The evolution of COTERIE is here! Returning to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from February 21–23, this year’s show will feature new designers and fresh ways for attendees to discover established and emerging brands. Kelly Helfman, president of Informa Markets Fashion, tells The Daily what’s in store!
COTERIE had a reboot last season! Tell us more about the continuing evolution of the show.
COTERIE will continue to evolve by nurturing newness in the contemporary category, bringing global brands and designers to the forefront, connecting them with key industry players and lending fresh voices to important conversations around sustainability, technology, and community. Attendees will be able to see and feel this evolution energy throughout the show.
What’s new this year, and what can attendees expect to see?
There are some incredible additions coming for 2023. This February, we will feature a new focused space on the show floor, which will highlight a portfolio of designers that represent the new era of COTERIE—an assemblage of sought-after designers with discerning perspectives that will be called the Gallery. Moving forward each season, the Gallery will present a new focus. This season will be a mixed-merchandised story of new-to-show and of-the-moment designers, each advancing the confines of their categories with their distinct points of view. This edition will have brands such as Simon Miller, Reike Nen, and Jennifer Fisher Jewelry.
What new aspects are you most excited for attendees to experience at this upcoming COTERIE?
I’m excited for our attendees to get to see the new brands, because that’s always the primary reason they come to our show—to discover the new. We have some innovative designers joining us for the first time, including some more established brands, as well as fresh emerging brands in the contemporary and advanced contemporary women’s market space. Dubié and Naya Rea will be coming to COTERIE for the first time, alongside returning advanced contemporary brands Mes Demoiselles, Madeleine Thompson, Amur, and Maxime Simoens. COTERIE is known for having a strong global community with brands from all over the world, including Korea, Turkey, France, Ukraine, and Spain. This show, we will again have a dedicated section that will house more than 70 brands from Italy all merchandised together. International labels will account for nearly 30 percent of exhibitors. New to COTERIE for February 2023 will be the addition of IMFC (Informa Markets Fashion for Change) brands including Kaphill, Liselle Kiss, and Autumn Adeigbo. This program was created in 2020 as on ongoing initiative to foster allyship, inclusion, and equality in the fashion community through programs that support, nurture, and elevate minority-owned, female-owned, and LGBT+-owned fashion brands. Our goal is to continue growing this program through each of our events.
We know one of the pillars of COTERIE is sustainability. What are some sustainability-related
events and activations we should be looking for?
As a leader in the fashion industry, we want to encourage brands to become more socially
and environmentally conscious. With our reach as a global organization, we have the opportunity, as well as the responsibility, to make a positive impact on how the fashion industry overcomes our negative contribution to the environment. At COTERIE as well as our other shows, brands have the opportunity to become Verified as Sustainable through a process that’s powered by Hey Social Good. This is done by collecting and analyzing data based off their environmental impact and social good deeds. This year, the following COTERIE brands have been verified or are in the process of becoming verified: Amur, Brodie Cashmere, Crush Cashmere, DL1961, Haris Cotton, MM33 Milano, Marine Layer, Mavi, Mia Peru, NIC+ZOE, Outerknown, Tanavana, and Vagabond.
Technology plays a big part in the evolution of COTERIE. Tell us about what we can experience
featuring the latest fashion technology onsite.
There will be a fusion of both sustainability and technology as we move forward. Guests will be able to step into an Augmented Reality (AR) experience in a partnership with Arcadia Earth, focused on circularity, sustainability, and technology with the purpose of creating meaningful conversations to uncover new ideas and solutions to protect our environment. In addition to the educational component of the installations, our panel discussions will cover various topics with the goal of educating our attendees on innovative discoveries and new ideas in the fashion industry. This season, we’ll be providing a thought-provoking discussion on a variety of methods to become more sustainable when it comes to textiles, technology, retail solutions, and trade. Be sure to check back closer to showtime to get the full lineup of experiences and education sessions.
Any special brand callouts that you might have for the upcoming COTERIE?
I’m particularly excited for Lelet New York, which is an incredible and beloved hair accessories brand in the Gallery, and they’ll be doing a styling bar where they will perform demos and provide styling opportunities with their pieces for buyers. EDIT, which is the home to an incredible assortment of hand-selected international collections, will have brands such as MooRER, Colombo, and Missoni shoes. We’re also launching a new Beauty area, where we’ll be welcoming some favorites like 19-69 and Alder New York.
What kind of feedback did you get about the new changes from the brands showing?
The feedback from the first iteration of our COTERIE evolution last September was beyond positive and embraced by the community. Attendees were inspired by the new look and feel, our core pillars around what we stand for, the extensive content, how we relooked at merchandising the show floor to better address how buyers shop and, of course, our interactive experiences. I think the changes were all reflective of what’s happening, not only in our industry, but in our world and it was time we took action to make impactful changes. We received numerous comments about the digitalization of our show with the use of more screens and less paper use, the AR/VR experiences, interactive digital show maps and directories, and QR codes throughout the event for curated brand edits. Attendees also expressed their appreciation for how much more intentional we were with curating our brand assortment, which adds value for them to visit the show. Buyers asked and we listened. We want our community to know that we hear their feedback, and we’re doing everything we can to work it into our programs and strategies as we move further into 2023 and beyond.
What kind of programming is in the works?
Our show is not only about brand discovery and order writing; the on-site activations and experiences are always memorable for our attendees and inspire ideas for their own businesses. For example, just within our Accessories category we have DIY jewelry experiences, eternity bracelet giveaways, a nail art bar, and complimentary permanent accessory activations. Each year we present a physical trend display to help guide our retailers on what to shop for, and this year we’re kicking it up a notch by offering a COTERIE New York interactive trend display, where guests can activate with the press of a button to uncover a curation of the latest trends. All this content, including our robust trend reports, are complimentary for our attendees.
How do you and your team typically celebrate when the show is over?
Personally, I like to take a spa day and a long nap. Most of our shows take a minimum of six months to plan, produce, and create with a limited staff. It’s incredible what our team pulls off in such little time. We’re always strategizing or planning; we never have downtime. For example, I’m setting all the 2024 show details now while planning and executing our Q1 events. With Informa Markets Fashion organizing 14 shows a year, it’s crucial that the team and I all take some well-deserved time after each major event to reset and recharge to avoid burnout. We give the team a few days off after each show to make sure they do just that! I’m a major advocate of self-care and a healthy work-life balance.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Things are just beginning for the COTERIE community. As we all know, change doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why we call this an “evolution.” We’re making headway and starting to evolve our show’s offering for both brands and buyers in a way we never did before. COTERIE is not only about bringing brands and buyers together, but also industry tastemakers, whether that be stylists, top press, influencers, investors, and activists. It’s about the full ecosystem coming together to make business happen and move our industry forward.