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Q&A with Purvi Kanji, vice president of Coterie New York on the show's evolution

By Vivian Hendriksz


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Purvi Kanji, VP of Coterie New York Credits: Informa Markets

Coterie New York, the trade event renowned for fostering connections among fashion professionals, unites contemporary brands, retailers, experts, and influencers and continually seeks to push the boundaries of innovation in the industry. Dating back to the 1980s, what first started out as an intimate gathering of 25 brands at the iconic Plaza Hotel has grown into an international bi-annual event for contemporary women’s apparel, footwear, and accessory brands. Evolving with the shifting fashion landscape, Coterie is set to return to New York this season, with its upcoming edition taking place from February 20 to February 22. Firmly placing community and culture at its center, the trade show aims to help shape the future of fashion.

As Coterie New York prepares to unveil a new era, we catch up with its Vice President, Purvi Kanji. Taking up the reins in December 2023, we learn more about her vision for Coterie, what we can expect at the upcoming edition, and how the show organizers are leveraging the latest technologies to bring industry members a new experience this season.

Purvi Kanji, VP of Coterie New York Credits: Informa Markets

When did you first begin your career in the fashion industry, and how has this shaped you?

"I began my career in fashion back in 2006. I worked as a buyer for multi-chain boutiques and as a sales associate for several Australian brands, and I eventually found myself working on strategic projects for emerging designers. My diverse background has provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the industry. My goal is that my expertise and passion will continue to make a positive impact."

What motivated you to take on the role of VP at Coterie, and what are your main responsibilities in this role?

"I was an attendee of Coterie for 11 years during my time with Place Showroom. I became very familiar with the show. When the opportunity opened, I knew I wanted to contribute to the show’s legacy in my own way. Now, as vice president of Coterie, I get to work hand in hand with the sales, brand, and retail teams – essentially all touchpoints of the business – to ensure Coterie’s identity comes to life."

What are your key strategies for evolving Coterie?

"Our goal is to continue to build upon the three Coterie pillars – sustainability, community, technology – as a guide, and we lean on those pillars to focus our growth. There is tremendous research and data to help support evolution in fashion and stay up to date on what buyers and brands want so we can guide and act as a resource for those who join us. I’m here to innovate our processes and evolve what we’re doing to create new experiences for our brands and buyers while staying true to our ethos."

How do you plan to integrate the latest innovations, technology, and digital solutions into the trade show experience?

"We are focused on integrating artificial intelligence for our upcoming show experiences. The February edition of Coterie will have AI bots onsite that will act as a digital concierge that can be used as a resource to find out information about the show. On a more immersive scale, we will also have an AI Technology Lounge that will showcase the transformative power of AI and highlight how machine learning and virtual experiences are reshaping the fashion industry as we know it"

What can attendees and exhibitors expect from the upcoming edition of Coterie?

"Expect more integration of innovative technology on the show floor, education that will connect our Coterie community, and creative ways of merchandising the show floor by creating easy-to-navigate, intimate neighborhoods. We’re also launching a new neighborhood on the show floor called Après Ski at Coterie this season. It will present cold-weather capsules and functional outerwear for winter weather. We are working to create key destinations at Coterie."

How do you plan to address the current trends and challenges wholesale brands and buyers face in the fashion industry?

"Brands and buyers turn to us for what’s next in the industry, and we are here as a resource. The industry is constantly evolving, and these changes are happening faster than ever. It's important for brands and buyers to have a consistent partner to turn to, which is why we’re always keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry – so we can then pass that knowledge on to our community through our content and education on-site."

Can you share your thoughts on sustainability and how Coterie is looking to contribute to pushing the green agenda forward?

"Sustainability is one of our core principles, and that emphasis cascades from the top down. As a resource to the fashion community, we want to guide brands who are not sure where to start with sustainability. We consistently partner with Hey Social Good for all our shows, and we’re collaborating with Arcadia Earth again this month for a showcase on sustainable brands that are pushing the envelope and to educate brands on how to build sustainability into their business model. Within the company, we strive to act sustainably by being mindful of the materials and resources we use at the show."

What are your plans for fostering a strong community at Coterie this season?

"Community is everything in this industry, and networking is key to building a strong community. We want the show to be a place of learning and connection where professionals can foster relationships. To foster a strong community, we aim to bring the right buyers and brands to the show, make sure they’re aligned with our ethos and values, and create genuine opportunities to connect."

How do you plan to keep Coterie at the forefront of wholesale fashion trade shows globally?

"Coterie is a very diverse show; over 30 percent of our exhibiting brands are from international destinations. The Coterie team spends a lot of time in markets across the world and works with government agencies to help international brands break into the US market. We will continue to grow this portion of the show each year."

What advice would you give to emerging designers and brands looking to make the most out of Coterie?

"Much of my background is in brand building, my advice is to get to know the ins and outs of the wholesale business and understand the needs of this business logistically. Shows are great places to get feedback firsthand and get exposure, which is crucial in growing your brand. Get clear on your vision, goals, and values. Most of all, be consistent."

As a leader in the fashion industry, what key lessons have you learned that you think are crucial for success in this field?

"The fashion industry is very relationship and connection-driven, so my most important piece of advice would be to build your network and make an effort to establish a relationship with everyone you meet. Be true to yourself, understand who you are and what you have to offer the industry. This will help you create meaningful connections."

Coterie New York
Purvi Kanji
Trade show