Las Vegas Apparel and Footwear Shows Announce Big Location Moves
LAS VEGAS—The major trade shows for apparel, accessories and footwear held every February in Las Vegas saw a big shift with the shows being held a week earlier than normal.
At the same time, two of the shows announced they would move. Informa Exhibitions said it would consolidate all of its MAGIC shows into the Las Vegas Convention Center next August while Womenswear In Nevada said that in 2020 it would move its event from the Rio Hotel & Convention Center to the Caesars Forum Conference Center on the Las Vegas Strip.
The announcements address a major problem for the twice-a-year shows held in February and August, when exhibitors display their clothing and shoe collections and other goods. Buyers have been challenged getting to the MAGIC shows located at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center while the WWIN show is across the freeway at the Rio.
“Logistically, the move to a single campus means a shift from two venues to one,” said Mark Temple-Smith, managing director of Informa Exhibitions’ fashion business. “Fundamentally, though, it’s a new perspective and a sharpened commitment to building a singular, powerful experience for our entire industry.”
Informa has not revealed the new exhibit layouts and locations at the Las Vegas Convention Center, but it did say the Las Vegas Convention Center is making $540 million in renovations to the current space and is working on an $860-million expansion that should be completed by 2021.
Also, Informa, which purchased MAGIC owner UBM last June, is planning to invest $15 million over the next three years in the shows to promote growth. The next edition of the shows will take place Aug. 12–14 with Sourcing at MAGIC beginning on Aug. 11.
Womenswear In Nevada has been at the Rio since 2000 but found it was hard to expand because all the ballroom spaces were filled. The show’s new organizers, Clarion UX, said this move will make it possible to expand in a state-of-the-art facility. The move will be made when the WWIN show is held Aug. 17–20, 2020. The next WWIN show will be held Aug. 12–15.
“The incredible Caesars Forum venue opens up so many opportunities for WWIN,” said Desiree Hanson, vice president of fashion events, Clarion UX. “The stunning new venue provides the perfect backdrop for the innovations and enhancements we have planned for WWIN.”
WWIN debuted at the Tropicana Hotel in 1998 when Roland Timney and Jeff Yunis founded the show. It moved to the Rio two years later. The show was sold in 2015 to Urban Expositions, which is now called Clarion UX.
Show dates alter
This year, the various trade shows started on Feb. 2 with the International Fashion Jewelry & Accessory Group opening at the Embassy Suites for four days followed by a bevy of MAGIC shows starting on Feb. 5 and ending Feb. 7. WWIN launched on Feb. 4 and wrapped up on Feb. 7.
Normally, the February shows begin the second week of February, but this year the dates were pushed up by one week.
The earlier date was not the best for the Sourcing at MAGIC show, which started on Feb. 4 and ended on Feb. 7 because Chinese New Year began on Feb. 5. Normally, more than half the exhibitors at the Sourcing show are from China and Hong Kong.
Chinese New Year and the current U.S. trade war with China didn’t help Chinese attendance. “It was a killer, but China is still here,” said Chris Bryer, director of sales for Sourcing at MAGIC. Organizers estimated that about 600 of the 1,100 booths at the show were from China. India brought about 100 companies. Egypt had a pavilion filled with almost 20 companies, and Portugal had a large pavilion at the front of the show with 16 companies.
The WWIN show began on Monday, one day before the majority of the MAGIC shows opened, which proved a big draw for buyers. The show floor was abuzz with activity. Suzanne Pruitt, a WWIN spokesperson, said there were about 400 companies exhibiting at the show.
One of those companies was April Cornell, a more than 35-year-old apparel and home décor company based in Burlington, Vt. “We’ve been busy,” said Leticia Brewer, April Cornell’s wholesale manager for Canada, who was at the show with Anna Krause, the wholesale coordinator for the United States. “It has been great. It’s a great place to meet new people.”
Also starting before the bevy of MAGIC shows was OffPrice, a discount clothing event that kicked off Feb. 3 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. But starting on Super Bowl Sunday proved to be a one-day business killer.
“It was just not a great day on Sunday,” said Mitch Rubenfeld of Ultimate Apparel, which sells discounted clothing for men, women and children. “They had a little party here on Sunday and that cut into our time.”
Many MAGIC shows
The Mandalay Bay Convention Center was a busy place for the seven shows organized there from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7 by Informa Exhibitions.
During Project Womens, exhibitors were introduced to the new Conscious Fashion Campaign, a partnership with the United Nations. Certain exhibitors registered as a Conscious Collection to showcase their fashions.
At It Is Well L.A., a made–in–Los Angeles basics brand, the company saw buyers who were visiting from many regions within the United States. “Buyers are looking for staples,” said Susanna Kwon, operating associate for the company. “Trends come and go—and they’re great—but our buyers want something that is more wearable year-round.”
Variety was found at Stitch @ Project Womens. Stash Style, which sells U.S.-made home goods, T-shirts and bags, also creates new apparel through screen-printing and repurposing denim, military jackets and flannels updated using a reverse dye process. Apparel wholesales from $5.50 to $45. “You can make your store pretty eclectic depending on what you’re looking for,” said Lauren Goik, wholesale account manager at the Rocky River, Ohio–based brand.
At the Curve Las Vegas show, fresh brands were excited about introducing their pieces to a new market in the lingerie and swimwear segment.
For Me Seduce, a brand that traveled to Las Vegas from Poland, sales representative Justyna Szefczyk met with buyers from Puerto Rico, Ohio, Utah, Texas, California, Florida and New York. The brand has a provocative approach to lingerie but also offers styles for a more conservative consumer.
“Our range appealed to them [buyers] because we have different styles,” she said. “Especially in Las Vegas, they are more attracted to the sexy styles, but, surprisingly, they also liked the more feminine and softer pieces.”
At the independent design-focused Pooltradeshow, buyers were placing orders for Brooklyn, New York–based Rubyzaar’s shawls, maxi dresses, caftans and shirtdresses with a heavy tie-dye focus.
“I’ve been writing all morning,” said co-owner Molly Rubin, who runs the company with her sister, Sarah Rubin. “I recommend this show for buyers and wholesalers. It’s a great little market.”
WWDMAGIC kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Feb. 5 and was extremely busy the first day as retailers poured into the show and its ornately decorated booths. “I had 25 orders the first day,” said Raj Kapoor, the founder of Raj Imports in Los Angeles.
Over at the Embassy Suites, the nonprofit, member-owned International Fashion Jewelry and Accessory Group offered buyers the opportunity to meet U.S.-based companies.
At the Bella & Company suite, General Manager Joshua Lee felt the show was better than last year because of the better quality of buyers in attendance. “The smaller retailers are struggling because the big chain stores are taking over, but even those big stores are also struggling,” he said. “Their online business might have been a second thought. There are some online companies like Fashion Nova that are good at focusing on Instagram and online business.”
Moving to downtown Las Vegas
From Feb. 5 to 7, Agenda and Liberty Fairs made their inaugural runs at the World Market Center near downtown Las Vegas, a more than 15-minute drive north of the Las Vegas Strip. But next August, Agenda and Liberty Fairs will be at a different location.
Vendors and show directors at streetwear-focused Agenda and contemporary-inspired Liberty said that traffic at their shows did not suffer from their location change from the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
However, vendors and show directors at Project, a rival trade show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, begged to differ. Jason Peskin, a brand director of men’s fashion at Project, said that 80 brands from Agenda and Liberty joined Project because they did not want to make the move off of the Strip.
Agenda veteran brand Staple was one of the vendors making the jump to Project. “I love what Agenda does,” said Jeff Staple, founder of Staple. “But that old retail adage is true. ‘It’s location, location, location.’ When people come to Vegas, they want to stay on the Strip.”
But Tony Shellman, an Agenda event director, said that retail traffic was good at Agenda’s new space. Also, the show continued to serve its mission of providing a venue for prominent brands such as Mitchell & Ness as well as new and emerging brands such as Carton.
“We decided to change and do something different,” Shellman said. “A lot of brands believed in us and made the change with us.”
At the adjacent tent housing the Liberty Fairs show, Robin Chretien of the Robin’s Jean brand also said that buyer traffic had not suffered at Liberty’s new space. “Traffic was very good,” he said. When buyers come to Liberty, they look for fashion.”