On a brisk night in downtown Las Vegas, shoppers slipped their hands out of gloves and set down hand warmers to reach out and touch.
They ran their fingers over super-soft denim, through racks of repurposed band shirts and inside buckets of iron-on patches.
On the first of the two-night Commotion event, clothing brands connected with consumers, offering shopping, giveaways and customization opportunities.
The shopping experience, which runs parallel with the MAGIC trade show, aims to bridge the gap between creators and consumers.
Creator Mike Sampson ran business development for MAGIC for 15 years. Now, he’s exploring the world of e-commerce.
“Before, retailers would carry the brand and have to tell that brand’s story to consumers,” says Sampson. “But the new generation of that is consumers buying the products on the brand’s website or the brand’s social media. So you’re not getting the brick-and-mortar store to go and touch and feel the product.”
Sampson talked with Zappos, who powered the event, about eight months ago about launching the inaugural Commotion event. He recruited fifteen designers as well as local artists and food vendors to gather in Fergusons for what he describes as an interactive, multifaceted, multi-categorical experience.
“The goal isn’t to come in and buy something— that’s an after effect,” he says. “The goal is to meet the brands, the creators. See what they’re thinking. And for them to meet you and learn about their consumers.”
Melissa Austria who owns GotStyle, a menswear store in Toronto, is in town for MAGIC. She spent the day at the Las Vegas Convention Center shopping for products for her store, then traveled to Commotion after dark to support a friend. “It’s a great set-up and really cool vibe,” says Austria. “It’s too bad it’s so cold because it is a great concept.”
Brian Schulz, who recently moved to downtown Las Vegas, found out about the event on social media. “The weather is working against them,” says Schulz. “But it’s a cool event, I like supporting local artists.”
He took his complimentary blue denim tote to the customization station where Las Vegas artist Eric Vozzola free-handed a pastel Saturn across the front.
“Fergusons asked me to do the mural at the gate,” says Vozzola, the senior designer and art director for The Venetian. “Then they invited me to do custom paintings. I love painting activations like this.”
At an iron-patch station, Schulz selected a free astronaut patch. Ink Wells CEO John Centi ironed the piece onto the bottom corner of the bag.
“I’ve been on the road the last three years, traveling and doing free printing like this,” Centi says.
Mavi Jeans helped fit shoppers in denim jackets and handed out branded pouches and notebooks.
“We’ve done events like this before like Denim Days in New York and they’ve been successful, says Rachel Triller, marketing and PR associate. “It’s not selling product as much as it is creating a fun, creative atmosphere and do something more personal.”
Other participating brands included womenswear and unisex clothing brand Dirty Milk, designer denim brand Matias and men’s contemporary and golf clothing label Psycho Bunny.
Shoe brand Superga brought a variety of styles including high tops, canvas shoes with embroidered avocados and pairs with thick rainbow-striped platforms.
Sneaker Lab shared its environmentally safe shoe-cleaning product. “A lot of shoe cleaners have really harsh chemicals,” says Brandon Rossi. “And they can bleach your shoes. These are safe for suede, high heels and new materials like Yeezys.”
Caulfeild Apparel showed two brands including John Lennon Collection which sells art and menswear inspired by the late Beatle.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.
Contact Janna Karel at email@example.com. Follow @janninaporgress on Twitter.
If you go
Where: 1031 Fremont Street
When: 4-10 p.m. Wednesday