Scaling Retail on the Go: NYFW and MAGIC Las Vegas

Are you up to speed with everything that was new at NYFW and MAGIC?

Once again, industry duties have sent me and members of our team on the road. Our most recent stops? Vegas and New York, of course!


The really cool thing about NYFW is that it almost feels like Fashion Week takes over the entire city. There are so many events and it almost feels as if the whole city is for fashion people. Pop-ups, previews, presentations and runway shows were held in a variety of locations but were very focused Downtown as opposed to places like Lincoln Center and Bryant Park in the past. It would’ve been great if they gave away playground maps of Lower Manhattan, highlighting all of the places with New York Fashion Week action and details of what’s happening – because it really felt like one big playground!

NYFW is maintaining an unusual balance of exclusivity and inclusivity. You need a formal ticket to attend a show that is scanned (this started a few years ago) but then all of the action is shared in real-time with the world through technology including Snapchat and Instagram Live. It’s an exclusive, inclusive situation. For example, I was live streaming the BCBG show and it’s weird when you think about it. I had to stop and wonder if I was experiencing the collection through the lens or outside of it!

Gorgeous crystal displays at NYFW

Tech has definitely changed the week in a lot of ways. I feel like so many designers opted for presentations instead of the traditional 5 minute runway show because they’re designed to maximize the Instagram-ability of it all. A fashion show is over in minutes but a presentation could stretch on for an hour or even more, giving it many more opportunities to be shared.

BCBG Presentation at NYFW

The two biggest trends at New York Fashion Week were super experiential presentations/shows and incorporating that element that will get people talking about them (whether through casting, strategic collaborations or anything else).

MAGIC Las Vegas

Syama at MAGIC Las Vegas 2018

I saw tons of buyers from around the globe at MAGIC Las Vegas. I’ve never seen anything like it. I talked to the people who listened to my presentations, and they were from places as wide-ranging as Nigeria and Brazil. It was exciting!

I love MAGIC’s new methods. The show has become a lot more organized and they’re doing a lot to keep buyers coming back for more, especially via curating attending brands and offering high quality programming. Now the shows are curated similarly to how buyers buy like Conscious Collections for sustainability-focused brands and Oasis for emerging and/or otherwise standout brands. This a huge help for buyers so they don’t need to tackle every area and every booth.

The number of international buyers wasn’t the only surprise at my presentations. My audiences were filled with retailers too. People from big names like The Doneger Group and Macy’s were there sitting in on talks to find out what’s happening with the future of the industry. They came out to engage and that’s really fascinating. It’s no longer only the new brands listening in. MAGIC Las Vegas’ programming was a lot more focused on the strategic and the tactical and outlining next steps of action to take, whereas the programming at Assembly (an initiative by Liberty, Agenda and Capsule) was a lot more aspirational which makes sense. They feature younger streetwear brands – streetwear, luxe athleisure, advanced contemporary, contemporary – so they’re thinking about what’s on the forefront and they’ve very youth-oriented. This resulted in seeing creative directors and designers on stage (Jaden Smith, Ronnie Fieg, Jeff Staple) and sort of putting them on a pedestal as they talked about what’s happening in the market and inspired audiences.

Something else that stood out what the number of brands from Kickstarter and Indiegogo showing at POOLTRADESHOW which typically shows younger tech brands. Shop Fun Club is one and I’m obsessed with their edgy designs. Their message is fun and on point and they created an atmosphere to match it with donuts, hard lemonade and painting sessions.

Now I’m excited to see what happens in the summer, to see if it kind of keeps up the momentum or if market was booming this season because Fall/Winter is usually a bigger buy.

What’s next? Arianna is near the end of her trip to New York, then she and I are heading to Paris for market.


Stay tuned…