By  on September 22, 1994

LAS VEGAS -- Armed with increased budgets, many buyers shopping the MAGIC show here last week for women's wear found more than usual.

A new crop of fashion-forward junior companies exhibited at the four-day show that ended Sept. 12.

The show, on 1.5 million square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center, attracted 65,000 buyers and had a record 5,200 booths.

While many buyers seeking women's wear said they were often ordering unisex looks in small sizes, others discovered a number of youth-oriented women's firms, including Blackheart, Isotope, Wild Cherry, Greed Girl, Serious, The Antique Boutique, Hard Tail, Lip Service, Rubber Soul, Jinous, Touch of South Beach and Box Fresh.

And some denim companies created a buzz at the show with their women's wear, including Lucky Brand Dungarees, Parasuco, Big Star and Redenim.

Several companies introduced women's divisions. Clipper Bay showcased Nonchalant, clean knit separates with a nautical flavor, while Generra rolled out licensed pastel knit and fleece tops with prominent logos.

The women's selection will be significantly expanded when WWD joins forces with MAGIC next spring. The debut WWD/MAGIC show will run at the same time as the men's wear segment -- Feb. 21-24, 1995. It will be held at Hilton Pavilion, contiguous to the convention center.

MAGIC chairman and chief executive officer Glenn Mounger said buyer preregistration for the upcoming February show was strong.

"We haven't done a big push yet to get women's majors in," he said, "But that will change come February.

Meanwhile, women's wear buyers turning up at last week's MAGIC seemed to be after cutting edge style.

Nami Nishida -- buyer for six women's stores in Tokyo and Sendai, Japan, that operate as Smiths Co. Ltd., U.K. Hollywood and Strawberry Freeks -- looked for junior sportswear at $9 to $100 wholesale. She liked trendy merchandise, including shiny Lycra spandex blend dresses and camouflage-print wrap miniskirts from The Antique Boutique, cartoon-character T-shirts by Fashion Victim, T-shirts featuring various rock groups, cotton thermal separates by Hard Tail, tiny sweaters and HotPants by American Rag and hats by Kangol.

Still, she said: "There was not enough merchandise here for women." Despite Japan's slow economy, Nishida reported a holiday buying budget double last year's.

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