Friday, September 23, 2011


I spent Day 3 of the week, known ubiquitously as MAGIC, at the sprawling booth jungle that takes over the massive confines of the Las Vegas Convention Center, adjacent to the Las Vegas Hilton. The Convention Center is host to WWDMAGIC, ISAM Swimwear, Sourcing and Platform.

Sourcing was located in the South Hall of the Convention Center.
As the name promises, Sourcing “showcases more than 700 apparel, accessories and footwear resources, conveniently merchandised by country and category: contract and original design manufacturers; fabric, trim and component suppliers; and service and technology providers”.
I don’t know much about the sourcing world. However, I can imagine this would be a great place to start learning. I have no feedback on the effectiveness of the show. I plan more research on Sourcing at the February 2012 go-around.

Platform is a massive shoe show, also located in the South Hall. I didn’t walk Platform this time but have in the past. If you love shoes, you’ll be in heaven. There are over 1500 exhibitors.
Like Sourcing, I will get direct feedback from exhibitors in February ’12.

Easily the largest of the week’s showcases, WWDMAGIC takes up the Central and North Halls of the Convention Center. As the name suggests, the show is presented in collaboration with the industry’s leading newspaper masthead, Women’s Wear Daily.
WWDMAGIC likes to brand itself as Fashion’s most comprehensive collection of women’s apparel, accessories and footwear … It’s certainly comprehensive; it’s huge with more than 2000 labels on show. But you’ll soon find out that there is lots of the same being peddled here. There are quality contemporary collections located in the Premium and Young Contemporary sections on the main floor.
I am never quite sure just how buyer-busy the show is. There are so many people in the space, from sales reps to booth staff to vendors to industry folks to media, and, yes, to buyers, that is it hard to work out who’s who.
Like the rest of the week’s shows, the feedback was positive. I spoke with experienced women’s contemporary Los Angeles rep. Bernadette Mopera. Bern was working the Knitted Dove booth – one of her lines. She was happy with the traffic, and reiterated, “MAGIC is an important show for us”.
I thought the North Hall held more missy collections, though MAGIC billed the space as presenting …“an upscale and ultra-fashionable new environment featuring the most sophisticated and sought-after in women’s collections.” In general, I couldn’t agree.
My good friend and all around super sales rep, Tracy Engelien, and another friend, Angelika McKay whose hip emerging label,Emma & Emilie, Tracy represents shared a booth in the “White” section of the North Hall with another friend, the wonderful Michelle Roy of Michelle Roy Designs.
Luckily, they were placed in a row of booths with contemporary collections that channeled a steady flow of buyers. They had a very good show.
Conversely, an Australian collection that I have worked with took a flyer on the North Hall at the last minute. They were added to the back end of the North Hall and had a terrible week.
Such is trade show life. Like I say over and over, knowing which trade show to do is like reading tea leaves – many collections often see what they want to see in a show’s potential, and many times they get it wrong.

ISAM (International Swimwear / Activewear Market)
The swimwear section of WWDMAGIC was branded “SWIM at WWDMAGIC Sponsored by ISAM”. ISAM is an LA-based swim and active wear trade association. They have been affiliated with WWD MAGIC since 2005.
Touted as the largest swim show on the west coast, there seemed plenty of buyer interest. I caught up with Monica and Janna from Chantal Accessories Showroom in LA. They represent the brilliant Australian swimwear collection, Lisa Blue.
Janna told that me, “it’s been awesome” and that “more people have been buying than last year”.
I asked a veteran swimwear rep, “Why do ISAM as opposed to the CurveNV swim show?”. She said that the ISAM show gave her more opportunity to reach the boutique and specialty stores buyers that attended MAGIC, as opposed to being at the swim buyer only environment at Curve. That rings true. While the MODA show is adjacent to Curve at the Venetian, the buyer has to make the extra effort of going from show to show. While at WWDMAGIC, they just walk the same floor.

Well, that about wraps it up for my reviews of the August 2011 round of fashion trade shows in Las Vegas. All in all, given the economic woes that we continue to endure, the week has to be considered positive. With most industry folks reporting sales holding steady or increasing on last year, we have to grateful for small mercies. Let’s hope things are on the uptick when we’ll be back in February 2012 to do it all again.
Make sure to check out my Day 1 and 2 reviews at the paul brindley consults website. I encourage you post any comments on the blogs. If you have any questions about my blogs or the US fashion world in general, please contact me directly at
Until next time …
Paul Brindley

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I was a bit slow out of the gate on Tuesday morning for Day 2 for the Vegas fashion trade show extravaganza after being kidnapped by Tracy and Angelika on Monday night, and being forced to dance into the night at the PoolTradeShow Opening Party. With true Aussie spirit, it didn’t take long for me to get into high gear, and burst out into the 112 degree heat.

I decided to spend Day 2 schlepping between hotels in the burning August sun checking out some shows that I hadn’t been to before.

ENKVegas was at the resplendent Wynn Hotel. Their website describes the show as “a tightly merchandised event featuring premium & advanced product for men and women …” I would agree. Better contemporary men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections were spread over two adjacent function rooms.

After the massive spaces of the Mandalay Bay Hotel based MAGIC shows, the “intimate, efficient, easy to navigate”confines of the ENK show made for a great feel.
ENK always put on professional and well-appointed fashion shows. As a veteran of many Intermezzos and Coteries in New York, it was good to see that the quality was still there.  There were more men’s than women’s collections. And there seemed to be more buyer action at the men’s booths. However, that could have just been a snapshot.

And, In true ENK style, the lunch was delicious.

After the long march through the Wynn, I headed next door to the Venetian Hotel through the Vegas broiler. The Venetian hosts MODA Las Vegas, CurveNV and MRKETLV.

MODA Las Vegas
MODA is a largely Missy show at the Sands Convention Center at the Venetian. There are over 300 collections represented. It is another forest of booths like WWD MAGIC at the Las Vegas Convention Center (more about that in my Day 3 wrap).

I visited a couple of very experienced and respected LA based reps that I know, and the feedback was good. Karen Anderson of KLA Showroom was very happy with the show. It was the first time Karen had done MODA, and she said she would be back.

Tami Smith of T. Smith & Co. is a MODA veteran. Tami said she had a great show. She does MODA because she thinks buyers have more time to browse lines than at the other shows. She also represents more contemporary collections, which she think stand out amongst the majority of more Missy lines.

CURVExpo runs designer lingerie and swimwear shows in New York and Las Vegas. CurveNV includes swimwear, lingerie, underwear, sleepwear and activewear. Women’s and men’s brands are represented.

With the increasing interest that I have been getting from Australian swimwear collections wanting to launch in the US, I wanted to compare CurveNV with the ISAM swimwear show that is part of WWD MAGIC – we’ll get to that in my Day 3 wrap.

I bumped straight the successful Australian swimwear brand, Seafolly. Many other big names were there – DKNY, Michael Kors, Betsey Johnson, Juicy Couture – to name a few.

The show felt a little cramped for space, and I didn’t see a lot of buyer action when I was there.

MRKETLV is exclusively a men’s show that promotes to classic and contemporary buyers. It is a big show – way bigger than MAGIC Men’s at the Mandalay Bay. A lot of the big names were there. Maybe it was the size of the show and/or the time I was there but it didn’t seem busy.

They did, however, put on a very nice hot lunch. Even though I had eaten at ENK, I couldn’t resist the juicy steak medallions!

My long Day 2 ended back at WWD MAGIC at the LV Convention Center where I hooked up with my kidnappers of Monday night, Tracy and Angelika, before heading off for dinner and a much quieter night.

I’ll pick up at MAGIC in my Day 3 review. See you then …

Paul Brindley

Thursday, September 1, 2011

pbconsults' photostream


These are image from Rosemount Australian Fashion Week from May this year.


Wow! It was a hot one in Las Vegas last week for the August round of fashion trade shows. The good news from the plethora of shows was the almost unanimous feedback from exhibitors that the numbers this year was at least as good as last year with some reporting better sales.
Phew! It would have been a disaster for all concerned if the arrows started pointing down again – which they could have quite easily done given the doom and gloom prophesies of a double-dip recession that are doing the rounds, and the current stock market swings.
The August round of Vegas shows showcase Spring/Summer of the following year. Let’s hope the buyer optimism reflects the long awaited turnaround in the industry through the first two quarters of 2012. One sales representative told me she thinks that people have decided they are sick of the hard times, and have started buying again. This is the best business news I have heard for a long time because recessions usually end when the people decide they have.
I started the week at the MAGIC shows at the Mandalay Bay. I was most interested in Workroom, Project, and PoolTradeShow.

Workroom is the fashion forward section of the entire MAGIC Marketplace. The clothing, accessories and shoe brands are carefully selected, juried, and well worth a close look.
The space has the look and feel of a working collective. At some booths, designers work at sewing machines in front of their collections, ready to engage as required. The almost 100 brands that were represented impressed with their handmade quality and diversity of textures with design ranging from thoughtful to inspired.
Visually, I wasn’t as blown away by Workroom this time as I was in February. In fairness, the February show is showcasing Fall/Winter, which gives the designers more scope for fabric choices, layering and therefore design opportunities.
There was plenty of color, though more muted than the most of the other ready-to-wear that I saw for the rest of the week. As well as the red, pink, and yellow that were everywhere, the Workroom designers had plenty of black, dark grey, and Hunter green on offer.
The 80’s western look was well represented as it was elsewhere.
The Jonathon Simkhai collection particularly impressed me. Several pieces accented with bright color panels and trims are inspired by sports uniforms – they would look fantastic on any dance floor. A flecked section of the collection is inspired by school composition book covers. His use of distressed edging is finished perfectly.
It was fantastic to see Australian collections in Workroom. The Sydny Showroom specializes in Australian collections. They were showing bless’ed are the meek(“doing well” according to Elizabeth Lewis, one of the principals of Sydny) and Flannel – two collections that I saw at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in Sydney in May. Elizabeth also works with Ladakh, an Australian collection that seemed to be doing very good business in Project.
Another Aussie collection on show was ksubi.
I have to mention one piece that caught my attention every time I passed the booth. It was a khaki and olive two-tone safari jacket by Publish. I have never worn a safari jacket but I might just wear that one.

Project seemed huge this time. There was plenty of foot traffic from the first morning. Project is where you’ll find the most influential and commercially successful  contemporary brands in the marketplace.
The feedback from the show varied between “about the same as last year” to “it was awesome”.
I saw a lot of color that was paradoxically either almost neon or muted and tonal – red, pink, fuchsia, yellow were the most dominant. As usual, there were lots of prints.  Printed pants and skirts were prominent.
Pants are big for Spring/Summer. The maxi-skirt is still popular.
Styles had cleaner lines than in the past – the bodies are more fitted and constructed than the flowing, draping look of past seasons.
Tanks of all types were huge. I saw a lot of straw, wide-brimmed hats, which have carried over from last year.
Shoes are also very important. “It’s all about the shoes”, is how one friend in the business put it. Shoes are structural and architectural; the bigger, the better. Get your platforms out!

I called it!
In my blog, The Madness that is the MAGIC Fashion Trade Shows – Day 2 & Show Review, from February, I said that I would prefer to see the Project, Workroom and Pool connected to make sure the young Pool designers are not missed. That is how it was configured this time, and it made all the difference. It was easy for the contemporary buyers to just keep on walking through, rather than skipping it if they were crunched for time. (They had Pool stuck away in it’s own function room last time – the foot traffic stunk! A friend of mine who did it was very disappointed.)
Pool was fun as usual. Lots of emerging contemporary designers showing the full range of clothing, shoes, bags, hats, jewelry, accessories of all kinds. There is also a cash and carry section.
The whole section is bright and colorful. They have drink, food and candy giveaways each day. Over caffeinated (or something) hipsters goofing off in the aisles helped give it a carnival feel at times.
Now that Pool is connected to the main Project floor, I would definitely consider putting out the cash to exhibit here.
Day 1 lasted well into the night at the PoolTradeShow Opening Party at The House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay. DJ Harvey had us grooving into the wee small hours.
Keep an eye out for my Day 2 wrap …
Paul Brindley