In February, StyleMax expects to boast a greater collection of contemporary accessories, including handbags, jewelry and footwear on the Merchandise Mart's 7th floor, and will be held in conjunction with the 8th floor men's show Chicago Collective, providing retailers who carry both men's and women's apparel the opportunity for one-stop shopping.
In April, StyleMax again will coincide with another significant market, the National Bridal Market Chicago, allowing buyers to attend both shows.
"It makes sense," said Susan McCullough, senior vice president of apparel for Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., about the correlating dates of the men's and bridal markets with StyleMax. "It only really benefits a percentage of people, but there's no downside to doing it."
Retailers and manufacturers appreciate the connection, she said. "The feedback is all good."
At the February StyleMax, running Feb. 2 to 5, McCullough said not only will buyers encounter new contemporary accessories resources, but a more logically organized contemporary area on the showroom floor, gathering more like vendors together.
"The idea is always to have it be easier to shop," McCullough said. "We want to look at who should be hanging together and make sure they're more clustered."
In addition, organizers may create a section for New York-based lines and those from Los Angeles.
Another new feature will be an area devoted to spa lines, including everything from yogawear to candles and aromatherapy. "It seems like there's a whole interest in the spa experience," McCullough said. "Every time you turn around it seems there is a new spa opening and people want to have that experience in their homes."
For retailers, it could represent add-on sales, even if the purchase is only a candle, she said. Market organizers may introduce a small area in February and grow the space and resources at the next market in April, McCullough said.
In the meantime, the Feb. 2 to 5 StyleMax, spotlighting summer and early fall fashions, will offer various events for buyers. A seminar on how to best navigate the showroom floor will be held at 9 a.m. on Feb. 2 at the 7th floor market suites, conference room 7A. Later that day, Style Watch, which runs from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. from Feb. 2 to 4 at the StyleMax Café, will feature informal modeling during a complimentary lunch. And on Feb. 2, retailers are invited to The Collections bridge and designer brands fashion show at 6:30 p.m. at the 8th floor Special Events Atrium, with a preshow cocktail reception at 6 p.m.