Informa Markets Fashion Welcomes Industry to MAGIC Pop-Up Orlando
Ready for showtime, Informa Markets Fashion hosted its MAGIC Pop-Up Orlando Feb. 9–11 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The time had come to produce an on-site show that afforded opportunities for buyers and brands to meet in a safe environment that would employ guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to Informa Markets Fashion Commercial President Kelly Helfman. Helfman was pleased with the outcome of the brand’s first on-site show since early 2020, noting that safety was a priority and many exhibitors were able to forge relationships with new customers who hailed from Florida and the Southeast United States.
“The energy was so great. People were so excited to be back together and have a sense of normal business. That was very evident, but they were still very cautious and aware when it came to safety,” Helfman said. “Everybody distanced, kept their masks on. It felt good and it made everybody feel very excited and hopeful regarding the future of larger events for us to come back together and do business.”
To ensure safety, prior to entry Informa required a negative COVID-19 test, temperature screening, mandatory face masks and physical distancing of six feet, while it provided deep cleaning and sanitization of booths as well as hand-sanitizing stations throughout the show floor, which was organized for safe distancing.
Buyers were ready to work and conduct business as they visited central Florida to experience the on-site event. For Kim Meek, vice president of merchandising for the Davenport, Iowa–headquartered retailer Dry Goods, this edition included a search for Fall with her trusted vendors. Focused on young contemporary that retails from $30 to $60, Meek found new trending pieces and was grateful for the opportunity to feel product, such as trends in shackets.
“You can’t compare product the same in person versus virtually over Zoom, especially for the Fall season when things are about fabrication and feel. It’s not necessarily about a fun print, it’s how does this sweater feel? Is it soft? How heavy is it? The things you can’t get over a virtual meeting or a line sheet. It made a huge difference to see the product in person,” Meek said. “You could tell there was a large investment in safety measures from the testing to the thermal screening, and there was plenty of space.”
Visiting from the downtown Los Angeles office of Warrendale, Penn.–based Rue21, Chief Merchandising Officer Catherine Morisano congratulated the Informa team on producing a safe show. Morisano maintained the same mission of remaining ahead of trends to support the company’s growth over the past year.
“It’s the evolution of the cozy trend. We have seen it evolve from cozy on top and cozy on bottom to fashion on top and cozy on bottom,” Morisano noted. “We know there is pent-up demand for people to actually dress and go somewhere. We still saw cozy driven but more of a sportswear angle. Tons of tie-dye still with nice updates to colorways, plaid was apparent, wide legs and bell-bottoms.”
As Helfman begins planning the next steps, which include managing a continued MAGIC Digital installment until March 1, she was pleased to share an important message with the apparel industry.
“Fashion is back! Live events are back! And we proved that. We are optimistic for the future,” Helfman said. “We are going to continually drive forward our mission to bring these high-quality and meaningful events digitally and physically. We just did this in Orlando, and it gave everybody a sense of excitement. We are getting back to business.”