Updated February 15, 2022 - 6:50 am
The Las Vegas Convention Center was filled with the scratching sounds of hangers moving on a rack and sights of bold colors and patterns as buyers and sellers promoted the next trends in fashion at the MAGIC Las Vegas fashion trade show on Monday.
Fashion industry members are looking to buy and sell “workleisure,” oversized blazers, fuschia-toned accessories and the rest of 2022’s latest trends during the biannual convention that runs through Wednesday.
Labels large and small
Three co-located shows are spread across the convention center’s halls: contemporary brands show PROJECT, trend-driven brands MAGIC, and manufacturer and supplier show SOURCING at MAGIC.
Buyers and sellers at the show included known and emerging brands such as BANDITS, Uggs Cold Weather Accessories, ASTR the Label, ASOS, Free People, Marshall Retail Group and Zappos.
Organizers Informa Markets Fashion previously declined to share attendance estimates, but the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimated before the pandemic that about 78,000 people visit the show.
Trade show officials say more visitors are expected for this show, in part because international travel bans have been lifted since the MAGIC show in August. Edwina Kulego, vice president of international business, declined to identify the share of international exhibitors but said it was “substantial.”
“We are a global show, that’s what sets us apart from competition,” Kulego said. “We’re really excited about the influx of people coming in and the energy.”
Kevin Sengul, co-founder of Finch LA, said his men’s and women’s streetwear brand returned to the Vegas trade show to capture the large market available. The brand stems from a Turkish fashion house, where the clothes are manufactured. But Sengul wants to expand in both the U.S. and South American markets.
Sengul noted shoppers were perusing the racks Monday morning, something he thought was typical of trade shows.
“I think we do most of our business in the second day because people just walk around and see what people have (on the first day),” he said. “Then when they make a decision, they come back again, it’s the second day.”
Sourcing and sustainability
Industry members say fashion has been greatly affected by supply chain disruptions as products manufactured in Asia face shipping delays and rising costs.
“What’s so great about the MAGIC portfolio is there’s so many immediates,” Jordan Rudow, vice president of MAGIC, said. “In terms of deliveries, they’ll be showing pre-fall, but they’ll also be showing spring/summer so buyers can shop for product now or ahead of the season.”
In SOURCING at MAGIC, organizers tried to solve some of those issues by connecting retailers to manufacturers and fashion technology companies. Educational sessions on reshoring and nearshoring — bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. or the Americas. The show also featured a sustainability collection that highlighted brands independently verified as green.
The exhibit was a way to spotlight successful sustainability models and educate other retailers or manufacturers on how to make greener choices. Cindy Lin, CEO of Hey Social Good, the third-party firm that verified businesses’ sustainable practices, said many industry members want to make more ethical choices but don’t know how.
“Brands are confused, too, frankly,” Lin said. “They’re often like, ‘This person says they are (sustainable). Are they? It’s hard to know.’ If you’re a brand, your goal is to create beautiful fashion. Are you an expert on the science of manufacturing? On fiber science? I feel like there shouldn’t be that expectation.”
Famous faces and no masks
Monday started off with high-profile names at the event. Elaine Welteroth, a judge on Bravo’s reality show “Project Runway” and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, and Dapper Dan, a fashion icon known for his ‘80s streetwear, spoke to attendees for the keynote.
A performance by hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa was on tap for Monday night. Also scheduled are a performance from rapper Tyga and an appearance by “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member Melissa Gorga.
This week’s trade event will be one of the first in Las Vegas since Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted the state’s mask mandate on Thursday. Organizers said they are not requiring masks but will encourage attendees to wear them. Other COVID-19 safety measures include promoted social distancing and regular cleaning.
McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.