Updated February 14, 2022 - 3:47 pm
The fashion industry — from wholesalers to retail buyers — will be flocking to the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday for the start of MAGIC Las Vegas, the biannual trade show.
The convention, operated by Informa Markets, runs through Wednesday and features men’s and women’s brands across sectors such as apparel, footwear, accessories, home, gift and beauty. Meanwhile, the adjacent show for manufacturers and suppliers, SOURCING at MAGIC, starts a day earlier, on Sunday.
While organizers declined to share attendance figures, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has estimated before the pandemic that about 78,000 people visit MAGIC.
Kelly Helfman, president of Informa Markets Fashion, said it’s exciting to be back for a second time in Las Vegas since pausing in-person meetings in 2020, adding that the first in-person MAGIC Las Vegas show was in August.
“I couldn’t believe the outcome in August,” Helfman said. “I think the industry was so excited to get back to shows. It’s so important to touch and feel the fabric and see the quality and craftsmanship in person — there’s nothing like it. And so when we brought the community together last time in Vegas it was just this major rush … and I think we’re going to continue building on that momentum, and our registration numbers show it.”
MAGIC also will be one of the first trade shows in Las Vegas since Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted the state’s mask mandate Thursday.
Helfman said the company is not requiring masks for attendees but will encourage visitors to wear them. It will also continue with other COVID-19 safety measures such as making sure the show floor promotes social distancing, regular cleaning and setting up hand sanitizer stations.
The show kicks off with a keynote Monday morning on the evolution of fashion by speakers Elaine Welteroth, a judge on Bravo’s reality show “Project Runway” and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, and Dapper Dan, known for his ’80s streetwear fashion and for outfitting performers such as Aaliyah, LL Cool J, Jay-Z and Beyonce.
A performance by hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa is scheduled for Monday night. There will also be a performance next week from rapper Tyga and an appearance by “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member Melissa Gorga, who Helfman said has been attending MAGIC for years to purchase apparel for her boutique Envy by Melissa Gorga.
Helfman declined to disclose the number of exhibitors this year but said there will be plenty of brands and retailers, including Steve Madden, Free People, Polo Ralph Lauren, ASOS and Urban Outfitters.
This year’s show will also include the return of Informa Markets Fashion for Change, a recently launched incubator program that supports and showcases minority-owned, women-owned and LGBTQIA-owned fashion brands. The 2022 class includes 10 brands that will be exhibiting at MAGIC, such as New York City-based dual-gender clothing line Carlton Jones and men’s grooming brand XOG Skincare.
“The fashion retail sector has really gone through a lot, especially during the pandemic,” Helfman said. “Some industries benefited from it but definitely retail was one that took a big hit, and so it’s so great to be back together. Business is strong and consumers are buying and shopping.”