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Gentlemen, start your engines.
This story first appeared in the February 16, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
That will be the battle cry for the bus and limousine drivers in Las Vegas today as the MAGIC trade show opens in two separate locations. The new dual venue will find MAGIC Man, including S.L.A.T.E., Premium and Street, alongside Project at Mandalay Bay. An expanded WWDMAGIC and the new FN Platform footwear show will join Pool and Sourcing at MAGIC at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Adjacent to Project is another new addition, Workroom, which will feature 100 advanced contemporary apparel, accessory and shoe brands.
Chris DeMoulin, president of MAGIC International, said there will be “a constant stream” of vehicles ready and waiting to take retailers between the two locations from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. for the next three days. “It should take 16 to 22 minutes, depending on traffic,” he said, adding that local drivers know the back roads through the city and can avoid the traffic-clogged Strip.
All told, MAGIC and its sister shows will have 1,200 exhibitors, including more than 1,500 new brands. “So buyers will have plenty of new things to see,” he said.
Retailers can start it all off with the Doneger Group. The company’s opening-day seasonal overview for men, young men and boys, which is de rigueur for retailers, has relocated its 8 a.m. presentation today to the convention center at Mandalay Bay, Lagoon Rooms G, H and I. At 11 a.m., its creative director, David Wolfe, will present an overview of the just-completed men’s European runway shows in the same location. Wolfe will then undoubtedly jump into one of those shuttles to get to the LVCC for his women’s trend forecast, slated for 3 p.m. in room N231.
MAGIC is also presenting three keynote speakers during this show — all of which will be at the LVCC. The series kicks off Tuesday with Marshal Cohen, the guru and chief industry analyst from The NPD Group, who will give a presentation entitled “Welcome to the New World,” an overview of what he sees as “a whole new world of fashion and retailing.” Cohen’s discussion will be at 3:30 in room N254 at the LVCC and will be followed by a reception at 4:30 in room N263 at which he’ll sign copies of his new book, “Buy Me.”
On Wednesday, Tony Hsieh, chief executive officer of Zappos, will deliver a keynote speech at 9 a.m. at the LVCC (room N254) entitled “Delivering Happiness,” a presentation on establishing balance among human needs. At 11 a.m. in the same room, Gail Strickler, assistant U.S. Trade Representative in the Office of Textiles, will deliver “Free Trade: The Obama Administration’s Outlook and the Impact on Your Sourcing Decisions.”
DeMoulin called the seminar lineup “more senior, interesting and relevant” than ever. But it’s the expansion of the shows under the MAGIC umbrella that is most important to him. Since 90 percent of the buyers who shop Project traditionally visit MAGIC Man, he said, it will be a vast improvement for them to just “take an escalator between the shows instead of a cab.” In the past, Project was at the Sands Convention Center. As a result, many of the men’s buyers are staying at the Mandalay hotel complex and will be able to take advantage of the “ease and convenience” of having all of men’s wear in one location for the first time, he said.
But by jumping into one of the free buses, attendees can also take in the 500 brands that have signed on for the 60,000 square feet devoted to FN Platform. That show will be merchandised into lifestyle areas including women’s fashion footwear, men’s and women’s athletic/casual shoes, men’s collections, men’s and women’s comfort, and juniors’ and children’s shoes.
Once at the LVCC, buyers can also stop by Pool to shop some directional brands. “This show has a hard-core following,” DeMoulin said.
He also pointed to the dramatic improvement retailers will see at the WWDMAGIC women’s show. “We’ve been sold out for the past six or seven shows,” he said, “but by moving it into the Center Hall, it will be more integrated than when it was in North Hall.”
The fashion and lifestyle brands will be front and center and the floor has been remerchandised into three distinct “neighborhoods,” organized by lifestyle, according to show executives. “We still have all the great brands,” DeMoulin said, “but now the [positioning] makes better sense.”
That holds true for the men’s shows as well. DeMoulin stressed that although Project and MAGIC Man are now in the same location, they each “have their own identity.” In the MAGIC Man show, “every space is filled,” he said, and show management is expecting “a healthy uptick in retail attendance.”
Project, which is “a little larger than the previous show,” will have to share space at Mandalay with the Western Veterinary show this time, but starting in August, the vets are being bumped to give more space to Project. “The whole facility will be apparel and accessories next time,” DeMoulin said.
There will be press rooms at both Mandalay and LVCC and the popular MAGIC Buyers’ Lounge will remain at the LVCC. At Mandalay, there are VIP lounges at Project and MAGIC Man.
And for all attendees, there’s an opening-night bowling party at 7:30 p.m. at The Orleans with ticket proceeds going to benefit Two Ten, a charity for the footwear industry. After rolling the rock, those with energy to spare can hit the Project party starting at 10 p.m. at the House of Blues Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay, or the S.L.A.T.E. party at Vanity at the Hard Rock, which also starts at 10 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m. Pool is hosting an opening-night party as well at Wasted Space at the Hard Rock from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.