(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). An important group of 10 intimates companies will not be exhibiting at the September International Lingerie Show (ILS), including Dreamgirl, Coquette, Escanté, Mapalé (formerly Espiral), Fantasy, Elegant Moments, Hoss, Allure, Roma Costume and J. Valentine.
BODY confirmed the intention to not attend directly with the owners or executives of these firms, and in one case, Fantasy, the ILS itself.
Other key firms have confirmed to BODY that, as of June 8, they will be exhibiting at the show (September 12-14, at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas). These include Music Legs, Oh La La Cheri, Julie France, Leg Avenue, Shirley of Hollywood, Magic Silk, Felina/Jezebel, Carrie Amber/Seven ‘til Midnight and Electric Lingerie. In addition, ILS management provided a list of 132 brands in early June (including the names listed above), that it claimed will be exhibiting.
The decision by some companies not to exhibit at the September show began to gel at a breakfast meeting held during the last ILS show on Tuesday, April 5th at which about 25 exhibiting brands were represented, according to many of those who were there. A key proposal at the meeting, organized with the help of Eric Ehrens, formerly the president of sales and major account sales representative at Dreamgirl and now a sales representative for that organization among others, was to discuss the creation of a new trade organization, The Lingerie Industry Association (LIA).
A second item on the agenda was a discussion of the ILS. Several wholesalers at the meeting shared complaints, in particular about the September edition. The most urgent problems cited were claims about a lack of customers and poor order-writing.
Ehrens, who is taking the lead in organizing the LIA, told BODY that “the purpose of the organization is to put unity into the industry, not to kill the show.” He added that he has been acting as a central clearing house of information for wholesalers about the September show and he provided BODY lists of those brands that are planning to attend, not planning to attend, as well as those brands that are undecided. He emphasized that he wanted the LIA to include not only those not attending, but also those attending.
Ehrens said he is urging as many lingerie makers as possible to “join LIA no matter what,” and that the various needs of the future members were his first concern. He concluded that his goal was to “unify the industry.”
The sales executive said he expects to incorporate the LIA in the next few days and will then be applying for tax exempt status. He expects to draw initial membership for the 25 companies who attended the breakfast in Las Vegas.
During the latter part of April and the month of May, it is clear from discussions with executives at the various brands involved that some who had already decided not to attend the September ILS, called other colleagues in the industry and made their intentions known. As Ehrens noted, “If the vendors want to influence one another...”
The situation is fluid, with more announcements expected in the coming days. One important exhibitor, René Rofé, who has taken a large booth at the ILS in the Miranda room for several years, wrote BODY on June 8, “We are undecided about the September show.” Pedram Labib, the CEO at Be Wicked wrote BODY, “We still do not know.”
In a response to a letter from Ehrens, sent to various wholesalers, outlining the positions taken by various brands in regards to the September ILS, show owner Jeff Yunis, and executives Michael Moreira and John Pace emailed a letter to exhibitors and buyers explaining, “a letter has gone out telling the press and some exhibitors that a small number of exhibitors has decided to forgo attending the Sept. ILS show. In doing this, they have not only given up their prime booth locations, but perhaps the possibility of rejoining ILS when we move to our new location in April. (Negotiations are now in progress).”
The trio added, “What does this mean for you? It means MORE BUSINESS FOR YOU!!! Hundreds and hundreds of buyers will still be coming to ILS. They will still be spending open-to-buys. Without some names they used to see, they will now spend those dollars with the companies who are at the show.”
“This is not life or death for ILS. It just presents us with a great new opportunity to grow the show in a new location and direction. We are going to make September a great show (for you). Help us do it.”
Yunis told BODY that he plans to move exhibitors from the Miranda room (the smaller room on the side where such brands as René Rofé and Leg Avenue and others have been located previously) all into the main room in September. He added that he and his team will be designing a new booth layout in the next few days.
Looking ahead to next March or April 2017, the ILS has already suggested it might be moving to a new location. In addition it has been hinted that certain lingerie brands might seek alternative exhibition options next spring. But none of these plans are definite yet.
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