|Trend Alert: MAGIC Gets Color Coordinated For Spring
A bombardment of day-glo brights, neons and every possible brilliant shade ensured one clear message at the MAGIC show in Las Vegas: color in apparel is here to stay. “If you’ve done a lot of color, don’t stop whatever you do. It’s just getting started,” said David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group and one of the premier fashion trendwatchers. Wolfe remarked he hadn’t seen such a massive color influx since the ’60s, “and that took a decade before it went away,” he noted.
Apparel-makers at the MAGIC and Project shows, which ran from Monday, August 20 through Thursday, August 23, have heard the message loud and clear – with an emphasis on the loud. Youthful women’s brand Blu Pepper featured unusual spring fare like mesh sweaters in neon yellow and similar blinding colors. Leading fashion line Alternative Apparel (asi/34850) has dived headfirst into color with its Spring ’13 collection, featuring tanks, maxi dresses and men’s tees in shades like tango orange and cabo blue. “We just felt like something was missing,” says Erica Fullington, product specialist supervisor for Alternative Apparel, regarding the decision to blow out its color options for the season.
Of course, MAGIC is more than just product. It deals with the business of fashion, of which sourcing was a prime concern at the show. The show latched onto the strong domestic sentiment by showcasing many Made In USA brands, as well as hosting a seminar that featured opening remarks by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and major players like Brooks Brothers and New Balance. Rob DeMartini, president and CEO of New Balance, cited an in-house survey that found 69% of Americans would be willing to pay extra for Made in USA goods. “I know their heart’s there,” said DeMartini, whose company produces a quarter of its shoes domestically in Maine. “If we make [products] good enough at a fair enough price, they will buy them.”
Also announced was Tradegood, a B2B sourcing community that aims to connect buyers with trusted suppliers in over 100 countries. Designed for apparel and hard goods, among other categories, Tradegood plans to verify suppliers on 50 separate criteria. The goal is to eliminate the headaches and uncertainties that come with dealing with unknown factories, particularly in foreign countries like China. “We see ourselves as a game changer in the B2B sourcing platform,” said William Quilindo, president of Tradegood.
There were several intriguing innovations at the show. Triple C Designs featured the bluGenius, a modestly-sized but powerful Bluetooth-enabled speaker that works up to 30 feet; its detachable magnetic backing means it can be attached to any piece of clothing. The Sprout is an eco watch made of biodegradable ingredients like corn resin, cork, mother of pearl and more. And the Runnur is an innovative lightweight personal pack that’s worn across the chest, mimicking the functionality of a fanny pack with a sleek, streamlined look. Runnur creator and CEO Andrew Hamra invented it out of necessity when he had a bad back and couldn’t carry his wallet in his back pocket. “I thought there’s got to be something more comfortable. I didn’t want to wear a fanny pack, and a messenger bag was too much,” says Hamra, who has offered branded versions at South by Southwest and various conventions. “This was more aesthetically pleasing.”