As Magic, Project and Sourcing at Magic Las Vegas close for this season, we connected with Informa Markets' female leaders on success, expected fashion trends as well as personal growth and involvement as women in leadership roles. Vice president of Men's and of International & Business Development Edwina Kulego gave us more insight on aforementioned topics.
Q: For our readers who could not attend this year, what would you say are the major takeaways from this season's show?
A: This season's show is truly an event...commerce is obviously what people come for but we put an event together that our attendees really enjoyed. The brands come and set up their booths to show what they have to buyers but we also brought in education. We have a sponsorship with the NFL and great panels on sustainability and fashion—[some focused on] how athletics drive fashion.
Q: What trends are you noticing at this year’s show?
A: I think [as] a result of the pandemic we have all been at home and it's been a very tiresome and challenging past couple years. The brands want to express themselves more—more color and patterns on both men’s and women’s. On the men's side we are still seeing tailored items and suiting but in a more casual and comfortable way that is less structured and with more vibrant fabrications.
Q: Any unexpected trends that you predict?
A: I will say from a retail perspective buyers are mixing categories and price points more than ever—the high-low effect. Years ago a retailer would focus only on Project Women's which is more high-end. Now they are able to shop Project and Magic Women's [for example].
The lifestyle trend is still alive and very well. We incorporated beauty, accessories and footwear because retailers are making it more of a lifestyle with how they [setup] their stores and how they merchandise their stores.
Q: Can you share which trends we might see less of that are most likely on their way out?
A: We are seeing more comfortable and functional fashion and a lot of sneakers on men's and women's side. Comfort is very important as it pertains to fashion and people are more aware of comfort and [utility].
Q: Can you tell me more about how Informa Markets and corresponding fashion events have made sustainability advancements?
A: We launched our first sustainable mission project this season, Ad Infinitum, which means ever evolving. We are tapping into circularity. We wanted to showcase the brands that are more responsible in the [Ad Infinitum] space [so we selected] 10 brands that have taken efforts to be more responsible and sustainable.
[For example] we had a brand make shoes from apple skins or pineapple husks—plant-based—or brands that cut back on plastic use. When you first walked into the show we had a huge green house with vintage furniture to inspire people to do better and to educate on how to cut waste. [Within] Informa Markets we are cutting out carbon footprint like travel, cutting back on single-use plastics and using more environmentally friendly carpet.
Q: We noticed inclusivity regarding hiring is very important to you as you mention it in most media coverage. What efforts are in place to hire diverse talent as well as highlight designers and manufacturers inclusively?
A: Diversity, I live and breathe it; it's imperative. We can all strive for a more diverse industry and world. From an internal stand point Informa Markets fashion is evolving in our team members.
IMFC (Informa Markets for Change) is our initiative to incorporate black-owned brands. Some [brands we place] at Magic and some at Project Men's and Women's. We are giving these brands a complimentary space in the show with great visibility for retailers.
We want to highlight groups that may not have the access that others may have. Even the content teams we outsource, DJs we hire, we had T-Pain for entertainment this year...we look at many different ways internally and externally to incorporate diversity. The community is growing at our events [which also diversifies] our collateral.
Q: What does your day to day look like as Vice President of Men's and International & Business Development?
A: It's a combination of work from home, virtual calls, a lot of time on the road and speaking on panels as well. We spend less time in the office and many of us work from home. Leading up to the show we are on a lot of calls with internal teams and potential clients.
Now that things are opening up more, I am spending more time in the market whether that be at award shows, product launches or other events to inform myself more of what is happening in the market in regards to diversity and sustainability. I travel with my team to visit international trade shows as well. At tradeshows I run around doing interviews, introducing panelists and shaking hands with clients.
I am learning to lean more on my team. When I get overwhelmed or things pile up, it gives me the opportunity to delegate and give others an opportunity to shine. I started 12 years ago as an intern...to be running the company and the organization is a real dream come true.