There’s always something new in Las Vegas and the apparel industry is doing its part to make sure that adage holds true for the upcoming August apparel market, as well.
This story first appeared in the June 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
From expanded exhibitor displays and new educational programs to eye-catching fashion shows, trade fair organizers are taking advantage of the recovering economic climate to update and energize their events.
With one year under his belt as president of Project, Andrew Pollard said the show slated for Aug. 22 to 24 at the Mandalay Bay will be the first to truly represent the new direction of the event.
“The fashion industry and retailing have changed forever and people are looking for different ways to consume fashion,” he said. “So as a trade show, we need to look at this as a modern fashion business.”
As such, Project will showcase emerging talent, provide educational opportunities and an “elevated experience,” he said. “The biggest, most exciting thing within men’s wear is the trend toward more tailored, sophisticated dressing. So we’re launching a new area with more of a collections feeling. We see this as a massive growth area.”
On the women’s side, Project is partnering with Nolcha to create a Las Vegas Fashion Week. Located in the Women’s Town Square, there will be two to four fully produced fashion shows on the show floor over the first two days, styled by eBay’s fashion director and highlighting contemporary brands.
“Advanced contemporary and contemporary brands will be the big focus in both men’s and women’s,” Pollard said, noting that these initiatives are expected to attract more better stores.
To embrace the growing digital movement, Pollard said Project will offer a Blogger Street curated by Marcus Troy and featuring 10 to 12 of the most influential fashion bloggers covering the show live.
“We’re dedicated to presenting brands to the end consumer in the moment,” Pollard said.
The MAGIC Marketplace also has several new initiatives in place for August. The WWDMAGIC women’s show at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Aug. 22 to 24 has inked a deal with the French trade show Prêt à Porter Paris to bring a group of French brands to Vegas. Some 30 to 40 better-to-bridge European brands will be showcased in a special section called Heart of Prêt, according to Chris DeMoulin, president of MAGIC International and executive vice president of Advanstar’s Fashion Group, which operates the MAGIC shows.
Among the brands that have already signed on are 2026 Paris, Akela Key, Carlopik, Coline Diffusion Sacoline, Didier Parakian, DP Jeans, Fred Sabatier, Lauren Vidal, Mado and Paul Brial.
In addition, the show’s successful teen blogger lounge is being expanded “significantly” at the August edition, DeMoulin said. At the February event, more than 40 live bloggers reported from the show floor, providing a real-time look at the fashions that shape young women’s purchasing.
For the guys, the Ride Unltd. area is being expanded in August, DeMoulin said. Ride was created in February to fill the void resulting from the closure of the Action Sports Retailer show and focuses on skateboarding brands. DeMoulin said every brand that showed last year is coming back and the marquee names of the category — Hurley, Quiksilver, DC and others — will also be in attendance during the three-day run of show that begins on Aug. 22 at the Mandalay Bay. At the same time, a best line contest, an exhibition of tricks by top skateboarders, will be held on the trade show floor at MAGIC with the winner taking home $10,000.
Sourcing at MAGIC, which will open a day earlier than the traditional trade show exhibitions, will host a Sourcing in the Americas Summit in association with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“It will feature the largest number of resources in the Western Hemisphere,” DeMoulin said. With rising costs in China, soaring raw material prices worldwide and the need to keep inventory low, sourcing executives are “looking for alternative in the Americas,” he said. In addition to exhibitors, the Summit will also offer educational seminars including one featuring Francisco Sánchez, undersecretary for the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
DeMoulin said the FN Platform shoe show will offer a “bigger and more diverse assortment of European brands than ever before” at the upcoming edition, including a contingent from Spain in a sponsoring pavilion.
“From an exhibitor standpoint, we’re seeing growth across the board, men’s, women’s and footwear,” he said. “From a preregistration standpoint, we’re up double digits from the last show and even more from a year ago. For buyers, it shows the importance of cross shopping and being able to see multiple product categories in the same place. The buzz in the market is very positive, so we’re looking forward to a fun, productive show.”
Britton Jones, president and chief executive officer of Business Journals Inc., which runs the MRket men’s show, as well as Moda Las Vegas and AccessoriesTheShow, said all three exhibitions are expected to grow in August. They will be held Aug. 21 to 23 at The Venetian and will feature a collection of “juried better lines,” he said. MRket will be 5 percent larger in square footage, he said, and is showcasing more contemporary brands through its new Vanguards Gallery presentation. This selection of contemporary men’s wear brands will be curated by Michael Macko, a former men’s fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue.
On the women’s end, Moda is branching out into additional categories including lifestyle brands, contemporary-modern sportswear, European collections and dresses this time around, said Sharon Enright, vice president of the trade show division. New brands include Johnny Was, Rosner, Cino and Tommy Bahama. AccessoriesTheShow also has several new exhibitors, including Tano, Sorrelli, Nina Handbags, Carolina Amato and Bora.
Capsule, a show focusing high-end contemporary brands, directional independent designers and superpremium streetwear labels, will once again set up shop at the Palazzo Ballroom at The Venetian from Aug. 22 and 23. Edina Sultanik, co-founder of the show, said the successful formula is being retained, although a few additional brands are expected to be added for the next edition. “It’s been a really good show for us,” she said. The vintage dealers that were front and center at the last edition will be back, and some artists from London will be working their magic on the floor.
One addition this year is a meet-and-greet for exhibitors at the Azure pool at the Palazzo on Sunday night, she said.
“That’s one of the things that sets Capsule apart,” Sultanik said. “Everybody helps one another and exchanges ideas.”
ENK is also upbeat about the upcoming edition of its show, slated for a three-day run starting Aug. 22 at The Wynn.
“ENKVegas stands alone in terms of exclusivity and merchandising in the Las Vegas market,” said Elyse Kroll, chairman of ENK International. “Taking place in two different ballrooms across the hall from each other at The Wynn, ENKVegas continues to grow by word of mouth. The show has become a destination for both men’s and women’s brands (thus the two ballrooms) and now ENK’s TMRW brands are choosing to join.”
TMRW is a hand-picked group of emerging, progressive designers. The show will also feature an expanded assortment of sportswear collections, dresses, denim, footwear and accessories.
CurveNV Las Vegas, the largest lingerie and swimwear show on the West Coast, will bring more than 90 top designer swimwear brands to The Venetian Aug. 22 to 24.
In addition to traditional exhibitions, Curve will offer a seminar for retailers about how to boost sales with swimwear. The show’s anticipated So Curve So Swim Fashion Show is also slated for the Crazy Horse Paris at the MGM Grand on Monday. It will feature 46 brands in a traditional catwalk format.
CurveNV will also present more than 140 lingerie brands, many of which are also new to the West Coast market, according to Laurence Teinturier, executive vice president.
The PGA Expo is also returning to Vegas in August. The show, which will run Aug. 22 to 24 at The Venetian, will boast some 200 golf vendors showcasing the latest equipment, training aids, apparel and accessories. A golf performance and training center on the show floor will allow attendees to test out new products while strolling the aisles. Among the vendors who have committed to attend are Greg Norman Collection, Antigua, Cutter & Buck, Fairway & Greene, GEAR for Sports, IzodG, Ping Apparel, Tehama and Under Armour.