Rojas @ Pool Tradeshow
Rojas @ Pool Tradeshow
 

31 Aug. 2011

Vegas Report: Magic Marketplace

The latest round of trade shows took place in Las Vegas last week. Read the reviews of FN Platform, WWDMagic, Slate and Pool Tradeshow here.

FN Platform
Now in its fourth season, FN Platform stretched over the expanse of the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall like a comfy suede moccasin. The brightly lit aisles of this footwear show-within-Magic housed a new luxury section and boasted more international designers than ever. Global offerings included looks from Spain, Brazil, Mexico and over 30 British companies highlighted in the UK Footwear Garden. The show has now grown to include its own footwear-focused seminars and ideas that help small, formerly clothing-only stores add shoes to their inventory.

Highlights included acclaimed London architect Julian Hakes, who brought his amazing sculptural Mojito shoe. His creation wraps around the foot, starting underneath and sweeping across the top, like a twist of lime peel.
Old Gringo brought its beautiful cowboy boots, French cut, zippered or double zippered in deep chocolate browns, hand stitched and formed to the foot by the third hour of wear. The company, which up until now has only devoted 20% of its business to men’s boots, plans to up that with muted pops of color for men.
Be&D showed a clever high-top sneaker with the outline of a high heel stiletto on the side. The new Love Moschino collection made the Italian high end a bit more accessible. Irregular Choice, with its “out of this world” motif, showed wild kitten faces on toes and peacock styled choices. Mink, from Venice, California, had the first completely vegan-approved shoe, with a specially formulated glue that uses no animal byproducts.
Flebiger from Australia’s colorful jellies and neon animal prints worked well with its coordinated toe nail polish or, as they called it, “shoe accessories.”
Dr. Scholls and Pikolinos booths were extra busy and nestled next to Ozone’s whimsical socks and the Remyxx 100% recyclable sneaker. Remyxx can be completely recycled after wearing, which makes them landfill free, containing no metal eyelet holes and special inner padding and soles. Not to mention, they’re cute too, including recycling symbols and numbers throughout the design.

Chooka rainboots looked charming and cute, especially the Hello Kitty designs, next to Nicole Lee Inc, which boasted stripes, color blocking and what they jokingly referred to as Lady Gaga inspired platforms. China Doll and China Dude kids shoes seemed playground welcome and parent approved along with Luv, which shared a molded toddler shoe and some adult selections in sublimated prints and crushed velvet. Meanwhile, nearby, the Fly London booth was especially crowded and the folks over at Palladium were writing orders for their lined, fold over high top canvas creations.Ted Baker footwear showed jellies and prints to match the brand’s ready to wear clothing. Their open toe booties and satin bow styles complemented the men’s selections like boat shoes and brogues. Havainas, about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, is exploring its past including limited edition series that looks to traditional, Brazilian Buriti straw making, bobbin lace creations and geometric Portuguese textiles brought to the country.
Swedish Hasbeens took the clog sexy with its handmade, natural wooden shoes that embrace 1950s style this season. Splendid showed cork soles and espadrilles, Nina brought bridal accessories and Charles David rounded things out with its cool Acid Sport series, featuring latex straps and fluorescent looks alongside their new Geo Tribal looks.

 
WWDMagic
The womenswear section of Magic continues to grow with the expansion of the show’s blogger initiative and a collaboration with over 30 small French brands in the Better to Bridge Pret a Porter section.
Aisle after aisle of no-nonsense garments allowed WWDMagic to be the busiest section of Magic. The Minx nailbar attracted considerable attention, bringing “fashion to your fingertips” with their heat-activated nail appliqués like checkerboards and special Magic themed holographic designs. They have partnered with Marc by Marc Jacobs to launch a complement to his newest RTW creations.
Everyone and their brother is making one piece, pajama-like loungewear, the best being Jumpin Jammerz, which offers hooded versions including Kiss and Paul Frank themes and a pair done just for Ellen Degeneres after her talk show gave them out to all audience members.
Studded jeans are proving continually popular in the juniors’ market, including versions by Rock and Roll Cowgirl and Boom Boom jeans. Retro seems current in lines like Bettie Page, Lolita Girl, Trashy Diva and Rock Steady with their take on 1950s style frocks. Too Fast punk rock carnival looks from New Jersey head up the tee shirts along with giants Mighty Fine who, in addition to classics designs featuring The Muppets and Hello Kitty, have recently introduced new body styles like fringe, batwing and baggy raglan. Cailyn showed off jeweled hair accessories that can be applied either at the salon or at home with a hot flat iron.
Desigual ruled the roost yet again. This time around, the company’s infectious Cirque du Soleil inspired carnival included live tee shirt painting and a hosted champagne bar. French Connection showcased color blocking, paneling and embellishment in its gauzy fresh spring collection and the Jessica Simpson booth, minus Ms. Simpson herself, was awash in sportswear, jeans, shoes, tween apparel, fragrance and so on.
Small booths rounded out the mix with the likes of LA Made. This company reached its lucky seven years in dye and knit garments, no doubt sharing customers with Free People’s hippie knit crochets and Scrapbook Originals cute prints.

 
SLATE
Across town, at the Mandalay Convention Center, the men’s areas of the Magic show proper were on the second floor, including the SLATE streetwear area, which had a new “skate park” area where actual skaters competed in the Maloof Skateboarding Best Line Pro Challenge, which was won by 17-year-old Ronnie Creager of California. As in previous seasons, SLATE stood out from the rest of the show with its gray booths, young vibe and selection of usual streetwear “suspects” as 10 Deep, L-R-G and Neff Headwear. Graphic logo tees were big sellers at Rogue Status/dta said sales manager Mark Encinias who added that foot traffic had been steady for most of the three days.

 
Pool Tradeshow
The young, indie atmosphere—albeit a less street and more artistic and handcrafted one—continued downstairs at the Pool Tradeshow, which, as usual, was dominated by small T-shirt and jewelry collections and its now famous cash-and-carry area where brands can sell directly to end customers. The large American Apparel booth could not be missed but the most interesting fashion probably came from LA’s Rojas and Sonas Denim, a new brand from San Francisco designed by Gerry Kelly. Rojas’ theme for the season was indigenous people and designer Freddy Rojas showed lots of shorts and tops with Native American prints and related graphics. At Sonas, the theme was handmade patchwork jeans created from leftover rolls of denim. Designer Kelly explained that he first started making them for friends who were attending music festivals but that they have proven to be so popular that he has decided to start selling them wholesale. His men’s and women’s creations ranged from dark denim, to a very lightly washed one to a colorful patchwork pant that would not have looked out of place at Woodstock.
Rebecca Paiement and Christopher Blomquist

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