By  on February 14, 2005

WWDMAGIC is kicking off with various new vendors as competition heats up in the apparel industry. Show officials said many categories will hit capacity, and others are boasting strong increases from one year ago.

As of press time, the contemporary category and women’s sportswear and dresses both have experienced a 24 percent increase, while juniors’ reported a 7 percent jump.

One notable change on the market floor is the closing of the in•dex enclave, a juried group of designers in the contemporary category that has been open for two years. For the most part, vendors from in•dex will join its brother half at the men’s show, creating one-stop shopping for retailers. However, a few, including Laundry by Shelli Shegal and Gasp, will stay behind and merge into the women’s group.

“We wanted to make the shopping experience easier for retailers,” said Ernae Mothershed, public relations manager for MAGIC.

The contemporary category, which many vendors said is booming at retail, also will be joined by first-time exhibitors C&C California and Jack Star Jeans, both based in Los Angeles.

Jack Star is offering nonstretch jeans in deep indigo and stretch jeans done in gray tints. The line, which is already known for its contemporary styles with higher rises, is adding a 9.5-inch rise to the collection, according to owner and designer Angie Furlong. Wholesale prices range from $66 to $80.

Furlong, who has worked for Lucky Brand Jeans in the past, said the denim category is one of WWDMAGIC’s strengths.

“If you’re a denim resource, you have to be there,” she said.

Denim’s hefty presence within the contemporary category also is bolstered by the arrival of Jelessy, a six-month-old line from L.A. that features denim jeans, miniskirts and blazers garment-dyed in a host of colors. Wholesale prices range from $48 to $98.

Owner Steven Shaul also is presenting the company’s new collection of bottoms designed in cotton piqué that is treated to resemble faded denim, as well as Red String by Jelessy, a licensed line with the Kaballah Centre in L.A. that features tops embellished with images from the Kaballah. Wholesale price points range from $34 to $35. 

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