The latest biannual round of the Las Vegas trade shows concluded on Wednesday in an overall condition that doctors would probably characterize as “stable.” In general, exhibitors said they did good business during the shows’ three-day run though few reported spectacular or record-breaking sales. Likewise, aside from the denim-look jogger pant and round two of retro Hawaiian/resort looks, there were few groundbreaking or buzz-worthy trends on display. In fact, one observer described the general mood as such: “Healthy, but I have a sense that everybody is kind of waiting for the next big thing.”

Foot traffic was steady, but never jam-packed at any of the events, except for Agenda, which had a pulsing, crowded, young and dynamic vibe on its first day. Agenda has clearly become the showcase for streetwear in Vegas and as a result, Project/MAGIC’s dedicated streetwear area MVMNT paled in comparison as a clear also-ran.

Max Dorian shoes at FN Platform
Max Dorian shoes at FN Platform
That said, MAGIC/Project producer Advanstar did get things right this season with both the Project show proper and the footwear show FN Platform. The former, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, was especially well organized and easy to navigate this time with areas devoted to premium denim, footwear and better men’s contemporary (The Tents @ Project).  At the latter, which is continuing to grow, footwear brands great and small made the scene which was conveniently separated into six merchandized lifestyle environments showing over 1,600 shoe brands: Black Diamond luxury collections, Cosmo women’s footwear, Bond men’s shoes, Camp men’s and women’s outdoor footwear, Zen style and comfort brands and Play with shoes for children.

Capsule also returned with a fresh new layout and seemed less cramped space-wise compared to prior editions.

In addition, the third edition of Liberty was a bona fide success. Producer Sam Ben-Avraham pretty much kept to a tried-and-true formula and brands there reported being very satisfied.

Here are specific highlights…

!Item denim at Liberty
!Item denim at Liberty
Overall Denim Mood in LV: The looks-like-denim-but-it’s-a-knit jogger was still the go-to men’s piece and shown by the likes of Rogue, !item and Silver. Vintage washed-out and destroyed looks were also popular at brands such as Paige.

Overall Business Mood in LV: Positive (albeit cautiously). Retailers took a hit earlier this year and are looking to boost things to make up for that. The boom of athleticwear a la Lululemon has clearly taken a bite into the denim market and jeans brands are trying to figure out how to compete.

Streetwear: It’s the most dynamic category at the moment, at least creatively. Athletic looks and humor remain key inspirations.

Best in Show: LA-based menswear line Matiere (French for the word “mater/material”), which showed at Liberty, was our favorite of any of brand in Sin City. Its offering features quality fabrics and a simple, clean aesthetic that is all about small details. A stunner!