Entrance to S.L.A.T.E. from the February show
All Photos by Tom Wallace

The kick-off the fashion trade show season is underway and with it has come a flurry of innovative strategies that trade shows are implementing with endemic and non-endemic partners to not only attract exhibitors, retailers, press, and industry leaders, but also to provide new meaning and inspiration to networking and business in this challenging economy. One of the more creative collaborations on the horizon is S.L.A.T.E. (Select Lifestyle Apparel Trends Emergence), a unique sub-trade show within MAGIC, and Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

S.L.A.T.E., which Label Networks has covered in detail in the last year, attracts some of the leading-edge brands in a crossover section of action sports including surf, skateboarding and streetwear, plus music-inspired brands and upper urban/contemporary footwear and apparel brands. The lifestyle component of S.L.A.T.E. has always been one of its main features, so it makes sense that a relationship to enhance the experience would come with this show and correspondingly, a hotel and casino that’s music- and lifestyle-inspired such as the Hard Rock.

Basically, if you’re in the carefully curated, progressive S.L.A.T.E. show, which takes place August 31- September 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, as an exhibitor or retailer that mostly buys at this show, Vegas Hard Rock Hotel is offering a full-on VIP program in a new area called the Paradise Tower to make sure you have a really good time. The idea is to bridge the trade show floor experience with the hotel and create an extension of the lifestyle surrounding the types of brands in S.L.A.T.E. with features such as “S.L.A.T.E. Nights” parties at the Hard Rock, spa access, discounted luxury rooms and suites, happy hour food, VIP Night Club access passes, shuttle access to the LVCC, and various other cool benefits. Packages start at $79 including Paradise Tower rooms, health club access, nightly drink tickets at the Center Bar, and passes to the S.L.A.T.E. party at The Rogue Joint, up to $149 which also includes a Junior Suite, hosted daily breakfast, and a Hard Rock “luxury” shuttle.

“By creating S.L.A.T.E. Nights at Vegas Hard Rock,” says Chris DeMoulin, MAGIC International’s President, “we can offer exhibitors and attendees a more exclusive lifestyle destination experience.”

S.L.A.T.E. Halls and lounge areas at the February 2009 show

So far S.L.A.T.E.’s line-up includes a crossover of leaders in various fashion subcultures including Obey, In4mation, Grenade, Live Mechanics, Fresh Jive, Hot Air, Jedidiah, Married to the Mob, Upper Playground, L-R-G, Stussy, REBEL 8, T.I.T.S, Triple Five Soul, The Originators, Cardboard Robot, Billionaire Mafia, Crooks & Castles, Dim Mak Collection, Rockport, Mighty Healthy, and progressive footwear brands such as Clae, Osiris, and adidas Originals.

Osiris super-hightops from February, 2009 show will be back again in S.L.A.T.E.

Other features at S.L.A.T.E. will include a gallery of lifestyle images by today’s top street photographers hosted by Format Magazine, on-site mural painting by various artists hosted by Jedidiah with a live auction to benefit Stand Up for Kids (their last mural auctioned for $15,000 at the February show); daily newsletter coverage by Antenna Magazine, and an onsite Barber Shop courtesy of Frank 151.

As usual, S.L.A.T.E.’s design and lay-out will feature a DJ platform featuring various DJ’s throughout the day, including Steve Aoki, a lounge and bar area, private entrance and concierge, and a kick-off party (at the Hard Rock, of course) with talent to be announced soon.

Married to the Mob is one of the few women’s progressive streetwear brands in the fashion industry. They will be at S.L.A.T.E. again this Fall

It should also be noted that near the S.L.A.T.E. area in the Center Hall is Street, which features a variety of great brands including several punk iconic collections such as Tripp NYC, Emily The Strange, and T.U.K., then a round-up of others ranging from Sailor Jerry, Zoo York, Famous Stars & Straps, Dickies Girl, several MMA-inspired brands, and a variety of music-license merch which is on the rise in terms of youth culture preferences.

Famous Stars and Straps in Street section

Overall, while many trade shows are transforming themselves to stay current with trends and attract the correct exhibitors and retailers, certain elements such as location, quality, and experience have become even more important in today’s world of fashion and retail. From S.L.A.T.E. to Street, even back into Pool, which is whole other world, the advantages of MAGIC are still present as you move across subcultures, which make getting the day’s work done more efficiently, and provides a crossover networking opportunity that simply doesn’t take place in many other places.

For more information on MAGIC, S.L.A.T.E., Street, go to www.magiconline.com.