Justin M. Bowen
Published Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010 | 2 a.m.
Updated Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010 | 8:10 a.m.
The Men's Apparel Guild in California Marketplace is where you walk into a vast convention space, face the inconceivably large supply of apparel and related clothing accessories, and resist shouting, "Who is in charge here!? I will offer you $200,000 for the entire floor! As is! Let's make this happen!"
The thousands of MAGIC Marketplace exhibitors haul their wares into Las Vegas twice annually. Looking for cufflinks? You have your choice from approximately one billion. There are more jeans manufacturers represented at the men's convention at Mandalay Bay than most retail stores have pairs of jeans. Which is to say, it's all here, many times over, and this afternoon I walked (as many others sashayed) through the MAGIC convention at Mandalay Bay. The three-day show wraps Thursday.
I was joined today by some of the more than 70,000 attendees to this year's show, which has been expended to include WWD Magic, the women's retail convention, at Las Vegas Convention Center.
Some of the more intriguing, and even Vegas-centric, items uncovered:
• A pair of genuine blue suede shoes, or rather boots, by Donald J. Pliner. These retail for $400. Eighty percent of Pliner's sales are targeted to women, yes, and most of them are likely fans of "Sex and The City." But Donald J., who has a store at the Forum Shops at Caesars, is zeroing in on men. Also from Pliner: Hand-crafted, Indian-beaded slip-ons that run $475. They are so artistically fashioned you almost don't want to put them on. So I didn't.
• "Sneakbars" by the L.A. fashion-graphic design company 7 Wicked Virtues. these are similar to the flashy grills worn by those in the hip-hop culture, described as a way to "bling-ify" your sneakers. They run $50-$70. The approach from 7 Wicked Virtues, which is chiefly a T-shirt company is to tailor all of gear after the Seven Deadly Sins, with a new T-shirt released to correspond with a particular sin. So there's a Sloth month, a Greed month, like that. I like the Envy, myself. Big "ENVY" message would look fit well here, followed by Greed.
• Yankees caps for sale at Frank's Chop Shop. This is a business located in Manhattan's lower east side that sells caps and offers a traditional shave and haircut while the customer sits in a 1930s barber chair. Today, the man providing the trim at the Frank's Chop Shop space was "Mook" from Head Hunterz Barber Shop off Eastern and Wigwam in Henderson. The man in the chair was "Main Flow," a rap artist performing tonight at Beauty Bar. Small world amid the thousands of exhibitors at MAGIC, eh?
• "Swarovski-fied" neckties by Steven Land. The Lake Worth, Fla., company's inventory features ties inlaid with Swarovski "elements," and they are quite glittery. Wear them to Red Rock Resort, home of one million actual Swarovski crystals in its chandeliers. The ties run from $100 to $300, retail.
• A cotton suit from Klotho of Los Angeles that seems made of something other than cotton. This shimmering, silver suit really gleams in a way that makes it seem improbably it would be woven from 100 percent cotton. But as it was explained by a company rep, it is indeed all cotton, even as the exact same suit a year ago was made from a blend of silk and polyester. It was time to try a different fabric because, well, everyone is making suits of silk and polyester this year. It goes for $500.
• A red, partially see-through, short-sleeved silk shirt from Crème de Silk. Company CEO Joon Hong Cho tole me he visited Las Vegas in 1980 when Nieman Marcus opened here. He has a copy of the Las Vegas Sun story with him photographed framed in his office, even. The shirt is a bit odd, as you can see through vertical segments where the fabric is cut open, as if you've survived a Blade of Death in a low-budget magic show. This shirt must have a breezy feel, and would be good to wear downstairs at rumjungle. Crème de Silk also is putting out denim suits that remind, sort of, of Sgt. Pepper costumes. Distinctive, and only $300.
• Purple Stacy Adams socks. They also come in red, puce, mauve, sea-foam green (I think) ... every color in nature and even a few you won't find anywhere but in a Stacy Adams outlet. They go for between $5.50-$6.50 and they look really comfy.
• A sea of affordable cufflinks! Fratello sells all assortment of designs for between $14 and $19, so if you are a collector or even hoarder, it's a fair sum. Note: As Sun photographer Justin Bowen and I were peering in at the accessories, a company rep asked us to back away a few feet for photos. Why? Because to shoot too close a detail photo would be to possibly give away design secrets to the competition. Man, this cufflink industry is cut-throat.
• Vista International walking canes. Stylish, with handles designed like golf clubs (a pitching wedge, specifically), dolphins and the head of a duck. They run $45-$75, and would look really snazzy with a $500 cotton suit.
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