Opening Oxn has been a dream come true. It’s been so much work, yet at the same time, it’s been so much fun. I knew there would be long hours, endless hours sitting in a store by myself, but I also knew a ton of moments would be fun. I knew a couple of those moments would be the trade shows in NYC.
Last week I was able to attend Project NYC, (capsule), Liberty Fairs and MAN trade shows in New York, as well as see a few galleries, go to a few bars, and eat pizza. And visit the Museum of Modern Art for the first time.
In case you’re unaware, twice a year all the brands that Oxn carries, any more that we don’t, go to New York City to put their next season’s new stuff on display. The idea is to see, touch, and smell the new products and get ready to make orders for the upcoming season. So going in July, I’m looking at the Spring/Summer 2016 collections and figuring out what I want to put in the store early next year. My goal for these shows was to meet brands I’ve already built a relationship with online and figure out a few brands that I haven’t seen anywhere else so I could make sure Oxn was a store all of it’s own. While I’m inspired by many stores around the country, Oxn is developing into something you don’t quite see everywhere else while maintaining it’s identity and staying true to itself.
It started on Sunday, July 19th, with a super long walk to the new Javits Center in 92 degree heat. It felt about 104 degrees though. By the time I walked into this massive building I was drenched in sweat, but luckily I cooled down super fast and by the time I got my Project NYC credentials I was ready to walk the floor. I was excited, nervous, and overwhelmed at the exact same time. While walking up to get my bag and my badge I saw dressedtoill coming down the esculator. He was in a wool sweater, long pants, and a man bun. And yes, it felt like 100 degrees outside. But that’s how fashion dudes have to do it in the city. One of my favorite writers, Jon Moy, has a little piece on that - sometimes you just have to be fat and sweaty on the internet.
I walked into the huge room, walked booth after booth, taking everything in and enjoying my chance to finally be at Capsule. Luckily I had another set of eyes and ears with me, so I knew I wasn’t tackling it alone. First of all, since I’m not used to this, it is so hard to shop for things you won’t see/touch again for another 6–8 months. Trying to remember what you have coming in the fall, and then taking that feel and vibe and translating it into Spring/Summer is not easy task. While I was totally forgetting what we have ordered already for the Fall/Winter of this year. You don’t want to order nine blue button down shirts from four companies and next thing you know you’re trying to sell a bunch of similiar shirts.
I knew my main goal at Project was to meet Apolis. I found them after about 45 minutes and was able to chat with some people I’ve been emailing and see the latest collection of SS16. Before and after meeting Apolis I continued to walk around and meet and talk to brands that I had heard of, and many I hadn’t heard of. At the end of the journey I ran into the ‘bloggers table’ which is full of people I follow on the internet, that I got to see in real life - Steven Onoja, Brothers Craft, North of Man, just to name a few.
Cocktail Note: That Sunday night I was able to go to Death & Co. Death & Co. is a craft cocktail bar that started a few years ago and has only taken off since then. Last October they released an amazing cocktail book that goes further than recipies. It goes into teaching you about the philosophy behind the drinks. I knew I was going to try The Conference. And I couldn’t have made a better first choice in this dimly lit bar blasting Young Thug. It felt like if Memphis had a heaven.
I knew that Monday was going to be a long day. I started the day at 10am with 3sixteen. I met with Errol and Andrew Chen and it was absolutely everything I thought it would be. Those dudes are super rad, laid back, and they just want to work with good stores that care about the products and their story.
After that I took a cab over to Capsule and spent a good few hours walking around seeing all the brands. I was able to touch Oak Street Bootmakers trench boots for the first time. I was able to see Poler’s amazing setup as well as talk to Tanner Goods. I met some new brands that I’m going to keep quiet on for now. But let’s just say that capsule had a great layout and the brands definitely made sense in all together. I unforunately missed the morning talk with Pesko and Eugene Tong, but I didn’t miss Mark McNairy sitting at a desk just typing away on his computer while he was representing his shoes. No one was talking to him, or looking at his booth. He was just chilling and hanging out. I was way too intimidated to go over and talk to him.
Around 2pm we got a ride on the shuttle over to Liberty Fairs. It was all the way across town with that typical NYC traffic. It took a little over 30 minutes to get there I’m guessing, but it was nice to just rest, sit down in AC, and just close my eyes while riding along.
Liberty Fairs was very organized. And massive. They had sections curated with different brands that represent the same vibe. For instance, Ouigi Theodore from The Brooklyn Circus curated a section of Liberty that was very Americana with heavy Japanese influences. They had an entire grooming section as well. Free haircuts, face massages, shaves, and more. They had a cafe and free coffee made on the spot. I didn’t want to leave. But luckily I had time to go back on Tuesday.
After Liberty was done on Monday, and even though we were exhausted, we headed over to Chelsea to see the MAN trade show. My main goal of MAN was to meet up with The Hill-Side. The Hill-Side will be making it’s debut at Oxn this fall, and it was really awesome to talk to Vicken and even meet Emil, the co-founder of The Hill-Side. We just talked about the awesome GQ interview they did about being at Pitti last month, and a little bit about Memphis and what’s happening in the Spring.
Other than trade shows, it was iced coffee, walking, sweating, showering, sleeping in a room with no A/C, and more walking and sweating. It was overwhelming, exciting, fun, and and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.