LOS ANGELES — The Edge, MAGIC International’s hip niche marketplace for streetwear and clubwear, is sharpening its focus with the appointment of a new executive and the introduction in February of a new show feature.
Jed Wexler will head up the Edge, as well as develop an innovative show concept called Enclave. A lab of sorts, it’s slated as “a step to turning MAGIC into an entertaining network space,” said Wexler.
“These are sophisticated brands that can connect with the retailer and the entertainment industries on a design and marketing level,” he elaborated. “They market their own companies through creative guerrilla marketing or the use of certain kinds of celebrities. Plus, a lot of these companies have to go beyond retailing to stay alive. They actually provide creative for other kinds of industries like [computer] gaming or advertising companies.”
Indeed, in many ways, these streetwear and clubwear brands are modern Warholian Factories filled with young and fearless graphic artists, DJs and extreme sports athletes.
MAGIC and Wexler see Enclave as a stop where, for example, an auto ad agency vying for that fickle cool factor to connect with the even more fickle youth market can tour the 15 or so curated booths to find collaborators.
The seeds of Enclave, in fact, were not only with the Edge, said Wexler, but in what is happening throughout MAGIC as rap artists like Nelly, Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige have turned up at recent shows to promote their own lines.
At 32, Wexler is a veteran of the street and club cultures. When the categories emerged in the early Nineties, he began documenting it as an editor for Sportswear International before moving on to develop the now-defunct consumer-trade streetwear magazine UHF.
In 1997, he cofounded Ritual Events and Authentik Group. The company, whose future was undetermined as of press time, actually created the Edge for MAGIC in 1998. Its multielement formula included many new musical acts to entertain buyers, including Pharcyde, Thievery Corporation and Beat Junkies.
Wexler and company also introduced Ritual Expo, a rave-cum-consumer shopping party that eventually toured the country. They also created progressive marketing programs for Earthlink, Op and Levi’s, as well as hosting a nightlife series throughout Los Angeles spotlighting underground DJs and acts.
The Enclave will reintroduce some of the elements that were originally introduced with the Edge, including “major talent” to perform daily, said Wexler.
Although he pitched Enclave, he’s quick to credit Joe Loggia, president and chief operating officer of MAGIC’s parent, Advanstar Communications Inc., with making it happen.
“He’s really pushing to bring MAGIC into the entertainment arena,” said Wexler. “There’s a lot of cool people at MAGIC now who totally get it.”