Skip to main content

Chic and Street share spotlight at MAGIC


LAS VEGAS The spring 2008 fashion collections did not enter the retailing world quietly. Each brand went through great lengths to differentiate themselves from the competition, beckoning visitors with outstanding visual merchandising and candy—lots of candy.

From the Tommy Bahama mansion to the Dollhouse palace where Paris Hilton halted traffic, the annual MAGIC Apparel Show, which has resided in Las Vegas in its current iteration since 1989, was like an amusement park for the fashion industry.

More than 7,000 exhibitors and 115,000 attendees came to the four-day event booming with runway shows, seminars and celebrities. Without a doubt, the street wear category attracted the most attention. The fashions spoke loud and clear, but the combination of music, celebrity appearances—including Jay-Z, LL Cool J and Russell Simmons—and the club-like venues turned the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center into an A-list party. No wonder the category expanded to two levels plus special off-site exhibits, POOL and PROJECT, that featured the most cutting edge urban styles.

Such a display underlines the sentiment that fashion goes beyond just clothing—it is a lifestyle represented by music, art and athletics. On the other hand, the MAGIC Kids’ exhibit continued to shrink, even though the category celebrates its 10th anniversary this August. Creative concepts like Rocker onesies and organic cotton clothing may lure back exhibitors next year.

What differentiates this spring preview from the others in the past lies in the concept of trans-seasonal apparel. Brought about by a confluence of several macro trends, including archaic seasonality standards, consumer interest in longer buying seasons and ongoing shifts in the global climate, manufacturers and designers across the show were echoing the same interest in softening the effect of seasonality, namely by offering fashions—particularly layered looks—that could cross over from one season to the next.

At the retail level, this phenomenon, as described by The Doneger Group creative director David Wolfe, allows for a ‘Shop Now, Buy Now’ mentality whereby consumers in the Northeast, for example, who want to buy summer-weight outerwear in late September are not stymied by the early arrival of winter-weight items.

“There are no longer seasonal boundaries,” Wolfe said during one of his many trend presentations at the show. “Everything is rolling over.” In addition to the bustle on the floor, there were several seminars that spanned trend, sustainability and sourcing topics, each giving a thorough overview backed by some of the most influential organizations in the industry. The Women’s Trend Forecast, presented by Wolfe, confirmed almost all of the fashions seen on the runway.

Whether retailers opt for naturals or psychedelic prints, consumers should get ready for clean and simple silhouettes this spring. “We have almost reached the saturation point of over design[ed], over embellished, over the top,” said Wolfe. “The next thing that is going to happen ... [will] be simpler, more sophisticated and very, very fresh after all the jazz that we’ve been addicted to.”

This puts natural colors at the top of the pyramid. However, unlike the typical khakis seen in the past, collections feature variations of taupe, beige-pinks and watered down pastels. The color scheme was intensified by texture, especially in crocheted dresses. Naturals also received a boost from polished, satiny and shimmery fabrics, spicing up the classic look.

Silver and gold took center stage, making a strong statement with minimalist effects when integrated with whites. Bejeweled blacks showed up in swimwear lines, which oozed sophistication and class with one-piece cutout suits and plunging necklines.

Vivid colors, particularly magenta, and patterns took swimwear, dresses and casualwear by the reigns, as well. Bold colors are a must when it comes to working with ’60s psychedelic, plaid and argyle prints. Levi’s did not waste any time jumping on the color wagon—they already have a line that includes kelly green jeans for girls.

When it comes to women’s wear, length was a big factor. The hemlines of skirts and dresses are creeping up, reminding everyone of the success of the retro style, but retailers can expect to see the opposite trend as well as longer and more modest hemlines channel the sophistaction of the ’40s. Shorts come in two lengths: teeny-mini cuts and Bermuda shorts, which show no sign of slowing down with patterns now in play. Loose babydoll styles, many sleeveless with a deep scoop neck rounded out the dress fashion. Contemporary men’s wear focused on the surfer meets golfer look—casual meets preppy.

Comfort is the biggest cohesive factor throughout all of the collections. Designers are going for light jersey knits and linen fabrics that transcend from casual to classic. This explains the emphasis on organic and environmentally friendly aspects of apparel. Aside from social responsibility, the appeal for natural fibers includes their physical attributes.

Born, known for its comfortable footwear, is beginning to experiment with apparel. “We create and design products for consumers that are comfortable, trend right and environmentally friendly, without sacrificing style,” said Scott Branscum, ceo of SB Premier Brands. With a strong emphasis on organic cotton and charambo, charcoal bamboo, the company believes that fashion can be well rounded when it comes to being comfortable and environmentally friendly. 

Born is not the only company focused on environmental factors. As green sourcing and organic materials continue to pervade the fashion industry, they will invariably play an even greater role at MAGIC, although given the strength of street wear and other categories, the event’s own sustainability was never in question.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds