Just prior to the start of the fall 2014 semester, SoHE Retail students had a week of experiential learning which energized them about their chosen career and motivated them to begin a new academic year. Students attended the largest retail industry tradeshow for fashion products, shadowed buyers, met with vendors, attended trend seminars and toured a dynamic rising retailers headquarters. Some of the Kohl’s Center for Retailing partners such as Kohl’s and Macy’s augmented the students experience.
The week was kicked off with a guided tour at Macy’s Fashion Show Mall Men’s store. Students learned how Macy’s buyers & planners take what they see at a tradeshow and invest to build assortments by store. They also learned how Macy’s focuses on unique customer profiles to make decisions on space and flow of merchandise for each store location.
The next few days were a whirlwind of attending the tradeshows, starting with MAGIC Marketweek. MAGIC Marketweek is the preeminent trade event in the international fashion industry, hosting global buyers and sellers of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, footwear, accessories and sourcing resources. The tradeshow converges twice a year in Las Vegas for one of the most influential business events in the fashion industry. As an incubator of fashion, MAGIC is where new trends surface and develop into what will be seen on the consumer. The show’s goal is to connect and inspire the fashion community. The various tradeshows under the MAGIC umbrella occupies exhibit space in both the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Mandalay Convention Center. Students also attended trade shows targeting retailers marketing to early adopters at the Sands Expo such as Liberty, Capsule, Agenda and more.
Under the guidance of SoHE faculty associate, Dr. Nancy Murray, the students experienced the behind-the-scenes business of buyers and vendors in the fashion marketing industry. Students met with merchandising and marketing experts learning about the vendor side of the business. The students also shadowed retail buyers and planners at vendor meetings while witnessing first-hand the many facets of their jobs.
Trend Forecasting was at its best at the tradeshow as the students saw the new products that vendors were offering for upcoming seasons. Students participated in trend seminars hosted by industry trend experts at Fashion Snoops forecasting Fall/Winter 2015 and Doneger Group. After the iconic David Wolfe of Doneger group presented: ”Spring/Summer 2015 Big Picture“ students were honored to have a private Q & A session. Students also had a private seminar with the Macy’s Fashion Director learning more about the trend forecasting process.
After the trade shows concluded, students opted to stay an extra day in Las Vegas to gain a unique additional experiential learning opportunity to shadow the buyer’s of Zappo’s at their corporate offices.
The week was not all work without any play. Even though the students were exhausted from the long days, they still enjoyed getting together for group dinners to discuss their learnings and key take aways from the day with one another. Lastly, the students were “thrilled” to attend the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson One show.
Through this experience, the students gained a deeper understanding of the vastness of the behind the scenes of retail marketing and the many different career opportunities associated in this exciting and ever changing industry.