MAGIC International Fashion Trade Show continues to re-invent itself, and this time during the Fall Show from August 25-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, it was all about hosting micro-shows within the show. From EcoCollection to Pool in the Central Hall, to the massive Sourcing area and a niche platform for Made in Africa manufacturers, to Streetwear upstairs and S.L.A.T.E. downstairs in the South Hall, different themes, d%uFFFDcor, and brands rounded out each location. While S.L.A.T.E. (which stands for Select, Lifestyle, Apparel, Trend, Emergence) was the new hyped show for progressive street fashion, as per tradition, we first headed to the upstairs of the South Hall, in essence to see who was left behind.
The difference was noticeable first off because the small Streetwear brands were pulled to the front rather than pushed to the back, and the behemoth booths of Baby Phat, South Pole, Lot 29, and New Era were moved to the sides, which opened up the South Hall upstairs. (Also, Rocawear pulled out, creating their own suite nearby 3 days earlier leaving an entire righthand wall up for grabs). Unfortunately, since many top street fashion labels vied to get into the carefully juried S.L.A.T.E. area downstairs, as some brands put it, like Nine Rulaz from Japan, “It seems like all our friends left.” That was the sentiment from many of the smaller Streetwear brands.
Brands such as Akademiks, Artful Dodger, Emily the Strange, Dickies, Miami Ink, Osiris, Zoo York, Burnside, and others remained upstairs in Streetwear, sharing a massive and somewhat confused space with various action sports brands (who now think MAGIC is the place to be after all) including a skate ramp, a variety of MMA-inspired tattoo-artistry brands such as Tap-Out and Sullen, and a plethora of licensees. So in essence, there wasn’t the peacocking of fashionistas usually located in the front space, not to mention police and police dogs roaming the area. Upfront also 7th Letter Crew hosted an excellent art show featuring Revok, Retna, Saber, Pusher, Rime, Reyes, Ewok, and Zeser which was definitely one of the highlights -along with the DNR/Akademiks Barbershop.
Downstairs in S.L.A.T.E. with it’s cool wooden spa-like entrance, waterfall, and lounges, it was clearly the place to be as registration lines were packed until at least 3 p.m. on the first day. Once you made your way into the area, small booths were lined with what MAGIC considered the juried selection of progressive street and lifestyle fashion brands which included some of the hottest labels still left in the market, starting with Crooks & Castles right at the entrance which was full with appointments all day (see Label Networks TV interview next week), Cardboard Robot which was also a sponsor of S.L.A.T.E. and provided cool brown cloth bags for attendees, 10 Deep in their highly coveted space, Rocksmith and Kilo (see Label Networks TV interview next week), Mishka, Cntrl, Be Priv from Paris, Married to the Mob -one of the few women’s street fashion brands on site, Garbege, Clae Footwear, Atticus, Addict, Altamont, Ezekiel Clothing, Fresh Jive, Jedidiah (who moved from Project back to this area), Jeepney, Lemar & Dauley, Live Mechanics, Livity Outernational, Obey, Penfield, Hot Air, The Hundreds, Grn Apple Tree, Hurley, Alpinestars, Acrylick, Akomplice, Quiksilver Limited, Royal Elastics, Rebel8, In4mation, Upper Playground, Undrcrwn, Triple 5 Soul, Triumvir, Stussy, Sneaktip, King Stampede, and a few new brands such as Kostello (fixed gear cycle inspired apparel).
In many ways S.L.A.T.E. was a who’s-who of street, action sports, and lifestyle apparel and footwear brands, including as one buyer put it, “those that are left in the game.” While the show was busy each and every day, including a fair share of b-boys and b-girls, on-going DJs, and various media lounges and fashion players, many expressed how difficult the economic climate had been for them. Retailers and buyers were mostly looking for brands that had full collections and experience rather than one-off trends in specific designs. In addition, those with a footwear component tended to keep their heads above water because it’s one category that’s still selling.
As usual, there was definitely room for more dedicated street fashion brands for girls. Married to the Mob was one of the few on site (see Label Networks TV interview next week), while Hellz Bellz which is leaning more street/contemporary was at Project, and Nikita Clothing opted to showcase two weeks later at Agenda in San Diego.
Overall, most people including retailers, buyers, and manufacturers considered S.L.A.T.E. a success. As Crooks & Castles marketing director put it, “It kept a lot of brands from moving to Project.” As an in-between show, it did it’s job while providing an easier way for attendees to sort through the top brands on the market in terms of generating orders. As Jaso from Cardboard Robot put it, “We have been slammed the entire show I think this move for MAGIC with S.L.A.T.E. was the way to go.”
Stay tuned for more stories from Las Vegas fashion trade shows including interviews with top brands on Label Networks TV (www.youtube.com/labelnetworks), Pool review, Project review, Eco Collection review, and top fashion photos from the trade show halls.