Sunday, August 29, 2010

Classic Coup at Magic


Last week Classic Coup went to Magic, the largest fashion trade event in the world.  Held in Vegas where old and new converge,  classics like the Rat Pack and The Mirage meet Billionaire Mafia and XS.  It was  an appropriate place for our brand.  Our name is an oxymoron and a reminder that great books never go out of style.   While their themes are timeless, their writers, now revered, were once nonconformists....downright subversive.  Dickens, Hardy, Lee, Conrad, Chopin, Steinbeck, Twain, Bradbury, Huxley, Orwell are just a few who rallied readers against social injustice and oppression.  They were visionaries.  Cutting edge.

My quest was to take Classic Coup to the next level. We’d had a good first year, but I still had questions about the fashion industry as the medium for our message: Lit is Life.  Classic books stir critical thinking  and compassionate living, conversations that lead to understanding and action.  And simply put, my colleague teaching in Quito, Ecuador needs books for her children.  So this teacher headed to Vegas to be a good student... believing that knowledge is power.   On the advice of two friends in the biz, my designer and a buyer, I followed the yellow brick road… from Nashville to Vegas… to consult the Wiz…the Big M. Flying home through Kansas (where else would my designer live outside of Oz?), I delivered the ruby slippers…jewels I’d discovered, and in Angela’s living room we expanded our plans. Mission accomplished.

And did I have fun.

Though a Vegas virgin and a Europe enthusiast, this Nashville girl underestimated how much I'd enjoy Vegas' energetic vibe.   Not since I’d driven into Paris the first time had I seen so many lights. And though I’ve never thought anywhere in the world compares to Venice, the massive Venetian comes close. Also towering above me were pro athletes checking out Spring 2011 collections. I was swept along in a rapper entourage when I bumped into (literally) Juelz Santana and Lloyd Bands at the Street show. Later that night they were the show at Billionaire’s Mafia’s after-party at Eve Nightclub.   At the Premium couture exhibits at the Vegas Convention Center I saw a sketch of Princess Grace's wedding dress for the first time and realized I'd married in a near replica.  Likewise, I especially loved the retro clothing and jewelry designs at the Pool Trade Show in Mandalay Bay--my market.

Business meant pleasure in finding a new company for our blanks… discovering the most feasible way to sell at Magic next year… savoring seminars on fashion forecasts, trade tips for new businesses, advanced social networking and building brands. Most importantly, I met nice people willing to help a girl out…like Jill of another newcomer tee company, ATX Mafia from Austin, Texas and Industry Guru and creator of Liza Deyrmenjian.

On our free limo ride that shuttled us from the city center to the bay, I shared what I’d learned with a pretty girl about my daughter’s age who came to Magic hoping to start her own line. It felt good to give back. As one who has always depended on the kindness of strangers (yes, we’re releasing our Streetcar Named Desire shirt this fall), I discovered a place to get the goods on spring and the rewards of goodwill hunting, never out of season.

Thanks to Anna for Great Advice
At Angela Muir's Home in Kansas City

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