MAGICAL MAKEOVER
FROM AN INCREASE IN OUTERWEAR VENDORS TO AN EMPHASIS ON OVERSEAS RETAILERS, WWDMAGIC HAS A FEW NEW THINGS UP ITS SLEEVE.

Byline: Kristin Young

While the industry it serves grapples with tough economic times, WWDMAGIC is tweaking the upcoming edition of the show to better serve its audience and offer them a bigger bang for their buck.
“We are attempting to make it easier to shop, make more efficient use of [retailers’] time and let them do what they need to do,” said Camille Candella, marketing director for WWDMAGIC. “Retailers still need to buy product. They still need to do their business.”
The 14th installment of the WWDMAGIC women’s wear show will be held at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas Feb. 19-22, concurrently with the men’s show. Approximately 100,000 buyers generally attend Magic International’s four shows: MAGIC menswear, The Edge for young streetwear, MAGIC Kids and WWDMAGIC for women’s wear.
In February, the size of the show is expected to be about the same as last August’s edition — about 220,000 square feet of exhibition space.
But there will be noticeable changes on the floor. First off, the outerwear category will be expanded.
“February is just a good time for the outerwear market,” said Candella.
She also said there will be more casual lifestyle vendors. “We’ve really noticed an interest in that category,” she said.
For the last several shows, officials have been working to ensure that vendors are situated in the appropriate section of the exhibition floor.
“We’re becoming real specific,” said Candella. “If it’s young contemporary, vendors there are truly young contemporary with truly young contemporary price points.” As in the past, there will be trend forecast seminars from The Doneger Group and the American Trend and Color Committee, as well as seminars that address how to do business during sluggish economic times.
Getting a strong turnout of retailers is crucial. WWDMAGIC’s Retail Relations Department has stepped up its mission to draw international retailers to the show. Last year, the department visited 700 stores — from small specialty stores to mass merchants — and this year, organizers plan to once again pound the pavement.
In light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent reluctance of some buyers to travel overseas, the show’s director of international development, Gaspare Asaro, has his work cut out for him. Candella said Asaro has been working to lure international vendors and retailers by circulating marketing collateral to 200 U.S. consulates around the world. “They don’t want to travel, and travel budgets are getting tighter,” said Candella, referring to travel-wary attendees and exhibitors. “We’re working on travel packages and we’re negotiating with hotels in Las Vegas that have lowered their rates after Sept. 11 at our request. We want to make it as convenient as possible.”
On a lighter note, ‘NSync heartthrob Chris Kirkpatrick will debut Fuman Skeeto, his two-year-old women’s and men’s clothing line at WWDMAGIC. The line is carried in department stores, including Nordstrom in the U.S. and Eatons in Canada, as well as in specialty stores in both countries. FuMan Skeeto president Danielle Raabe said the company plans to show at WWDMAGIC in an effort to sign on new U.S. specialty store accounts.
On the fashion-show front, fashion director Denise Scher said there will continue to be three shows every day, featuring fashions from junior, contemporary, young contemporary, misses, casual and better vendors.
“The misses show is going more luxurious,” said Scher. “There will be lots of fur and leather, and it’s really going to be upscale-looking and very trend-oriented.”

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