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Magic

By DANIEL TAUB Staff Reporter What is expected to be the largest apparel trade show ever held kicks off Aug. 31 in Las Vegas, marking a major milestone for the show’s producer, MAGIC International of Woodland Hills. MAGIC Marketplace, which runs through Sept. 3, will feature 3,500 apparel companies, 6,000 brand lines and 17,500 product lines, and is expected to attract more than 90,000 attendees many of them from L.A.’s apparel industry. Just four years ago, the show’s attendance was less than half that. “It’s pretty much the show in the industry,” said Jeff Shafer, president of BC Ethic Manufacturing Co. Inc., a Lincoln Heights-based maker of casual apparel for young men. “It’s critical. I don’t think you could really be in business without it.” Joe Loggia, president of MAGIC International, said the size of the show has grown steadily since MAGIC was converted from a not-for-profit to a for-profit business five years ago. “We’ve actively targeted and pursued growth,” Loggia said. “We’ve entered markets over the last four years we were not in before, mainly women’s and children’s (apparel). At the same time, we’ve increased our overall attendance.” MAGIC originally an acronym for Men’s Apparel Guild in California has broadened into an important show for women’s fashion designers as well, thanks to the growth of WWDMAGIC, a collaboration between MAGIC and Women’s Wear Daily, a trade publication for the women’s apparel industry. WWDMAGIC was launched in 1995 and runs concurrently with MAGIC. “I have developed a following that goes to the WWDMAGIC show, and it has become an absolutely must-attend show for me,” said Denny Rabineau, president and owner of downtown L.A.-based Average Joe Inc., which makes dresses under the Mica brand name. Many L.A.-based apparel companies as well as apparel companies from other parts of the country and around the world depend on MAGIC Marketplace to meet with buyers and make sales. Rabineau said his sales are “in the six figures” for each WWDMAGIC show he attends, and Shafer said between 30 percent and 50 percent of his total sales in any given season are attributable to MAGIC. Rabineau said he expects even greater results from this week’s show because, for the first time, WWDMAGIC will be held in the Sands Expo Center, separate from the main MAGIC Marketplace. That means the women’ s apparel part of the show likely will attract more serious buyers, as opposed to those merely passing through on the way to MAGIC, he said.

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