Interview/38" with box/mike1st/mark2nd

By DANIEL TAUB

Staff Reporter

Joe Loggia is the producer of MAGIC, the largest apparel trade show in the world. But the 39-year-old Loggia doesn't come from the world of fashion.

Before being hired by Woodland Hills-based MAGIC International, he was an accountant at Coopers & Lybrand, where he specialized in fraud and financial investigative services. Before that, he was an officer with the Culver City Police Department, during which time he studied accounting at USC.

Under Loggia's leadership, MAGIC (which originally stood for Men's Apparel Guild in California) has become so successful that in April it was purchased by Advanstar Communications Inc. for more than $200 million.

MAGIC Marketplace has become a "must attend" for many apparel companies. Some clothing manufacturers, in fact, derive more than half of their annual sales from MAGIC Marketplace. The most recent MAGIC Marketplace, held early last month in Las Vegas, featured 3,500 apparel companies and 6,000 brand lines, and attracted more than 90,000 attendees.

Question: How does a guy who's been a police officer and an accountant approach the apparel industry?

Answer: I believe that life's a progression. In police work, you get a tremendous amount of experience dealing with people. You also get a tremendous amount of experience in solving problems and looking at the big picture. In accounting you get a tremendous amount of experience looking and scrutinizing the details and a close-up view of how decisions at the senior levels fall out of the bottom line.

You put those together and it works pretty well for business, especially in a business like ours, which is basically a trade show company whose clients are in the apparel business. It would be no different than, when you're a CPA, you had to have an idea and an understanding of the industry in which your clients operate. Now this one's a little more in depth.

Q: You've gone from being an authority figure to being in a world with a lot of egos and creative personalities. Difficult transition?

A: Yes and no. If you were good at what you did in police work, you could convince people to do what you wanted them to do comply with the law. And when you were finished, they would think it was their idea, rather than taking the approach, "We're the police and you should just do it this way," because that doesn't really work anywhere.

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