By  on February 23, 1994

LAS VEGAS -- Denim was a star attraction for women's wear buyers shopping the MAGIC International show here last week.

The show, the premier men's wear trade show in the country, opened its doors to a limited number of women's resources two years ago, and at last week's show about 100 exhibitors featured women's wear -- some exclusively, some as adjuncts to men's collections.

The four-day show, which ran through Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, boasted approximately 2,500 exhibitors in all.

Retailers eyeing women's lines reported flat or slightly increased budgets. Items on their shopping lists included:

  • Stonewashed denim in basic bodies.
  • Utilitarian workwear, including shortalls and carpenter pants.
  • Knit tops to wear with such styles.
Among the looks attracting attention on the floor were shrunken poor-boy-rib T-shirts and denim HotPants from Buffalo by David Bittan, small-wale corduroy shortalls in muted earth tones by UFO, an off-white Tencel denim group with lacing detail by Parasuco and Jou Jou's patchwork group.

Gretchen Shoup, president of Denim World, seven men's and women's stores in the Phoenix, Ariz., area, said she was finding women's items from such top denim resources as Wrangler, Levi Strauss and Request Jeans. Must-have styles for Shoup were denim straight skirts -- long and short -- as well as five-pocket jeans. Shopping price points of $10 to $25 wholesale, she favored indigo, black and stonewash treatments.

"We just like basics," she said. "Whatever we can't find at MAGIC, we will look for at the western wear show here in two weeks."

Other resources going after the women's business at the show included Generra, Z. Cavaricci, Edwin, Jumping Joy, Clipper Bay, Lisa & Me, Joe Boxer Girlfriend, O Wear, Enuf, BUM Equipment, Earth Angels and Lip Service.

Apparel buyers from Universal Studios theme park in Studio City, Calif. stocked up on unisex items, including denim shorts and jackets by Union Bay and Pacific Trail. Hooded T-shirts, mock turtlenecks, colorblock and screenprinted knit tops were also on their list.

This latest edition of MAGIC attracted a total of approximately 35,000 retailers, representing a wide range of stores from the giant discounters and general merchandise chains -- such as Wal-Mart and Sears, Roebuck -- to key department stores -- Federated Department Stores' Burdine's and Bon Marche, Mercantile Stores, Carter Hawley Hale and Younkers, among them -- and specialty merchants.Women's, as reported, will be taking on considerably greater importance at MAGIC next year, when the organization teams up with WWD to produce a women's apparel show, starting in February 1995.

Glenn E. Mounger, MAGIC chief executive officer and chairman of its board, said he was looking at several alternative venues for the WWD/MAGIC show, including the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel next door to the Convention Center and a yet-to-be-built structure across the street, where the Landmark Casino now stands. The center, which recently announced plans to add 1.5 million square feet of show space within the next 15 years, is planning to tear down the casino, he said.

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