Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Domestic Trade Shows issue 12/01/2009

The movers and shakers in men’s trade show markets are moving.

This story first appeared in the December 1, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Five major wholesale markets, including MAGIC, Project, The Collective, ENK Vegas and Capsule, are relocating or adding venues this season as shows expand and look to inject novelty and convenience into their events.

The most significant changes to the trade show landscape are in Las Vegas, where MAGIC and Project will be staged together for the first time at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Feb. 16 to 18. MAGIC, which is decamping from its longtime home at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and Project, which is giving up its address at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in The Venetian hotel complex, will run contiguously but on different floors as separate shows to maintain their respective identities, the company said.

For Advanstar, the shift is an opportunity to consolidate the success and traffic of its marquis men’s events and update the look and feel of MAGIC.

“Moving the men’s shows to Mandalay Bay allows us to accomplish several things,” Joe Loggia, chief executive officer of Advanstar Communications, told WWD. “It’s an upscale environment and we can continue to provide separation of the market segments, while making it convenient to shop both shows and providing more space for the women’s show.”

WWDMAGIC will continue to operate out of the LVCC, but will move from the North Hall to the larger Central Hall, allowing the event to expand. (For more on the women’s shows in Las Vegas, see opposite page.)

For MAGIC, the move to Mandalay will result in larger changes to the show’s format. Traditionally held in one vast hall, the show come February will feature separate areas for each market showcase within MAGIC. These include Menswear, Street, Premium and S.L.A.T.E. Separated by 30-foot fabric walls, the shows-within-a-show will lend a more intimate feel to the traditionally supersized event.

“The crossover between the two shows has always been high — at least 85 percent,” said Chris DeMoulin, president of MAGIC International. “We wanted to create a campus that covered the entire spectrum of men’s wear, but also create an environment where a show feels like it represents each specific market well. The personality, look and layout of each showcase is not one size fits all. MAGIC should reflect that.”

In total, Advanstar’s move creates a new and formidable center of gravity for Las Vegas trade show week, one that is sure to send ripples through the market as other shows reconsider their own location in proximity to the Mandalay Bay, and exhibitors and retailers rethink their personal hotel choices.

One show has already made a jump. ENK Vegas, a relatively new show that caters to contemporary and denim brands, is changing locations, swapping the Wynn Las Vegas for the Bellagio hotel, which is closer to Mandalay Bay.

The changes in Las Vegas, trade show operators said, reflect the wider demand within the apparel market for novel approaches and a fresh start after what has been a challenging year for many.

“Retailers are both anxious and hopeful. There is more optimism now than there has been for a while,” said Britton Jones, chairman and chief operating officer of Business Journals Inc., which produces the MRket shows in Las Vegas and New York. “Exhibitors are always looking for something new. Part and parcel of producing a healthy show is considering your venue and whether it’s working for you. It’s symbolic of the whole show.”

Vegas is not the only trade show market with major changes in store. Retailers in New York this January will be following a new itinerary as well.

After 10 years at the West Side piers, ENK’s The Collective and Blue shows are moving to the Tunnel, an exhibition space in Chelsea, and are being rebranded. The new show, called ENK New York, will run from Jan. 17 to 19 and include two new showcases. The Tomorrow area will be dedicated to emerging and progressive brands from the U.S. and abroad. Clean will cater to companies in the men’s grooming market. The show will have a different look and feel, according to ENK, and will be modeled after its West Coast show, ENK Vegas.

Project New York is also moving into a new space: St. John’s Terminal on Washington Street. This marks the latest address for the East Coast branch of the popular denim and contemporary sportswear show, which previously called the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and 7 World Trade Center home.

But as some shows are moving, others are expanding. Having maxed out space at the Angel Orensanz Center, Capsule, the show founded by Edina Sultanik, is taking over the Puck Building for its New York event. The move will add another 70 designers to the roster, nearly doubling the show’s size. Both spaces will be home for progressive brands and the trade show is providing shuttle service between the two locations.

“This season, we are widening our scope, while still applying very stringent criteria for the designers we work with,” said Sultanik.

Across town, MRket will return to New York for its second season, having doubled since its inaugural event this summer. Building on that momentum, the show, which built its name by catering to traditional men’s brands, will introduce a new showcase, Vanguard, to be staged adjacent to MRket in the Javits center. Vanguard will run from Jan. 18 to the 20 and will focus on the contemporary market.

“This season, not only will attendance be up, but I think retailers will spend more time with us, thanks to this new complete offering of markets and brands,” said Jones.