or Milan, or Paris, or even Vancouver… However, the fashion juggernauts here at LA CANVAS would like to stress the power of the positive and denounce all bad juju surrounding LAFW. As we gear up for the launch of the L.A. Men’s Market to coincide with the California Market Center’s Market Week, we look at what’s to offer the fashion-minded contemporary “L.A. Male.”
Men’s Fashion Week Los Angeles, created in 2010, was a needed entity among the unanimously female-centeredness of the fashion world across the board, from couture to retail. Los Angeles was the fifth city to follow suit (pun intended) by filling the void, and providing a platform for an emerging men’s market. Today, L.A. continues to be the only city in the U.S. to have a Men’s Fashion Week. MFWLA now includes fashion week runway shows, trade show-style exhibits and custom pop-up showrooms.
The L.A. Men’s Market is here to remind retailers and consumers that Los Angeles is a fashion force to be reckoned with, given that such a high volume of men’s contemporary, action sports and street fashion is based out of Downtown Los Angeles. The Men’s Market will bring together 200 of the top retail buyers in Southern California for a two-day event centered around over 65 top men’s brands showcasing their SS 14 collections including some LAC faves like ZANEROBE, Herschel and SLVDR.
Check out more from some other brands we’re, like, totally siked about seeing at the L.A. Men’s Market.
Komono has been putting out watches with clean lines and even cleaner designs since their conception in 2009, when they first brought us fun color plays on the classic Casio-esque digital watches.
The good news is, it’s 2013 and their Wizard Print Series for SS 13 tells us mere consumers that we are only slaves to their superior Japanese minimalism. We hereby renounce all watches that came before.
Consistency is key. So is authenticity. HUF was founded based on the principle of community and DIY mentality. The HUF storefront opened as a means to celebrate and appreciate skateboard lifestyle, the first of its kind, aiming to bring together the most respected brands in skateboard, streetwear and sneaker communities.
Now, HUF itself is a challenger of skate style– a tricky market considering its inherently punk rock attitude. HUF’s overall feeling of realness is undoubtedly due to their promise: “Made by skateboarders, for skateboarders” giving men and boys exactly what they want to wear in a way that does not feel stale. Sure there’s only so many ways to wear a hat, hoodie, flannel, printed T etc, but at least make it look the coolest, right?
…and then there’s 10Deep. This brand is doing what the other guys aren’t and that’s taking one step beyond what is expected, giving its target audience a well curated palette with no detail overlooked. Oh, and they’ve been doing it since ‘95.
One of the first New York streetwear brands, 10Deep effortlessly makes pattern on pattern look like the new, refined masculine in their Fall 13 lookbook: Delivery Two. Frankly, every lookbook these guys put out is beautiful, and by no means deviates from the concept that keeps them honest: forget everyone and listen to yourself.
WHAT: LA Men’s Market at California Market Center. 40+ of the top men’s brands showcasing collections for 200 premier West Coast retailers in Downtown LA.
WHEN: October 14-15th , 9am – 6pm
WHERE: California Market Center, 110 E 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90079, B-413 (parking available below building)
WHO: Presented by The NTWRK Agency, The FNDTN, Park Showroom, Flagship Agency
More info, here.
Brigade Los Angeles, a lux-casual clothing boutique in Downtown, brought a bit of the Robertson and Melrose vibe to the urban setting last Tuesday when they held their LAFW show featuring some of their brand’s new lines for Spring/Summer ’13. From UK flag one piece swim suits to matching printed tops and pants, Brigade brought what’s on point in retail to the runway.
Fashion-mavens gathered for a pre-mixer, which featured drinks by Peroni Italy poured by The Crocker Club. Different sponsors like Naked Juice and StyleWatch lined the Vibianna Cathedral courtyard. Inside, the beautiful church was transformed into a Mecca of fashion.
If you were not able to attend, stop by Brigade now to take advantage of their winter sale. Also, check out our pictures from the event below to see what you missed.
While LAFW seems like an underground affair compared to New York, Paris, London, and Milan, there are still some brands that come out to show the best of what LA has to offer. Feel like you’re not in the fashion know? LA CANVAS has you covered with some events and shows that can’t be missed.
Brigade LA is a Downtown boutique with feminine yet edgy vibes (something we can definitely appreciate.) Attend their Ready At Retail fashion show March 12th to see what they can offer for spring and summer. Don’t forget to pick up your coupon at the show for their huge winter sale going on through the two days following the show.
Skingraft, Android Homme and FourTwoFour Fairfax host their celebration of the style overload by popping open some Hennessy and dancing it out at The Standard Hollywood. The late night event will be held March 13th. RSVP by sending first and last names to [email protected].
The Well, a stylish haven for all that is on point is celebrating this fashion week with a preview of Spring 2013 collections from UNIF, Clover Canyon, Again, Publish Brand and many more. Come out on March 15th for complimentary beverages and snacks, as well as a sneak peak at all the clothes you’ll be wanting to wear in the warmer weather.
Zalez Studio, the editorial art mavens, present their Fall 2013 collection sure to feature the outlandish and trippy designs we’ve come to love. The event premiering their fresh and modern aesthetic will take place on March 16th.
Cant get to these events, or currently cutting back on the fashion budget? We feel you. Wasteland, the holy grail for vintage and rad brands, is hosting a sample sale March 16th. Music, food, and booze will be provided. Heaven is a place on earth?