If you haven't noticed, it's trade show week here in New York. Along with Coterie, Capsule (more on that tomorrow), and Rendez-Vous, The Train & The Box set up shop here for yet another season.
Founded by Pret-a-Porter fashion director Muriel Piaser, The Train & The Box consists of 100 carefully-selected designers, ranging from the obscure (Dats, Irene Van Ryb) to the well known (Whistle & Flute, Repetto). This season, Piaser spotlighted Scandinavian designers with a special showcase called Nordic Invasion. Featured brands included Elton & Jacobsen, Ida Sjostedt and Islaet.
Fashionista quizzed Piaser on what differentiates The Train & The Box from its trade show counterparts. Fashionista: Why focus on the Scandinavian fashion scene? Muriel Piaser: For me, it's very important to introduce markets that are unknown to US buyers. This season, the Nordic designers are the most fashion forward. They're creative, they're great at marketing and they offer a good price for value. That's exactly what the buyers attending want. It's very important to give them an alternative to what is already on the market. These brands are already established in their home markets and I saw a great opportunity for crossover. I always aim to introduce a curated mix of designers to our showcase instead of just providing a random assortment of redundant brands.
Why was it important for you to bring your Paris-based show to New York? As I mentioned before, we saw a void of emerging European talent in the US market. We saw the opportunity and it was a good moment in the fashion world to introduce these new brands. The success here means that we'll probably expand to even to more international markets over the next few seasons.
What makes yours different from other trade shows? The Train & The Box is more like a large showroom: Very selective and intimate. We are really investing in these emerging talents and hope they will return year after year. The Train now has four sections: The Train (for more established designers), The Box ( an accessories section), The Engine (for up and coming designers) and the new designer showcase introduced this season [Nordic Invasion]. We want these designers to grow through the exposure we bring them and move from the new designer showcase to The Engine and end up in The Train. We also want to create a beautiful environment in which to introduce the buyers to the brand. And we want it to be an emotional experience; one in which the buyers are able to really get a sense of each designer's vision, from the materials to the details, instead of seeing them as bulk.