The tidal wave of trade shows for apparel, accessories, footwear and related merchandise is about to wash over Las Vegas. Here are key things to help make show-hopping a little easier.
This story first appeared in the February 8, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WWDMAGIC is hitting the refresh button for its next show. The massive women’s trade fair that encompasses brands for all ages is making sure to satisfy the five senses. Besides encouraging attendees to touch fabrics and clothes — which it argues can’t be done online — show organizers are providing the scent of fresh flowers spread throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall, and a more delicious menu for the tastebuds. For the ears, Quiana Parks and Chelsea “Millie” Miller are the DJs designated to spin of-the-moment music for all three days. In pursuing a more streamlined style for custom and pre-packaged booths, the show is limiting the walls to a height of eight feet. “When you think of a lot of WWDMAGIC brands, you see that old look of the trade shows, with staggered heights,” said Kelly Helfman, show director of WWDMAGIC and Project Womens, adding that the revamp will ensure “it’ll be more about the product and less about the booth.”
Men’s wear trade show Liberty Fairs once again chases its New York season with a Vegas edition, bringing to buyers a collection of lines for the dapper, well-groomed gentleman.
The Art for Africa charity auction and installation, which launched at Liberty Fairs New York, will make its way to Vegas. Liberty and online auctioneer Paddle8 commissioned nine artists to create a piece of art using a Levi’s or Schott NYC jacket (or both, in the case of three participants) to be auctioned off, with proceeds distributed to more than 14 foundations. The dozen pieces will be on display in Vegas with bidding opened Feb. 8 and closing Feb. 22. Also new to Vegas is Alt Terrain, a section of the floor carved out for outdoor and active brands.
Brands showing in Vegas include Comune, John Varvatos, Kenzo Paris, Control Sector, Asics Tiger, Ben Sherman, Billionaire Boys Club, Miansai, Moods of Norway and WESC.
Liberty Fairs will operate alongside the Agenda and Capsule shows on the upper level of the Sands Expo, Venetian/Palazzo.
CONTENT IS QUEEN
Savvy consumers want more than the coolest clothes and the best deals. They are also eager to consume content from fashion designers and brands. To this end, WWDMAGIC is partnering with WWD to run a content studio at the trade show. Located in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s grand lobby, the 500-square-foot booth serves as the venue for broadcasting live and taped segments. Visitors also can listen to conversations among industry insiders from companies including Digital Brand Architects, BB Dakota, State Bags, Rebel Designs and Andy & Evan. For those who can’t swing by the studio, the content is also posted at feature.wwd.com/ubm-fashion.
Expect the usual roundup of street and lifestyle brands at the Vegas iteration of Agenda.
The trade show, whose flagship is twice annually in Long Beach, Calif., is fresh off its New York show. Brands showing in Las Vegas include a number of faces familiar to Agenda: streetwear brands such as Crooks & Castles and Diamond Supply Co., along with bag-maker Herschel Supply Co. and sock brand Stance.
Agenda will take place Feb. 20-21 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Feb. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sands Expo, Venetian/Palazzo compound.
MRket is rolling into Project for the Las Vegas edition. While the moniker is still used on the trade show circuit in New York, the men’s show that was a stalwart of Business Journals Inc. is being phased out on the West Coast, now that the company is part of UBM PLC, parent company of Project. Instead, the momentum shifts to specialized zones within the trade shows. For instance, MRket’s Vanguards Gallery continues to work with new and emerging brands; Move leans toward activewear labels, and The Tents at Project houses designer brands.
A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE
Project Womens is shuffling its sections around to provide a better perspective on the contemporary fashion and accessories markets. Stitch is relocating to the first floor from the second level of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to become a neighbor, and Curve Las Vegas is transformed into a section within Project Womens.
Adding first-time exhibitors such as Céline Dion Collection, Piper West Watches and Stella McCartney Eyewear, the accessories zone now runs straight from the front to the back of the show. Oasis provides a respite for buyers who want to check out a select group of contemporary designers.
And, with so much ground to cover, a good bag is important for schlepping essentials. Up-and-coming yoga brand Spiritual Gangster aims to boost its profile by partnering with Project Womens to provide free totes.
MIND THE DISCOUNTS
The sell at the OffPrice Show is simple: Get immediates at value pricing.
The upcoming edition has remained steady, with more than 500 exhibitors showing across the apparel, accessories, footwear and jewelry categories. OffPrice’s marketing team has been doing double-duty throughout the year, playing up the pricing of inventory and providing smart tips for retailers looking to get the most for their money.
OffPrice’s Cash & Carry section will feature more than 65 booths.
The show kicks off the rest of the week’s Las Vegas trade shows with a Feb. 19-22 run, located on the lower level of the Sands Expo.
At Project, the Tents are moving in new exhibitors and they’re arriving from all corners of the world. Aiming to reach buyers from better men’s stores are Arcady from Los Angeles, Jagvi from France and Tatras from Japan via Italy.
WE ARE THE WORLD
Sourcing at MAGIC is opening the doors of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall to textile mills, apparel factories and shoemakers from 40 countries. Each nation hopes to stand out, showcasing a unique cultural and economic feature. Among the highlights:
• Taiwan Textile Federation is introducing a trend display highlighting fabrics that exceed expectations for performance and sustainability.
• Japan’s Momoko Katsuragawa is painting on the spot at the Japan Pavilion.
• With the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act through 2025, the show is promoting Africa as the regional focus, placing a spotlight on Kenya. Besides giving attendees a chance to win an African safari, the African Pavilion is presenting modern fashion inspired by the continent’s culture with designers from the e-commerce site Zuvaa.
BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A T-SHIRT?
At The Collective, the men’s show offering everything from licensed product to classic sportswear to novelty streetwear at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Brother International is bringing back its digital print shop that allows visitors to make a custom T-shirt.
With Project enveloping MRket, show organizers are ironing out details to distinguish Vanguards Gallery, which was previously housed within MRket. What’s clear is the show-within-a-show’s devotion to new and emerging men’s brands. Hommard, Mario Latorre Bags, Prince & Bond and Mellow People are among the exhibitors showcasing their merch.
MORE IS MORE
The trend to pile on bracelets, rings, necklaces and baubles is influencing WWDMAGIC. Following last year’s acquisition of AccessoriesTheShow’s parent company, the women’s expo is combining its accessories section with that trade fair to create AccessoriesTheShow@WWDMAGIC. Covering more than 50,000 square feet within WWDMAGIC at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall, the marketplace for bags and jewelry aims to enable time-strapped shoppers to peruse three different neighborhoods focusing on margin-building brands, trend-conscious buys and better women’s lifestyle. What they all have in common is affordability. Project Womens hosts its own section for accessories, but those labels are generally at a higher price point.
TRUMP AND TRADE
President Trump is generating plenty of headlines regarding his approach to international trade during his first month in office. But it isn’t clear yet what the actual impact will be. Moderated by Julia Hughes, president of the U.S. Fashion Industry Association, a panel titled “Post Election: Trump and Trade” plans to offer insights into how his administration’s policies might affect the fashion industry. Speakers include Jon Fee Sr., senior counsel at Alston & Bird, and David Spooner, partner at Barnes & Thornburg. The session takes place at 1 p.m. on Feb. 21 in the Las Vegas Convention Center, North Hall, Room N251.
ALIVE AND KICKING
Judging by activity among brands appealing to buyers of workout clothes, the activewear market is here to stay. Project is hosting a section, called Move, with men’s brands such as Strongbody Apparel, Yöggx and Sweat Tailor. At Project Womens, The Flex section is being rechristened as Ath-leisure.
Stitch buyers take note: the show has moved for the upcoming edition.
Retailers can find it on level one of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, now adjacent to Project Womens.
“In response to the requests of brands and retailers to create a more unified marketplace for better women’s wear collections, Stitch will be positioned alongside Project Womens where, collectively, both shows will [introduce] a well-merchandised and cohesive shopping experience,” said Stitch and UBM Fashion director of planning and development, Shawn Hazan.
New to the show are June, Wooden Ships, Kontatto, Love Token, Fleurette, Dana Stein Furs and luxury women’s and home showroom Nothing to Wear. Other brands showing at this fair include Karen Kane, Nally & Millie, Johnny Was and Elliott Lauren.
IN DA CLUB
Kids grow up fast — and their style evolves even faster. Children’s Club MAGIC aims to give a fresh, forward-thinking perspective to that increasingly important market. Exhibitors returning to the show, which is located next to WWDMAGIC in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall, include Hayden L.A., Vintage Havana, Huxbaby, Appaman and the pint-sized offshoot of Kenzo. New brands joining the club are Sierra Julian, Ba Ba Bling Kids, Lazypants and Terez.
JULIANNE AND JENNA’S JAM
Julianne Hough and Jenna Dewan Tatum are gearing up for Project Womens. The dancers-turned-actresses are set to promote Mondetta Performance Gear at the women’s trade fair in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Not settling for just being the face of the activewear line from Winnipeg, Canada, Hough also creates her own sub-brand, MPG by Julianne Hough.
Pool’s new Japan Shop, as the name might imply, is a nod to Japanese brands.
The new section on the floor, the first time ever Pool is hosting such an area, is being done in partnership with M-Cross International Corp. Japan Shop will feature as many as 10 brands, including Shibaful and BasShu.
Among the brands showing are gender-neutral brand Dapper Boi, Jeffrey Campbell, Social Decay/Seams Lovely, Dock & Bay, Big Bud Press and Y.R.U.
The Cash & Carry section, which the trade show said has been sold out for several weeks, includes 45 brands.
Expect a big presence on the show floor from Next Level Apparel including a photobooth, GIF maker, mobile charging and live screen printing. Happy hours are scheduled between 4 and 5 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 22.
Capsule has partnered with a number of brands to make a bold statement.
The trade show launched Poli-Sci by Capsule in New York in January and organizers are bringing it to Las Vegas this month. They created Poli-Sci in response to the presidential election and pulled together a number of brands to provide pieces with a social, political or cultural agenda. The merchandise will be available at the show for wholesale orders, with proceeds going to a variety of causes as selected by the designers.
The Poli-Sci pieces include an Assembly New York T-shirt with proceeds to be donated to Project Art, sweatshirt by Brujas benefiting The Audre Lorde Project, GHSTS T-shirt benefiting Planned Parenthood and a sweatshirt from Rochambeau with proceeds going to Fashion Fights Cancer.
The Poli-Sci items are set to be released in August and are priced from $35 to $625.
Curve’s liking its new digs in Project Womens.
The show relocated to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center from the Las Vegas Convention Center in August, gaining what ceo Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel said is the best location the show’s ever had in Las Vegas.
“This time, the inclusion [in Project Womens] is going one step [further] because we’re going to be at the heart of Project Womens at the junction of men’s and women’s,” Hurstel said, adding Curve’s exhibitors are now mixed in with activewear, resort and men’s brands from the neighboring shows.
The new location has helped it attract some new boutique buyers as well as brands — including the Chantelle, Wacoal and Maison Lejaby lines — which hadn’t previously chosen to show at the prior February show.
“We’re not looking at thousands of people, but we’re looking at attracting the best stores on the West Coast,” Hurstel said.
The upcoming edition includes about 80 brands across 7,000 square feet, up from last February’s show of roughly 70 brands over 6,000 square feet.
JUST FOR KICKS
There’s no shortage of product to peruse at FN Platform, with more than 1,600 brands showing across 200,000 square feet of exhibition space. It’s diverse, with more than 230 exhibitors from outside the U.S. representing 30 countries, along with a number of brands new to show.
Buyers can expect to see for the first time a French Pavilion, showcasing 10 French brands, including Elodie Bruno, Fauvel, An Hour and a Shower, Gordana Dimitrijevic, Maison Jour Ferié, Le Flow Paris, Pairs in Paris and Eugène Riconneaus.
Retailers looking to keep their buys local will see new L.A.-based brands such as Baske California, Lou Earl, Salpy and Patricia Green.
Other brands new to the show include Adrienne Vittadini, Freestyle by Coolway, Airtox, Koalabi Australia, Pediped, Lacoste, Gioseppo, Supply Lab, Etnie and Fessura. Taryn Rose is set to relaunch at FNP with fall product. Rose will be at the brand’s booth Tuesday and Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Those looking to raise their business game can choose from among several seminars, including a two-part workshop providing retail training on Feb. 20. The workshop starts at 1 p.m. in room S229 in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
On Feb. 21, NPD Group will provide a review of 2016 as well as forecasts of what’s to come this year for the footwear industry. The seminar starts at 9 a.m. and is located in the convention center’s South Hall in room S229.
An opening night concert on Feb. 21 starts at 6 p.m., featuring Berlin from the show floor.
Actress, singer and recently signed L’Oréal spokeswoman Kiersey Clemons will make an appearance at the Coolway booth Feb. 22 between 1 and 3 p.m.
Fast-fashion footwear is WSA@Magic’s specialty.
The show features brands from more than 100 countries representing lines for women, men, juniors and kids.
Organizers have spruced up the show floor with improved signage to help buyers navigate and quickly find brands new to the show, and for a refreshing respite, cocktails are served from 5 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 22.
MORE IS MORE
In Vegas, where options for shopping, dining and entertainment abound, what’s new is always what’s in — and that’s always the focus for Womenswear in Nevada.
WWIN’s Feb. 20-23 run offers buyers longer hours to shop, free meals and educational seminars at the Rio hotel.
More than 1,500 lines will converge, selling across the traditional, misses’, contemporary, plus-size, tall and petite categories. Accessory lines will also be on site with options that include footwear, hats, purses, jewelry, belts and scarves.
Urban Expositions, which acquired WWIN in 2015, launched a web site for the show’s upcoming Las Vegas season at wwinshow.com. The site is now more user-friendly and provides buyers with information on the show, travel and exhibitors.
The first day of WWIN includes a networking reception at 5 p.m. in the Rio’s Lambada Room as well as extended hours until 8 p.m. that day. On Feb. 21, a group of retail consultants will provide business tips and share thoughts on the current state of the retail environment.
And to entice retailers to stay longer and under one roof, WWIN offers free breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks.