Sourcing at MAGIC runs from February 17th to 20th.

Christopher Griffin, president of WWDMAGIC and Sourcing, is ramping up the buzz of a critical component of the fashion industry that designers tend to overlook.

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WWD Vegas Preview issue 02/12/2014

Sourcing at MAGIC is getting a makeover in the hands of a new leader.

This story first appeared in the February 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Christopher Griffin, who has been promoted to president of WWDMAGIC and Sourcing, is ramping up the traffic and buzz of a critical component of the fashion industry that many designers tend to overlook. By overseeing both shows, he hopes to turn more WWDMAGIC exhibitors into Sourcing attendees, luring them with new features like seminars on costume design and wearable technology in the Third Wave Fashion Social Media Lounge, the debuts of pavilions from Mongolia and Egypt, access to bloggers and a heightened focus on U.S. manufacturing.

“That brings energy and interest and a relevancy to the sourcing show,” said Griffin, who works with more than 1,200 exhibitors from 43 countries at Sourcing, which is moving back to the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Hall from the North Hall. “It doesn’t have to be dull. It doesn’t have to lack for content. My idea was: Let’s bring in some of the things that educate people.”

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The changes come at a time when the entire sourcing process — particularly the details of how and where garments are made — is placed under greater scrutiny. Recent factory disasters in Bangladesh have spurred fashion brands to take more responsibility, and high-profile investors such as Alexander Soros have backed entrepreneurs that seek to bring transparency to the gritty process.

While Sourcing has highlighted domestic producers under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Commerce in past August editions, this February show is the first time that “Made in USA” is a focus. Occupying up to 5,000 square feet of space, 42 American factories will greet visitors entering from the front doors.

Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Kelly Bernard is expected to make a speech on Feb. 19 to promote the city’s businesses. Also on the agenda is a seminar titled “How to Market Made in America,” with panelists representing Anthropologie, Red Clay Design and other fashion brands.

“Wal-Mart has obviously gotten behind ‘Made in USA’ in a big way,” Griffin said. “For us, the timing was now— it wasn’t to wait [until August].”

Other key seminars include one on how costume designers and wardrobe stylists create looks for shows such as “Mad Men,” “True Blood” and “American Idol” locally, as well as a talk about what designers and manufacturers need to know when drawing up wearable technology.

Ultimately, attendees at Sourcing want to find people who can help make their designs come to life. Thus, Griffin said, new booth signs will indicate minimum amounts for an order, duty-free status and certification by Tradegood and other social compliance agencies. MAGIC also will have six Mandarin speakers, along with Indian and Pakistani representatives, on hand for interpretation services.

“You’ve got to pay attention to sourcing,” he said. “If you’re all about brand and image and you don’t know what’s going on in the sourcing side, you can do your brand a disservice and drive your brand out of business.”

Sourcing at MAGIC opens a day before the general trade show, on Feb. 17, and runs through Feb. 20.

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