MAGIC Fashion and Apparel Trade Show: February 2006

Twice a year, Las Vegas plays host to The MAGIC Fashion and Apparel Trade show, a four-day extravaganza where designers and manufacturers present next season’s collections to buyers, retailers, and press. Established in 1933 in Palm Springs, MAGIC was originally dubbed the “Men’s Apparel Guild in California”, and has evolved over the years into a buyers’ market showcasing apparel for men, women, children, and everything in between. The convention was moved to Las Vegas in 1989, and now attracts over 100,000 people from all over the world.

For the week of February 21-24 2006, the Las Vegas Convention Center was transformed into a labyrinth of booths filled with the hottest Spring and Fall fashions, and AllHipHop.com Alternatives was on hand to take in the scene.

The certified place to be is the convention center’s South Hall, Hip-Hop’s MAGIC home. Fashion enterprises such Phat Farm and Rocawear share space with independent lines such as Chilly-O and BUTTA. It’s pretty common to bump into celebrities at the South Hall – Paul Wall showed off his icy grill at the Miskeen booth; Russell Simmons made sure the Phat Farm booth was running smoothly; while other stars like Blink 182’s Travis Barker, DJ Kid Capri and crooner Akon were milling about.

At Nelly’s Apple Bottoms booth, the curvaceous finalists for his Miss Apple Bottoms 2006 from Atlanta, Houston, Oklahoma City, Cleveland and other major cities enticed a large crowd. In addition to the walking Apple Bottoms displays, Nelly premiered his children’s line and teased us with plans for a lingerie and accessory line later this year.

Los Angeles-based Joker Brand Clothing had an undeniable presence with their custom turquoise low-rider as the focal point of their booth. Joker Brand C.E.O. and esteemed photographer Estevan Oriol (a.k.a. Mr. Scandalos) and famed tattoo artist Mr. Cartoon were on hand promoting the newest pieces of their popular streetwear line. They are celebrating 11 years of authentic Latin West Coast Hip-Hop flavor, inspired by the low riders, graffiti and skate crews of their upbringing. New hat designs, plaid shirts, and a women’s t-shirt line are on the horizon as Joker Brand expands.

Around the corner, the multi-talented artists Chico and Maverick of Philadelphia-based Miskeen Originals demonstrated their skills. The creative company outfits many major stars, including boxer Bernard Hopkins, Bun-B, Snoop Dogg, Tony Touch and Alicia Keys. Each Miskeen piece a unique work of art. Adding to their Hip-Hop flair, colorful designs with Egyptian and Asian flavors are in the works for Spring. “We always want to challenge the customer,” explains owner Yaniv Zaken. “It can look unique, it can look crazy, and that’s what we are doing – trying to keep it fresh and taking inspiration from different collections.”

Independent t-shirt designer Chilly-O also debuted some of his new Spring and Fall looks. He explained to AHHA what the brand has come to represent. “Chilly-O is mature street fashion. We’re going after the people who still remember Hip-Hop, people 21 to 35, people who want to clean it up and bring class back to the hood.” Though based in Atlanta, Chilly-O is taking his fresh tees with sayings like “Pay Attention Before It’s Too Late” or “True Legend City to City” to create a buzz in New York, New Jersey, the West Coast and Texas. He is also experimenting with pastels, earth tones, and bright colors for the spring to “bring back some happiness and some hope.”

Streetwear isn’t only for the fellas, as Dickie’s Girl unleashed its plans for the Spring and Fall. They are sticking to their tried and true formula of basic pants, shorts and t-shirts, but are using more French terry and velour, introducing more fashion-driven products into their collection. Six new collections will expand upon their existing zip-up dresses and mini-skirts, highlighting bright colors for the females.

Ecko Branded and Ecko Red flaunted their Fall footwear, meshing the popular metallic trend into their men’s and women’s lines. Men can look forward to a classic white sneaker with silver or gold stitching and lots of croc-style treatments and accents. They utilize four different types of leather and feature “rhino skin,” the material from the classic Jordan 3 sneaker, in white, red, black, or grey. Metallics also cross over into the women’s designs in high-top sneaks, grafittied flip-flops and mesh mary janes. Ecko Red is also expanding upon their popular high-heeled nubuck boots with big plans for camouflage styles in Fall 2006.

What good is a fly outfit without accessories? Baby Phat is taking care of the details with Kimora Lee Simmons’ new watch and jewelry line for Spring. Chains are “in” – whether it’s a chain link watch band, or a multipurpose chain with a watch charm that can be wrapped around the wrist, neck or even waist. The “Ice Kitty” is a best seller with Austrian crystal on both the bezel and the face. Baby Phat is introducing Asian themes into its watch designs with Chinese dragons and Japanese flowers. Robin K. of Simmons Jewelry Co. asserted, “It’s first about fashion, then about the time.”

For those with a fashion-conscience, BUTTA (Bringing U The Treasures of Africa) is the first and only urban apparel line to source all of their finished garments and accessories from Sub-Sahara Africa. The independent company from Inglewood, CA uses 100% organic cotton, hemp and bamboo for their collection of comfortable men’s and women’s loungewear, t-shirts, beaters and fleece hoodies. President and CEO, Dr. Bill Releford explained, “By manufacturing in Africa, we create jobs and give the world a glimpse of the Africa nobody knows. There is a world out there that is truly hidden from us.” Their products are manufactured in Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya among eight other African countries and help support the economies of our brothers and sisters across the Atlantic.

MAGIC is about working hard and playing hard – after all, it is Sin City, and the convention is infamous for its all-night party lifestyle. AllHipHop.com Alternatives met up with the Awesome 2, Special K and Teddy Ted, as they kicked off the week with a lush suite party at the Wynn Hotel, with Hypnotiq providing the spirits. In the Wynn’s luxurious Villa Suites, Andre Harrell, Young Jeezy, and Fabulous stopped by the exclusive showing of Origami’s Fall 2006 collection along with Harrell’s own line.

Rev. Run and Flavor Flav (sans Hoopz or New York) joined in the celebration with Phat Farm at the Hardwood Suite at the Palms Hotel. Meanwhile, at the other end of the strip, Oscar nominee Terrance Howard was on top of his spokesman duties as he introduced 310 Motoring’s latest footwear designs at the Wynn Hotel’s Lure lounge.

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