Story and Photos by Tom Wallace and Kathleen Gasperini
MAGIC Market Week February 19-21, 2013 in Las Vegas continues to bring the buyers of the business of fashion together in a variety of trade shows, but this time around, it was Project MVMNT that became the destination station for a combo of street, urban, skate, and the growing trend of military vibe mixed with Japanese patterned directions.
Starting with the latter first, brands like Joyrich proved that bold patterned pajama-inspired pants with low-hung crotches with a Japanese flair are trending in streetwear including super core markets. The odd angle addition to this was when paired with silk-sleeved varsity jackets and metallic hightops, which there were plenty of.
Other key movements (no pun intended) were the evolution of the military vibe into detailed pockets and prints, and the offshoot from Americana moving into full-on hunting themes. From Crooks and Castles motifs on hounds in the field, to WESC and a number of other brands sporting backwoods themes, plaids, and deer heads, it was a fresh take on outdoors-meets-street.
Urban via outdoors has always been the plan for boot-sneaker brand Palladium, but the idea that the outdoors in urban environments is still the outdoors but in a far different reference, than say, what Outdoor Retailer thinks of the outdoors, proves that it’s a market opportunity that continues to thrive. You see this also bleeding over into more urban scenarios with brands like Pharrell William’s Billionaire Boys Club adding elements of camo, green military jackets paired with bright colored patterned tops, pants, and accessories. A good thing this time around at the shows was that the American flag was mostly gone. Played-out to the max, fortunately Americana has moved on from the iconic, yet tired symbol, to things like subtle new usages of Native American prints paired with denim jackets, and printed pockets on vests and cardigans.
The Clique area was meant to be the connector between Project MVMNT and areas such as California Lifestyle (i.e. Aviator Nation, RVCA, Ezekiel), and Project Blue featuring denim, but it was hard to determine the specific sections. However the curated displays such as the one featuring Marshall speakers, headphones, graphic T-shirts inspired by music, Dr. Marten’s and various accessories really told more of a story than anything else. Clearly, the crossover with music, as seen also with the plethora of designer headphone brands exhibiting also, illustrates the strong and ongoing connection.
Clique also featured many of the brands supported by The Foundation out of New York and offered up an opportunity to see brands like G-Shock and Super in a clean, almost retail like environment. Next door was Street Hearts for the street ladies including an open space for brands like HLZ BLZ, Love+Made, and BOTB.
In footwear, sneaker culture continues to reach for extremes in some cases, but also reflects the growing importance of electronica in youth culture with bright colors, neons, and metallics. This is far more music-inspired than skate, but for some reason remains classified as a skate thing for now.
The shows also featured Project Tents which included all of the former, mainstream Project brands outside in two big white tents. There were mixed reactions to this, including less foot traffic, and less originality with the move. But what it did was emphasize the fact that street brings the traffic—even if there are often just fashionistas strutting their wares. The Tents just weren’t as fun.
With the new structure of Project, it’s created new niche spaces for various brands, but also opportunities for other types of shows. Agenda has already announced its presence in Vegas in August, along with the return of Project founder Sam Ben-Avraham and his new show for 250 directional brands called Liberty.
The competition with fashion trade shows has always been fierce and it’s not going away anytime soon. Project MVMNT was a destination location but like the swift changes done with shows like Bread & Butter, the new format keeps the industry on its toes in an ever-evolving industry.
Stay tuned for more from the fashion trade shows including latest from Pool and Capsule.