WWDMAGIC is refining its mix once again by adding two product areas to its roster in August that will focus on eco-friendly and streetwear designs.
This story first appeared in the August 11, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The ECOllection at MAGIC brings sustainable men’s, women’s and children’s apparel to the show in a dedicated area for the first time, featuring 70 exhibitors, including Threads For Thought, whose environmentally and politically conscious slogans have been donned by Paris Hilton, Gavin Rossdale and Jamie Foxx; Lizzie Parker, a well-priced bamboo-and-organic cotton collection of dresses, tops, skirts, jackets and pants with a girly yet minimal feel, and Oxygen Required, another bamboo-based line whose fall collection features slinky, skin-baring knit silhouettes.
The area itself has green elements, from its recycled lounge with sustainable bamboo furniture to recycled booths right down to its biodegradable signage. Fashion shows will be presented daily at 11:30 a.m.
“[Sustainable apparel] represents a real shift in consciousness and this is no passing fad — this is a movement,” said Chris DeMoulin, MAGIC International’s president and executive vice president of Advanstar’s Fashion Group.
The other category bowing at the MAGIC Marketplace is S.L.A.T.E., (which stands for Select, Lifestyle, Apparel, Trends, Emergence), a 40,000-square-foot juried area that emphasizes the trend toward stylistic cross-pollination between the skate, surf and streetwear markets.
“In talking to retailers, we were finding that there was an evolution going on in how consumers were buying streetwear,” said DeMoulin. “Instead of dressing head-to-toe in one brand, they were also taking inspiration from skate and urban lines as well. It made sense to have a show that was going in that direction.”
The 75-plus brands planned for S.L.A.T.E. include Addict, Undftd, Stussy, The Hundreds, Fresh Jive, Obey and Crooks & Castles. They’ll be showcased in an environment inspired by a group artists’ studio in Venice Beach, in booths made from raw woods, stone and aluminum, surrounding a communal space that will play host to a DJ, an exhibition of contemporary European artists and other events.
In addition to new shows, MAGIC executives are hoping to woo retailers with new services, specifically a software program called “Map Your Show.” Attendees can enter their shopping lists — whether they’re focused on specific product categories, styles or vendors — in exchange for a list of resources, plus the best route for finding them on the show floor. (The program can be accessed at magiconline.com or at kiosks planted throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center).
The program could prove especially helpful since the show has been condensed into three days instead of four, though DeMoulin is quick to point out that the compressed schedule originated from exhibitor and retailer feedback. “They felt three days was sufficient,” he said.
Sourcing at MAGIC, however, will still operate on a four-day schedule, opening the day before the rest of the MAGIC Marketplace — including MAGIC, WWDMAGIC and MAGIC kids — kicks off.
“By offering our customers one day to shop Sourcing at MAGIC prior to the opening of the other shows, they are given the opportunity to do business with the manufacturers, fabric mills, print design studios and service providers that are essential to the production of their goods,” said DeMoulin. He predicted attendance, which draws heavily from China, could dip slightly, owing to the Beijing Olympic Games in August.
Overall, DeMoulin predicted total attendance at the show will hold steady with last year.
“In our experience, during tough economic times, the total number of buyers might decrease a bit — mostly based on big retailers sending fewer folks from their team,” he said. “However, the overall number of retail stores represented goes up a bit. This makes sense as retailers in tough times must stay on top of the trends. So the overall impact should not be radical.” About 8 percent of the buyers will be from overseas, hailing from as far as Japan, the U.K., Canada and Germany.
Expected areas of strength for the show include ISAM, which will span more than 16,000 square feet and feature 250 exhibitors at the Las Vegas Hilton Convention Center; accessories, which DeMoulin said has the largest number of vendors new to the show, and contemporary-young contemporary, tallying 450 vendors.
“Dresses are still very strong across all categories, from juniors to contemporary,” said DeMoulin. “Denim shorts, natural woven tops, cargo pants and capris will be key drivers throughout young contemporary.” MAGIC’s sister show, Pool, will bring 350 juried art- and design-driven streetwear and contemporary brands to the Aug. 25 to 27 show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, while MAGIC’s other sibling, Project, will run Aug. 26 to 28 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.