Last week, the menswear community gathered at PROJECT Las Vegas, the highly regarded trade show that brings fashion brands, retailers, and media together, to unpack the state of streetwear. This season’s show included N:OW, a subset of PROJECT that focuses on culturally relevant fashion and serves as a creative hub for participants.
Since its debut at PROJECT Las Vegas last year, N:OW has quickly grown into an important center of activity for the market. “N:OW is the first show I know about that’s looked at streetwear and validated it and said that we actually matter,” Thulani Ngazimbi, the founder of The Rad Black Kids, told us. “They’ve given us a [new] platform, all of the streetwear people, so it’s kind of dope to see that the show’s grown dramatically; apparently, it’s four times the size of the first show in Vegas.”
For other brands, N:OW has helped them stretch beyond their core customers. “It’s been great. It’s been a different customer than we’re used to. We just finished Pitti and then Paris Fashion Week and then New York Fashion Week, so it’s a different crowd, but we’re getting some interesting customers who have come through who we wouldn’t probably see before, so I think it’s been really successful for us,” David Raysse, Brandblack’s founder, shared with us.
Brands in attendance included Alpha Industries, Atomic Mission Gear, Champion, Pink Dolphin Clothing, Publish, and Super by Retrosuperfuture, to name a few. "We’re receiving so many inbound requests from brands and retailers to be part of next season," Brian Trunzo, senior consultant and forecaster for WGSN, told us. "They want to be part of the presentations and the panels and the discussions and the community building that’s going on. It’s been really overwhelming and good."
Not only was Highsnobiety on the ground to cover the three-day event, which took place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, we were an integral part of the show’s programing, which included our very own Jeff Carvalho and Noah Thomas taking part in panels discussing some of the most pressing subjects in fashion today. One panel included Carvalho and Trunzo accompanied by Manny Martinez, founder of American Branding and representing Champion, and Andrew Hampshire, senior buyer for Concepts. They deep-dived into who the new luxury consumer is. The conversation was supported by Highsnobiety’s white paper on the state of luxury fashion, which was published last year.
“I love the topic. I think Highsnobiety is one of the few thought-leaders in the space who can conduct this conversation, so the fact that they did that to me is very impressive and very necessary,” Trunzo told us. “Usually, these sorts of white papers are written by management consultants or trend researchers or people who aren’t necessarily in this space. So for Highsnobiety to use their position is the perfect platform to host that conversation.”
Of course, PROJECT Las Vegas wasn't all business. On February 6th, PROJECT took over The LIGHT Vegas nightclub and hosted one of the most-talked about parties of the week that included a sick performance by A$AP Ferg. Peep the video above to experience PROJECT Las Vegas through the lens of Highsnobiety’s Noah Thomas, which includes riding around Vegas, checking out what’s hot on the floors at PROJECT, and meeting up with Ferg backstage before the show.
And for more on PROJECT, check out ProjectShow.com. See you next season.