It’s A Wrap! A 3-day Fashion High at PROJECT SHOW NY

By Karina Mendoza Calayag
Photography by Ramon Orlanes

Held in New York and Las Vegas bi-annually, fashion trade event PROJECT offers a sneak peek of what’s “in” and what’s “out”, what’s heating up in streetwear: from the hip-hop culture, collegiate Ivy-League and bespoke workwear; relaxed to tailored; luxe to more-affordable price-point; the established, the market-entrant, the start-up newbie designers.

PROJECT says “it draws the most directional brands to showcase their upcoming designs to the most influential retailers in the global marketplace.”  Reaping the efficiencies of today’s technology, “it is designed to drive commerce, creativity and connectivity”.

This year’s second PROJECT NY was held from July 22 – July 24 at 82 Mercer St. in Lower Manhattan’s artsy neighborhood, SOHO.  I was accompanied by Photographer Ramon Orlanes attending the first day of the three-day event.

In the first floor was a section called MADE by PROJECT.  Its theme this season is the craftsman in an industrialized society in reflection of the prevailing economic ennui, “the struggle to succeed in the face of adversity”.  The vintage-washed-aged appearance in jeans, chinos, shirts, polos and outerwear, Americana (the reds, whites, blues, stripes and stars), denim and non-denim domineering.  There were eye-catching metropolitan footwear and accessories: jewelry, sunglasses, hats, bags, ties, leather shoes, boots, and, of course, hi-tops.  Designers flaunted their product’s uniqueness; remarkable detail (untraditional-function pockets, design-changing button placements); progressive up-cycled materials and fabric treatments, leather trimmings and embroidery; social-geopolitical-awareness; heritage and “Made-In-The-USA”; anything to make them different.  They were pleased to indulge us, proudly demonstrating and modeling their creations for that authentic look they envision and want to impart.

Among the many stellar mention-ables are jeweler/designer MCohen’s “vintage”-pieces; Goorin’s old-world fedoras; Jacks&Jokers’ designs from “Bicycle” playing-cards original designer; Barbour’s Steve McQueen collaboration-collection; sister companies MarketJ.A.C.H.S.; innovative Cyclus’ “armadillo”-bags from inner-tubes, bed stü, Zen Mechanics, Union Jeans, Groceries, Hip&Bone, JCRags, TrueReligion.

M Cohen shows attendees how to mix and layer his bracelets.

"M" is for Maor - handsome designer of M Cohen.

Erwin Samson of Goorin Bros.

Scot Lerner of Jacks&Joker

Barbours' repair services in action.

Jon Wisniewski of Barbour

James Costa Brand Director of JACHS Academy and his beautiful assistant

Ralph Thoma CEO Cyclus. They utilize used inner-tubes as their material for their backpacks and bags.

Doing an interview with Paul Ayson and Nicole Bertrami of bed stü.

Paul pointing out the special way their shoes are stitched making them resolable.

Zen Mechanics - A Los Angeles based casual luxury brand designed for men that are fashion savvy and appreciate comfort, unique styling & high quality fabric and workmanship.

It took 5 seconds for Tony Shellman of Union Jeans to lay out Carribean and Americana-inspired coordinates.

Matt Boelk Partner/Brand Liaison GROCERIES

Ready to do savvy-combat at work with J.C. Rags apparel.

Hip + Bone is a Montreal based collection of knowledge-loving truth seekers with a deep appreciation for art, fashion and individualism.

True Religion was founded in 2002 by industry veteran Jeffrey Lubell. The founder, chairman and chief executive officer built the brand based on the principles of quality, American-made authentic denim with timeless appeal and a vintage aesthetic.

MADE by PROJECT presented some artisanal brands (like leathermaker-ETWAS) whiich created their goods right on the show floor.  The pop-up concept offered a behind-the-scenes view of how products are made; for a transparency that builds a greater appreciation and understanding of the products tightening the connection between designer and user.

The Etwas Leather Workshop

Upstairs was The Blogger PROJECT, more designer booths and much-welcomed complimentary amenities.  The Blogger PROJECT had influential bloggers providing up-to-the-minute buzz thru a live internet broadcast perhaps to be “Facebooked”, “Twittered” and “Pinned” by readers.

The Blogger Project featured select websites/individuals who officially covered 2012 Project Show NY .

The three hours of meeting vendors and browsing through their pieces, did not even afford us to sit and, if we wanted, partake in the gratuitous spoils: tequila bar; coffee bar; hair services; and a photographer with a fully functional photo studio complete with models, hair and makeup stylists – so brands may have their product professionally shot, and attendees, their photo taken.

Guests got hair cuts, blow dries, beard trims "on the house" courtesy of Rudy's Barbeshop NYC.

Although it was not enough time to experience in its entirety, at least we know first-hand why PROJECT has been touted, even lauded, by some fashion journalists as the more relevant fashion event (comparing it to the ever-prominent Fashion Week) for its collections are fundamental urban everyday-wear with a fashion-forward twist.

Check out our entire photo recap from PROJECT NY here


ABOUT PROJECT: Launched in 2003, PROJECT is the world’s preeminent advanced contemporary fashion event. Held bi-annually in New York and Las Vegas, PROJECT features the most innovative and creative brands and attracts the most significant retailers in the global marketplace by connecting them in a vibrant and community-focused environment. For more information, please visit
While in the Hotel and Rest Admin program of the Univ of the Philippines, Karina Calayag attended many courses in food and beverages, and notable among them were courses in Wine Appreciation. She continued her undergraduate studies at Notre Dame de Namur University in two more broad-based majors: Business Administration and Economics, and ultimately earned her MBA from Golden Gate University. She is married with two beautiful daughters, choosing to raise her family after graduation rather than pursuing the professional opportunities offered to her, and thus she rightly earned the title “Domestic Goddess”. She currently resides on the peninsula of the San Francisco Bay Area. An avid skier, diver and driver (to her kids), an occasional model and full time ROLE model. She loves the Bay Area but she is often visiting in New York, primarily because it’s where her sister lives, though over the years she’s found NY more and more endearing. She found her heart captivated by New York City’s energy and vibrance, convergence of both old and new, food and fashion central, all the arts and culture. Now that her children are getting older, she is setting her sights on traveling to more distant shores, more adventures and possibly pursuing her own passions.
Ramon Orlanes only got serious with photography last year. Since then, he has traipsed the streets of New York to cover numerous events as well as engagement photo shoots. He has also collaborated with other people in the industry for runway and editorial fashion spreads. The one thing that has really sustained his love for photography is the passion to try and capture priceless moments. Ramon also currently works as Director of IT of a software company headquartered in NY with presence in major cities in the world, Toronto, Vancouver, Tokyo, London, Paris, Brisbane, Mumbai, and others. You can check out his work at