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MAGIC 2019: Trying to button up next big thing in menswear

Bold menswear prediction: Guys will continue to buy pants.

Also, probably shirts — with the possible exception of Adam Levine.

Beyond that, it can be hard to get a sense of trends at a fashion trade show, especially one like Project, MAGIC’s menswear hub at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

“What we’ve seen is a lot of influx of young men’s brands and streetwear brands,” says Jason Peskin, brand director for men’s fashion at Project.

As a result, you have heritage companies such as Levi’s, Champion and that old stalwart Members Only jockeying for attention alongside the likes of Jeff Staple, the designer who just debuted a collaboration with Roy Choi’s Best Friend at Park MGM. He’s playing pingpong with MAGIC attendees for the chance to win swag and a pair of his white-hot STAPLE X Nike SB Panda Pigeons.

It’s a difficult room to read, made more so by the fact that every designer and wholesaler is angling to impress an army of retailers with what they’re convinced is the next big thing.

Thankfully, there are people such as Brian Trunzo, a senior consultant and forecaster at trend analyst WGSN.

Yes, it sounds like an East Coast TV station. But that’s OK, because Trunzo is basically the fashion equivalent of a weatherman, and he’s expecting big things for the outdoors.

“We’re seeing hiking styles really infiltrate the marketplace in an ironic way. These styles are performance grade, but they’re never really intended to actually see a mountaintop or a slope or anything like that.”

Young consumers, Trunzo says, are taking that irony to a new height, buying hiking gear to purposefully never wear on a mountaintop — much like the mother who purchases an SUV that could scale a cliff only to use it to drive her kids to the mall.

Ivy League prep is cycling through once again, Trunzo adds. It’s a look that should be familiar to anyone who’s ever owned a letterman’s jacket.

“We’re seeing these varsity styles come back into play a little bit more mixed and matched, a new interpretation. Not so sort of buttoned-up and polished the way that you would have seen in the Ivy League.”

And, despite the inevitable howls of protest, it finally may be time to return those sweatpants to the gym where they belong.

“Over the course of the last two to five years, we’ve seen suits depart from the marketplace by most luxury designers,” Trunzo says. “There was this great casualization of menswear. We saw the rise of athleisure.”

Now, though, some of those high-end labels seem ready to reclaim their turf.

“We’re seeing some designers return to tailoring and try to present it in a more interesting, fashion-forward way. Maybe not the way you’d wear it in the workplace, but maybe something a little more streetwear inspired.”

But the T-shirt-and-jeans crowd can rest easy: Not every red carpet look is ready for the masses.

In other words, you don’t need to rush out and buy a harness, that eye-catching, Everyman-baffling accessory sported by Timothee Chalamet at the Golden Globes and Michael B. Jordan at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

At least not yet.

“I do think we will see harnesses in the marketplace, but it’s going to be for a very directional, very fashion-forward person,” Trunzo says. “I don’t think people are going to be leaving their sport coats at home, going to weddings in harnesses.

“But you might see one or two.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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