KNOWSHOW rides into cool
KNOWSHOW—it’s not just about betties, boarders, and surfers anymore. The lifestyle trade show now boasts an eclectic mix of exhibitors that offer way more than just your standard skater fare. This year, more than 300 labels from around the world will showcase their 2013 spring-summer collections in the Vancouver Convention Centre between Thursday and Saturday (August 9 and 11)—not too shabby considering that KNOWSHOW only started out in 2006 with around 75 brands.
Of this year’s plethora of booths, more than 40 are new to the fair. Word is spreading fast: if you own an edgy streetwear upstart or you rep for an international heavy hitter, this is where you want to showcase your wares to retailers and media who are on the hunt for next season’s trends.
One of the most interesting KNOWSHOW newbies is Shwood, an Oregon-based eyewear company that makes handcrafted wooden sunglasses—and they’re gorge! Another made-in-the-shade booth that will hopefully catch the eye of some local buyers is the Wonderland label. These handmade glasses are finely detailed works of modern art yet very wearable at the same time.
For jeans, one of the coolest lines that will be on display is Analog Clothing. This menswear label doesn’t stone-wash its denim—it “wheel” washes it with used skateboard wheels, which apparently yields a stronger yet softer fabric.
There’s also the THVM, an L.A.–based design collective that makes premium denim for men and women and sells jeans for less than 100 bucks.
In ladies’ wear, there’s something for almost every taste. For tweens, the news is at Lost for Her, a young contemporary line that creates trendy, indie, pop-punk pieces that are edgy but not tarty. And for the more mature woman, there’s Mickey and Jenny, a line of statement, drape-y pieces epitomizing casual sophistication.
One ladies’ label that hits almost every age demographic is BB Dakota. This Californian mother-and-daughter design team makes totally cute, flirty party frocks for around 100 bucks.
Another standout among all the hoodie and ball-cap peddlers will be the Minimum exhibit. This Danish line of men and women’s wear focuses on sharply designed, well-fitted basics that are on trend but not trendy.
When it comes to instant street cred, Billionaire Boys Club is one to watch. That’s where prep-school scamp meets indie-rock bad boy—think Blake Fielder-Civil.
In the giving-back department, there’s Ten Tree. For every article of clothing this activewear company sells, it plants—you guessed it—10 trees. Which is pretty freaking awesome, if you think about it. And there’ll be plenty more innovative, up-and-coming brands like that one for trade-show buyers to browse through—and hopefully for us to browse through when they hit local stores next year.
That said, the bulk of KNOWSHOW will still cater to the business of boarding—Vans, Etnies, Body Glove, and Roxy are just a few of the big names that will be in da house.
In terms of indie boarding labels to look for, L.A.’s Golf Wang has a bit of buzz going on right now. Judging by GW’s tumbler blog, this is an ironic line of bowling shirts and Ts for the young and awesomely arrogant set. And God love ’em—it just wouldn’t be KNOWSHOW if skateboarding dirtbags weren’t properly represented. They are, after all, the trendsetters for most streetwear style.