Fashion industry ponders post-pandemic world at MAGIC trade show

In Las Vegas, the fashion industry is looking toward a post-pandemic world.

On Wednesday, the MAGIC fashion trade show concluded its three-day event at the Las Vegas Convention Center, its first exposition in the city since February 2020.

This year’s in-person convention was a welcome sight for Kelly Helfman, commercial president for Informa Markets Fashion, after a hiatus of more than year-and-a-half thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Fashion is so tactile, these buyers want to touch and feel the product that they’re buying for their stores,” Helfman said. “So it’s really important that we’re here, in person, doing business.”

This year, MAGIC, dubbed the “most comprehensive fashion marketplace in the U.S.,” featured more than 700 brands and retailers. The trade show “aims to be a seamless one-stop shop” for young contemporary and trend apparel, accessories, children’s clothing, sportswear, menswear and footwear at “value to mass-market price points,” a press release from MAGIC states.

“Brands have been on the road and only doing digital or regional events this past year. This is their first big international live show, so I am eager to see how brands present their collection to buyers from all around the world,” Jordan Rudow, vice president of events at MAGIC, said in an event preview statement.

As vaccinations rise and the coronavirus pandemic wanes, this year’s fashion trends are all about “optimism, sparkle, drama, and also a little bit of fantasy,” according to Jessica Richards, the founder of JMR Design Consulting and fashion director for AC Magazine.

“Everybody’s talking about the Roaring ‘20s and what that means,” Richards said during a post-pandemic trends seminar Wednesday. “I think that after all of these really plain days, wearing our sweatpants, wearing our loungewear, we’re coming back and we want to go back out into the world with a lot of shine.”

But the sweatpants aren’t going away completely. Helfman said a new, work-from-home aesthetic has emerged after months of quarantine and Zoom meetings.

Some brands, like Z Supply, have welcomed the casual, comfortable dress craze. Tony Sanchez, the vice president of sales for Z Supply, which features designs that “reflect the belief that simplicity, comfort and style should coexist in every closet,” according to the company’s website, said the clothier has thrived after early pandemic struggles thanks to newfound fashion tastes.

“We’ve always been a casual, comfortable sportswear company,” Sanchez said. “Pre-pandemic, there was always a trend toward that type of dress. But when the pandemic came and everybody was at home, it accelerated even more.”

Contact Dylan Svoboda at [email protected] Follow @dylanksvoboda on Twitter.

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