Project Las Vegas: First Day at the Super Bowl

The first day at Project started with a bang.  I missed my ride over to the show so I had to flag a cab in Vegas.  Little did I realise it is illegal to flag a cab in Vegas.  Luckily some desperate cabby broke the rules and ferried me over to the Mandalay Bay.  Eric (Junkyardjeans) Fabian and Caleb(Enemy to Fashion) already arrived at the show and finished setting up our booth.  I walked into the hotel convention and as penance was tasked with acquiring drinks and fruit salad.  I did not know that only one resto booth would be open and charging triple normal pricing.  So I waited and I waited and I waited and then spent 40 dollars blackmail style  on some fruit salad, coffees and a few other sundries.  I headed toward the show entrance and KAPOW so many people.  Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful people, fashion buyers, owners, designers, aficionados, bloggers, press, models and anybody else you can think of making their ways  down the main concourse and heading into the show.  When I arrived at the booth the lads informed me Decker was held up and his rare Crocker motorcycle would not make it that day.  That was ok, his cuts and Eric’s looked amazing.  The pictures say it all.  I walked down Main St.  as the booth was down the central isle.  The show was so cool set up like a N.Y.C. street map with all the best highest end brands setting up million dollar booths.  The jewel in the crown was the Wooster booth where fashion curatorial genius Nick Wooster organized collaborative projects with  top planetary design genii.  Where else would you see Darren Romanelli of DRx hanging out with Brett Viberg, or Maurizio Donadi of LVC with Donwan Harrell of PRPS jeans trying on Himel Brothers jackets and getting opinions from Judy Augur.  Basically every person or owner was by to encourage me and my project.  Mr. Tsujimoto owner of Real McCoys dropped in to share words of support, and his son Kento tried on my newest model 1910 Canuck Railroad jacket.  Our booth was right beside the photo studio so while Fabian of Junkyardjeans was making amazing old time chainstitch biker patches we got to chat up potential buyers and network with the top design minds on the planet while being entertained by models.  Project is really really cool.  They set up ping pong tables for the attendees…PING PONG!  I was completely drained by the end of day one but that just meant making dinner plans and recharging by attending the craziest party hosted by Project and running around having the old school Vegas buffet dinner with some very badass store owners and designers.  I probably sound star struck but it is far more than that.  I already achieved my goals to find partners to work with in the U.S. but Project was really a bigger step upward.  I somehow found myself standing side by side with the designers of every major brand that I used to sell design and inspiration pieces to.  LVC, Ben Sherman, Barbour, Woolrich, PRPS, G Star and a million others.  I attended parties like a shoe launch at UNDEFEATED and had networking dinners  with guys running brands worth millions.  In the clothing business showing your face is very important especially if you want to work with collaborative projects down the road.  What was really really interesting on top of that were all the teams behind these brands.  Every booth was represented by the teams that built the brands and the lines.  And what blew my mind the most was not just the incredible level of design at the Wooster Project, but the fact that a whole bunch of these cats were aware of my leather jacket brand micro project and followed my blogging.  It freaked me out when people came over to try on jackets and told me they were waiting to see one in person.  Awesome!


Project Las Vegas: The Race

This year my trip was a marathon of sleeplessness Los Angeles is truly one of the great cultural cities on the planet.  The vibe is completely different then my east coast existence.  People seem to have more room to create and more facilities to do it in.  Inspiration and the RRL party were incredible but after a week of flu and 3 to 5 hours of sleep a night, I needed one night of catchup. Sunday Rose Bowl  flea market is really a 5 am gig so technically I missed all the really good fun.  That being said, it was time to put Nancy back on a plane to her other job in Toronto so we needed a good breakfast and some check out time.  After a day at the bowl and a sad goodbye it was time to pack up and head down the road for Project Las Vegas. I had never attended a trade show of this scale and had no idea what to expect.  Caleb (Enemy to Fashion) and Eric (Junkyardjeans) called me for the emergency pack out. Apparently we had to get from Pasadena to Las Vegas by 6 pm in order to set up for the show.  We had three hours to do it in.

The pack up at the Rose Bowl was insane.  Between Eric’s stuff from Idaho, Caleb’s from North Carolina and mine from Toronto, all the display stuff and various sundries the van was starting to dangerously overflow.  We filled and filled and filled and at some point Eric stopped and pointed out we had to meet up with Jeff Decker, famous motorcycle expert and bronze sculptor, and fit his motorcycle cuts in the back.  Well in some sort of unbelievable puzzle like solution every single inch of the V-10 Econoline was filled.  There was barely enough room to squeeze our asses into the seats between the sewing machines and gear to the ceiling.  It was a miracle.  So was the journey completed in 2 hours 47 minutes.

Pulling up to Mandalay Bay at 5:57 PM was exhausting.  We arrived happy to make the deadline and feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead of unloading the madly  overloaded van and creating a world class booth from scratch. We waited for the union boys to truck the gear into the building and I walked into my first ever Big League trade show.  It was incredible.  The scale was hard to imagine.  We somehow scored a booth on the main entrance aisle of the show beside brands like LVC Clothing, PRPS Jeans, Ben Sherman and a select few other super cool brands.  Now it was time to figure out how to construct an amazing display with our van load of “stuff”  after most of the other million dollar booth exhibitors had gone home .  Luckily Caleb who has years of experience in trade shows from both sides was an expert in these matters.  Caleb set up a rough layout with Eric and I ran around digging up bubble wrap and other discarded materials from the Wooster booth to stuff into our bags and boots to make them look good.  We had to figure out a way to accommodate Jeff’s rare Crocker motorcycle that he was going to try and bring by.   We set up and by 11 pm after a quick hello to Mike Hodis and the lads at Rising Sun who were also there late into the evening, we headed out to find a hotel and a poker room.