Z Life: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

Oh, Vegas. You never disappoint. In work, play, or a mix of both, you consistently bring it. And lady luck was on your side as well last week during MAGIC, the most comprehensive fashion marketplace in the U.S.; the equivalent of a royal flush for style lovers like moi.

MAGIC is a retail tradeshow held twice a year (February and August) in Las Vegas. The show is the place to be for retailers, buyers, manufacturers, designers and yours truly. What happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas in this case. I recently covered MAGIC to seek out the inspiring stories behind fashion brands you may be familiar with and those that you must hear about. MAGIC helps fuel the retail industry worldwide and showcases ‘communities’ for pretty much anything related to the fashion biz. From advanced contemporary luxury brands (yes, please!) to footwear for children, MAGIC was one of my most favorite experiences EVER. My 2016 Mediterranean vacay is a close second.

Stoked about my Z Life work assignment, I hit the Mandalay Bay Convention Center bright and early to properly explore the seven shows (think: departments) taking place at the resort. The Las Vegas Convention Center nearby housed six separate specialty communities including apparel manufacturing and children’s collections. One of my first stops was a men’s contemporary clothing company, Indian Motorcycle 1901. It’s apparel inspired by America’s first motorcycle company, Indian Motorcycles. Making its first major trade show debut at MAGIC, I fell in love with the story behind the clothing. Recognizing a recent resurgence in the motorcycle business in the past decade, the company created the fashion line as an extension of the unbridled spirit of freedom synonymous with motorcycling in America. The graphic tees I saw at MACIG were cool! Vintage with a patriotic edge. The company’s collection currently features tees, sweats, and hoodies, all made in the USA with plans for a women’s collection down the (motorcycling) road. Per the 1901 Apparel rep, MAGIC was a success— orders were strong. 1901 Apparel is currently sold in men’s specialty stores nationwide.

After eyeing the latest at WILDFOX (look for the brand’s signature sexy, relaxed sweatshirts and booty hugging sweats hitting stores this Fall), PAIGE denim, and For Love and Lemons (I am obsessed) booths, I stumbled upon MPG Sport. I’m just gonna come out and state it; the active lifestyle brand, Mondetta Performance Gear, was the best give-back brand story at the show I came across and here’s why: the parent company, Mondetta was founded by immigrant refugee brothers who at a young age settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The pair began selling T-shirts from a push cart at the beach, and soon grew their passion into a company known for its design and fashion forward styles. Mondetta, (French and Latin translating to ‘small world’) is the sports casual brand while MPG, according to a company rep, has been bringing it with the athleisure trend before it became a thing. Here’s where the brand story gets good: influenced by world affairs (nearly 25 years ago) and motivated by the company’s slogan “a spirit of unification,” the company founded the Mondetta Charity Foundation to give back to the country from which they fled, and beyond. Through its retail endeavors, the charity has provided meals and education for children in Uganda for ten years, among additional philanthropic outreach. With a mission to support communities and encourage international unity, Mondetta’s story is one of quintessential style and substance. It’s fashion and compassion that makes my retail loving heart beat proudly while donning their threads. Learn more about the foundation’s focus on education, health and nutrition, and gender equality here.

Making my way through the show, I found myself lingering longer in the PROJECT WOMENS community. This is where contemporary ready to wear (some lux) brands like Ted Baker and Lauren Moshi (love and LOVE!) were only a few aisles down from cool, casual brands I dig like Good hYOUman. Talking to the company’s founder, Brett Novek, was like chatting it up with the brother I never had. Brett founded the sports apparel brand known for its inspirational sayings in memory of his father approximately six years ago. The company’s mission is to create clothing and accessories that look and feel good and to also give back to community, share inspiring stories and create killer content. Just like this quippy graphic tee. It speaks volumes and is one of my all-time faves. Between Brett’s welcoming smile and clever designs, I am betting (Vegas influence) we’ll be seeing more goodness from the Good hYOUman crew in stores nationwide.

As for trends and styles lighting up the various communities at MAGIC, here is what the experts told me to expect for women’s fashion: flowery patterns, pale pinks, lots of graphics (tees), athleisure wear still reigns, and 90s/heritage resurgence is in. Move over 80s.

Seminars focusing on educating attendees on the latest industry news and resources to enhance business were a hit at MAGIC, while live model fashion presentations and celebrity guest appearances (Jenna Dewan Tatum, Celine Dion, Julianne Hough) went down on various days.

I loved hanging with my new friend, Marcus Troy at the show. Marcus is the creative brand master and head of The Blogger Project. Troy brought together well-known fashion bloggers to influence through social media. Check my interview with Marcus @InspiredMedia360’s INSTA on bridging the gap between digital media experts and brands. His creativity and vision for fashion and where it’s heading is deep.

As my time at MAGIC was wrapping up, I did not want it to end. I wanted to dive deeper into the Conscious Collection jewelry brands like, Dogeared and Gorjana. It was fun to see home grown brands, Lucky Star and Spiritual Gangster, represented in a big way. I loved connecting with passionate founders of small retail brands with large social do-good missions such as the lifestyle brand, Los Angeles Trading Co. The list goes on and on and it is spectacular.

MAGIC was well, magical. Creativity and inspiration doubling down all in the name of fashion and I’ll admit, there was some after-hours fun too. That part of my story? It’s definitely staying in Vegas, baby.