The Barker Hangar, on the edge of the Santa Monica Airport’s tarmac, is a small, large space that seemed just right for GLM Shows (Surf Expo’s parent company) first step into West Coast fashion trade shows.
The Launch LA show, held July 25 -26, 2012, featured predominantly small brands that were not skate, not street, not only for men, and not overtly surf, though many leaned that way. The aisles weren’t packed, however, most booths saw a seemingly constant flow of interested people rolling through, catching up, and learning the stories of new new brands.
Launch organizers stated goal to expose small and emerging brands seemed to find traction. Some brands like Eric Wallis‘ &Work have never been to a trade show before. “This is our first show ever,” Wallis said. “We’re in shops in the Northwest, but we wanted to spread the brand message in Southern California. And this seemed right.”
Others have been doing shows for years, but thanks to recent projects their brand has been exposed to a whole new retail audience. “The work we’ve done with the One California Day hat (Mark Jeremias and Jason Baffa’s film) has opened us up into some shops that we’ve never been in before,” said Toes on the Nose’s John Allred. “And Launch is a neat opportunity to mingle in with some other brands.”