With winter weather pounding much of the country, the Las Vegas apparel, accessories and sourcing shows kicked off with sunny, warm weather and crowds of domestic and international retailers navigating the more than 20 events held across the city.
MAGIC Market Week shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, including WWDMAGIC, MAGIC Men’s, Project, Pooltradeshow, ENKVegas, FN Platform, WSA@MAGIC, Sourcing at MAGIC, the Tents at Project and ProjectMVMNT.
At the Sands Expo & Convention Center, Business Journals’ MRket, Accessories the Show and Stitch were held on the second floor, while OffPrice was held on the lower level.
The adjacent ballrooms at The Venetian housed the Liberty, Agenda, Capsule and CurveNV shows, while WWIN (Womenswear in Nevada) was held at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and children’s show Kidshow was held at Bally’s.
“It’s great. It’s overwhelming, too,” said Reza Shekarchian, co-owner of the Avedon boutique in Beverly Hills. Shekarchian was shopping the shows with his business partner, Yasmine Farmanara, who said the shows’ sprawl was difficult to navigate. “You don’t know who is showing where,” she said.
With opening days staggered, the shows saw waves of buyer traffic, which included majors and chains such as Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s and Urban Outfitters, as well as boutiques, e-commerce sites and international retailers.
Moshe Tsabag, president of the Los Angeles–based contemporary line Velvet Heart, showing at WWDMAGIC, called opening day “unbelievable.”
“Ever since morning it’s been nonstop,” he said.
The Tents at Project
The Liberty show was one of several that opted to open on President’s Day. The show officially opened at 1 p.m. on Feb. 17, but a crowd of buyers lined up early to get in, according to Liberty founder Sam Ben-Avraham.
“The fact that people were there [lining up early] at the show was amazing,” he said. “We already had more attendance than the entire run of the debut.”
London-based menswear brand Ted Baker was showing at Project, where business was brisk, according to Patrick Heitkam, executive vice president of U.S. wholesale and licensing for the company.
“Traffic is up from last year,” he said. “We wrote a few new accounts. We saw our majors. It’s been fun.”
It was the same at Pooltradeshow, where buyers from Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal and Wasteland were among the visitors to the show, according to show manager Alli Johnson.
“It was really busy,” she said. “We had a lot of traffic, and a lot of buyers were energized by that.”
While some exhibitors and buyers saw their travel to Las Vegas delayed by bad weather, the recent unusual weather has been affecting retailers’ bottom line—from the surprise cold snap in the South to the many snowstorms in the Midwest and East Coast to the unseasonably warm weather in the Southwest.
“Nobody had the winter they’re supposed to have,” said Judy Wexler, who represents Los Angeles–based Mystree, which was showing at WWDMAGIC.
“Everybody is complaining about the weather because no one has what they should have in their stores,” she said.
Designer Gillian Julius at ENK
Still, she said traffic was strong on opening day and retailers were looking for everything from Immediates to Fall merchandise.
“For the East Coast stores, the weather they’ve had is killing their sales,” said Peter Jacobson, owner of the Creative Concepts showroom in Los Angeles and distributor of several European collections, including Aventures des Toiles and La Fée Maraboutée, which were both exhibiting in the White section of WWDMAGIC.
Jacobson said opening day was a “good start to the show,” with retailers from Northern California, Chicago and New Hampshire stopping by the booth. “I expected it to be quieter today [Tuesday] because most of our appointments are tomorrow.”
The Staple Pigeon’s label’s Nico Reyes and Jeff Staple at Agenda
Overall, exhibitors reported upbeat retailers on the hunt for new merchandise and with less price resistance than in previous years.
Los Angeles–area headwear company Original Chuck was showing at Agenda, where President Derek Tucker said the company was seeing retail traffic from around the world, primarily from Asia and Latin America.
“It’s upbeat,” he said. “There’s not a lot of looky-loos. They’re writing orders.”
Mercedes Gonzalez, director of the Global Purchasing Companies buying service and retail consultancy, said she thought there were fewer buyers at WWDMAGIC but “a higher quality of people.”
“There’s not a lot of people kicking tires,” she said. “They’re actually here to do business. Even with emerging designers, people are taking risks with them. People don’t take chances when things are bad.”
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