Sourcing at MAGIC is getting a makeover in the hands of a new leader.
Christopher Griffin, who has been promoted to president of WWDMAGIC and Sourcing, is ramping up the traffic and buzz of a critical component of the fashion industry that many designers tend to overlook. By overseeing both shows, he hopes to turn more WWDMAGIC exhibitors into Sourcing attendees, luring them with new features like seminars on costume design and wearable technology in the Third Wave Fashion Social Media Lounge, the debuts of pavilions from Mongolia and Egypt, access to bloggers and a heightened focus on U.S. manufacturing.
“That brings energy and interest and a relevancy to the sourcing show,” said Griffin, who works with more than 1,200 exhibitors from 43 countries at Sourcing, which is moving back to the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Hall from the North Hall. “It doesn’t have to be dull. It doesn’t have to lack for content. My idea was: Let’s bring in some of the things that educate people.” RELATED STORY: Exclusively at ENK Vegas >>
The changes come at a time when the entire sourcing process — particularly the details of how and where garments are made — is placed under greater scrutiny. Recent factory disasters in Bangladesh have spurred fashion brands to take more responsibility, and high-profile investors such as Alexander Soros have backed entrepreneurs that seek to bring transparency to the gritty process.
While Sourcing has highlighted domestic producers under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Commerce in past August editions, this February show is the first time that “Made in USA” is a focus. Occupying up to 5,000 square feet of space, 42 American factories will greet visitors entering from the front doors.
Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Kelly Bernard is expected to make a speech on Feb. 19 to promote the city’s businesses. Also on the agenda is a seminar titled “How to Market Made in America,” with panelists representing Anthropologie, Red Clay Design and other fashion brands.
“Wal-Mart has obviously gotten behind ‘Made in USA’ in a big way,” Griffin said. “For us, the timing was now— it wasn’t to wait [until August].”
Other key seminars include one on how costume designers and wardrobe stylists create looks for shows such as “Mad Men,” “True Blood” and “American Idol” locally, as well as a talk about what designers and manufacturers need to know when drawing up wearable technology.
Ultimately, attendees at Sourcing want to find people who can help make their designs come to life. Thus, Griffin said, new booth signs will indicate minimum amounts for an order, duty-free status and certification by Tradegood and other social compliance agencies. MAGIC also will have six Mandarin speakers, along with Indian and Pakistani representatives, on hand for interpretation services.
“You’ve got to pay attention to sourcing,” he said. “If you’re all about brand and image and you don’t know what’s going on in the sourcing side, you can do your brand a disservice and drive your brand out of business.”
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia