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Viva Las Vegas

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Las Vegas for the MAGIC trade show! The MAGIC trade show features over 1 million square feet of space for vendors from all over the world. The convention was set up in the Las Vegas Convention Center and Mandalay Bay with booths featuring everything from apparel to footwear to sourcing. We were able to go to this event for three days! There was also plenty of time for touristy adventures. Here was my day by day in Las Vegas:

Day 1

This first day was all about travel. I arrived at Logan airport in Boston around late afternoon. There I met up with my group made up of a professor and four other students. It was terrifying to go through security because I haven’t flown in a long time and there were all new rules I didn’t remember and I didn’t want to mess anything up. We all made it through and had just enough time to all grab Wendy’s burgers, fries, and of course chocolate shakes before the flight. The flight to Detroit was extremely short and felt like nothing! The Detroit airport was amazing with a monorail inside and so many stores. Another student and I decided to grab some Subway to prepare for the long flight to Vegas ahead. As we boarded the flight we were so excited to see that we had access to TVs on the back of the seats… and then we got to my seat and realized my TV was broken. I settled in for what felt like the longest flight of my life.

The Las Vegas airport was equally as amazing as Detroit was! There were literally slot machines right as you stepped off your flight. I was so thankful once we found the taxis to take us to the hotel.  I was ready to unpack and go to bed. We arrived at our hotel, the Monte Carlo and it took us a while to get our room keys, but once we did we raced to the elevators to see where we would live for the next few days. My professor reserved me a room by myself since there were an odd number of students there. This room was on the 31st floor with the most amazing view! Completely wiped out, I unpacked and fell right asleep.

Day 2

Day 2 started off with us taking the shuttle to the Las Vegas Convention Center. We checked in to get our badges and then we were free to explore. Our badges said “student” so we would usually flip them around so the vendors would be more likely to acknowledge us. In the convention center we were able to see footwear, children’s apparel, and sourcing. In this location I was really interested in the footwear section since I work for DSW. It was really interesting to see the brands we carry and how each one set up their booths.The booths varied in size, from brands just starting out with little three sided cubes with their products displayed openly to gigantic booths that were mainly closed in and decorated on the outside with only one doorway to go through. Usually these bigger booths had more well-known brands and they would not let you in unless you had an appointment with them. We just used this time to walk around and get a feel for the convention. We ended the day with a talk about how Donald Trump being the president would affect the fashion industry and trade policies. This day was just extremely educational and gave us a glimpse at what the vendor to buyer relationship is like. For dinner we had some In and Out!

Day 3

For Day 3 our destination was Mandalay Bay. This convention housed all of the apparel including contemporary brands, swimwear, and intimate apparel. Everyone had gone off on their own that day so I had to figure out a plan for myself. Just when I was sitting down to come up with a plan I saw a poster with Julianne Hough’s face on it. I read the details and realized that she was arriving in just a half hour at her booth MPG who makes really cute althleisure wear. I decided to head over just to see if I could see her in person. When I got to the booth she was doing an interview about her brand and I did not expect her to do a meet and great; I was just happy to have seen her! Next thing I know the security guard is pointing at me telling other onlookers that the line to take photos with Julianne will start behind me. As soon as she finished her interview we were rushed in individually and one of the members of her team took our picture! It was such a quick meeting, but she seemed so nice and genuine. After that I just walked around trying to digest the fact that I had just met Julianne Hough.Later on I attended a seminar about costume designers working in film and TV! This was perfect for me because this is exactly the job that I would love! The mediator asked questions to the two women who had worked on projects like “Sister Sister” and “Atlanta” respectively. It was such an unforgettable experience to hear from these women who had been in the industry and are still working on projects today.That night I had the amazing privilege of seeing Cher perform! I think I was the youngest one at the concert. Cher was hilarious and still on the top of her game with her vocals, costume changes, and wig changes. The choreography was on point as were the visuals. In between songs, they played little video clips including ones featuring a young Cher with her family and ones from the 70s with Sonny and Cher. She performed all her classics like “Believe”, “Half-Breed”, “If I Could Turn Back Time”, and of course “I Got You Babe”. She performed this song while singing to a recording on a big screen while Sonny sang down to her from the video. It was such a touching moment.

Day 4

Our first stop on this day was the Zappos headquarters! Some readers may know why visiting this headquarters is so special, but I’ll explain. Zappos has a completely different company culture then your typical corporate environment. They do not have bosses and there is no “ladder” to climb. Each employee is encouraged to decorate their desk however they like with lights, banners, and personal items. Since no one has any bosses, employee reviews are conducted peer to peer. Coworkers are also encouraged to reward each other for good work with things like balloons and bears sent to their desks. When working with this company it comes with so many benefits like new mom rooms for new mothers to take time with their babies in privacy and a workout center with fun classes to take before and after work.After we toured this super fun place to work, we headed back to Mandalay Bay. My plan for the day was to feed the sea turtles at the shark reef aquarium, but once we looked up prices and saw the $80 price tag I knew it wouldn’t happen. Three of us decided to grab some lunch and then walk around the cash and carry section of the convention. In this part the vendors brought products for sale that the public could buy. It was mainly accessories like delicate necklaces and structured handbags. I didn’t end up buying anything, but it was nice to look at all of the handmade pieces. We left the convention center and headed down to The High Roller ferris wheel. This ride was so scary for me at first, but the views were so worth it.After that we grabbed some dinner at Hash House a Go Go where they are known for their “twisted farm food.” I had this huge blue crab cake sandwich with sweet potato fries and a rosemary sprig through the sandwich.

After being so full from the dinner all I wanted to do was pack up and lay down. And that’s exactly what I did.

Day 5

Waking up at 4:45 am is really not my thing, but I had to do it. I really didn’t feel good as soon as I woke up and I knew it was going to be a long day ahead. At the airport I stocked up on two smoothie bowls to get me through this flight. Luckily my TV was working this time, but I, along with almost everyone else on the flight, fell asleep right away. I managed to wake up with some time left so I ate a smoothie bowl and watched some Parks and Rec.

When we got to New Jersey I felt a little bit better, but I was happy to be almost home. The flight from New Jersey to Boston was just a quick 45 mins and then I was home! I was so excited to see my family and they were there waiting for me at the airport. Finally I could see my dogs and my friends back at school.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who has the chance to go!

Rachel Smith

Framingham '18

Former Co-Campus Correspondent; Graduated 2018; Fashion Merchandising Major with Communication Arts Minor; Dance Team, Fashion Club, Her Campus, and Peer Mentor
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