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Guest Editor: Bringing MAGIC to Wholesale Fashion

Kelly Helfman, president, fashion, Informa Markets, shares how MAGIC remains cutting-edge year after year.

License Global

February 9, 2023

4 Min Read
Kelly Helfman, president, fashion, Informa Markets
Kelly Helfman, president, fashionInforma Markets

At a Glance

  • MAGIC continues its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • How sourcing at MAGIC is combating sustainability.
  • How MAGIC creating more resources for its community, both in-person and online.

Fun fact: MAGIC started in 1934 as the Men’s Apparel Guild in California and is heading into its 89th edition. MAGIC is a force. Its energy powers the wholesale fashion industry by driving creativity and commerce. It is where brands go to get discovered and where retail buyers go to find products to sell to their consumers. It’s the perfect fusion of fashion, commerce and fun.

In 2006, when I started as a customer service representative, my first impression was that this show was larger than life. I was in absolute awe of the business and knew this was where I wanted my career path to take me. In my 17 years with MAGIC, I have gone from a CSR to president of fashion at Informa Markets. Over the years, the show has changed to meet industry and consumer needs, and MAGIC always rises to the occasion by evolving our offers and experiences.

This year will be one of transformation for MAGIC. It will be a pivotal time when our focus is on inclusivity, sustainability and community. Today’s consumers seek more transparency and make more conscious buying choices. As a leader in the fashion industry, we support these values and want to lead by example. Through our initiatives, we aim to set the stage to drive the fashion industry in this forward direction.

MAGIC 2022

Inclusivity

MAGIC continues its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by expanding our Informa Markets Fashion For Change (IMFC) program into MAGIC Las Vegas. The program launched in 2020 as an ongoing initiative to foster allyship and equality in the fashion com-munity through programs that support and elevate minority-owned, women-owned and LGBTQIA+-owned fashion brands across all gender lines.

We always want to ensure that we are all-inclusive regarding shape, size, gender and abilities. Last year, we introduced the gender-fluid category to our PROJECT show; the February edition of MAGIC Las Vegas will feature actor, Billy Porter, a trailblazer in the gender-fluid fashion space. In that same spirit, we will host a panel discussion, “Fashion For All: Expanding the Definition of Inclusivity,” to open the conversation on adaptive clothing for those with different abilities.

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MAGIC 2022

Sustainability

This is the path forward; it cannot be just a buzzword. Sourcing at MAGIC is combatting this global issue by investing in a verification process to ensure that if an exhibitor on our show floor says it is verified sustain-able, we can back that up with actual data. Sourcing at MAGIC will also showcase emerging fashion technology to create a more environmentally conscious supply chain. This year we will feature and give back to non-profit organizations dedicated to impacting the regions where we live and work.

Community

MAGIC attendees and exhibitors are our lifeblood; we want to be a trusted industry source for them. This year, we are creating more resources for our customers, both in-person and online. Continuing to expand on MAGIC’s on-site education sessions and panels addressing topics relevant to the fashion industry, we recently launched our virtual fashion trend and technology series, which includes insight reports, trend kits and virtual seminars with industry experts. Finally, we will continue to support young fashion students by participating in scholarship programs across the country.

Many come to MAGIC to do business, but they also come for the dynamic experiences and opportunities on and off the show floor. We strive to provide the space and atmosphere where attendees and exhibitors to build meaningful relationships.

At MAGIC, there is always an A-list lineup of panels, networking mixers, happy hours, booth awards and so much more. Past performers include world-renowned rappers, Salt-N-Pepa, in February 2022 and fashion icon, Katy Perry, gave the keynote in August. The MAGIC stage will surely be a blast this year.

What truly makes MAGIC special is the people, my team, my peers, our customers, our buyers and our partners. You can feel the love for our industry; it’s contagious. We are a part of many brands’ success stories, which is beyond rewarding. MAGIC is the force that connects this market and makes changes that will inspire the whole fashion industry.

This article was taken from February's issue of License Global, which you can read in full here.

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About the Author(s)

License Global

License Global is the leading news source for the brand licensing industry, delivering award-winning editorial content including news, trends, analysis, and special reports about the global consumer product and retail marketplace.

Through its print edition, website, daily e-newsletter and event publications, License Global reaches more than 150,000 executives and professionals in all major markets. The magazine also serves as the official publication for the sector’s trade events, which include Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo Japan, Licensing Expo Shanghai and the Licensing Leadership Summit.

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