Posted: Apr 20 2017
MAGIC in Las Vegas is one of the largest apparel trade shows in the world. In late February, I zipped off to this glamorous fashion destination sans kids and felt the biggest rush in recent memory. MAGIC is truly magical--It's where all the beautiful people convene to show, sell, and buy the latest and upcoming trends and styles. The lights are bright, the colors are vibrant, the smiles are big, and the champagne is flowing. If you studied fashion and now work in the industry, MAGIC cements your experience in one, big buzzy aha! moment.
This was my first trip to visit MAGIC by myself and my first trip in 5 years to attend while NOT pregnant, so it was extra fun. I did attempt to drag several different friends with me for a girls' getaway, but nothing panned out, so I found myself in the unprecedented position of actually focusing on work the entire time.
As I've slowly rebuilt Ember's --now EMBER & AURA's image and brand over the past 6 months, I've also narrowed my shopping field by, oh, about 99%. I'm only interested in shopping American brands that are producing goods in small batches in the US. If I am not buying American made, then it will at the very least be sustainable/and or organic goods. Everything I buy now is "ethically sourced" a phrase that is trending upward, yet probably still giving readers and shoppers a less than clear picture of what it means. My definition of ethically sourced is this: Any product that is made with the highest of intention and whose creation benefits all involved in its production.
In a show as enormous as MAGIC and its surrounding niche shows (such as Sourcing, a behemoth of a market showcasing hundreds of apparel factories, private label specialists, and fabric designers) my selection was woefully small yet it is growing. In addition to visiting and placing orders with vendors and new companies, I also attended many incredible seminars that were available to educate and assist me in my re-branding. These extremely valuable talks were led by juggernauts in the industry: Google, Pantone, and more. One of the most essential lectures I sat in on was presented by the director of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and made me feel like I was back in school again, only this time the message was much more motivating and inspiring.
As my experience grows, my vision widens to include all aspects of responsible apparel production. Even though our options are slim and US factories only comprise a tiny fraction of the floors that took me hours to traverse, our ethical marketplace is slowly gaining momentum and attention. EMBER & AURA is on the forefront in this scene of retailers who are swimming upstream and acknowledging the impact of the fashion industry on a global scale. When I return to MAGIC in August I hope to find this trend is continuing to grow and gain traction. That and room service and uninterrupted sleep.