By  on October 16, 2008

Business expectations are strong for FashionCenterDallas’ spring market beginning Oct. 23 — and ironically, part of the optimism can be attributed to the travails of the national economy.

“We’re hearing that a lot of retailers did not go to New York due to the cost of travel, so they are looking to come here,” said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of the Dallas Market Center Co., which operates the wholesale fashion venue at the World Trade Center. “Our hotel bookings are up 10 percent. We are a huge travel bargain here, and that is a big selling point for us.”

In addition, Morris expects an unusually large number of international retailers to attend the Dallas show as a result of changing market strategies.

“We will have 85 buyers representing 62 specialty stores coming in from Central America, the Caribbean, Japan, Iceland, the Dominican Republic, Saudi Arabia and Mexico,” Morris said.

Another reason for optimism on the DMC event is the strength of the region’s economy, she noted.

“There is certainly an amount of caution, but we are sitting in the right place because we have done better than the rest of the country,” Morris said. “September was tough and Hurricane Ike didn’t help at all, but that region [particularly the Houston area] is coming back. We are hearing that business is rebounding there.”

The Dallas Fashion Awards will be a traditional highlight of the spring market, and this year “Mad Men” star January Jones will present the Fashion Excellence Award to Max Azria on behalf of the DMC. The award salutes the swift success of Hervé Léger by Max Azria, the French dress label that has won a celebrity clientele since Azria relaunched it last year.

The designer has had a long relationship with the DMC via his corporate showroom for BCBG, which claims a prime spot on the 15th floor of the World Trade Center.

The winners in the eight DFA product categories awards will be revealed at the black tie gala on Oct. 25, and a Personal Style award will be presented to local editor Gianna Madrini, style editor and executive producer of Global Fashion News, a production company.

FashionCenterDallas at the DMC showcases more than 14,000 lines in 550 permanent showrooms and two temporary venues.

The October Dallas show also marks the kickoff of a new prom and pageant area covering 18,000 square feet on the 14th floor, where House of Wu, Alyce Designs, P.C. Mary’s and Casablanca Bridal have taken corporate showrooms. Vendors in a contiguous temporary venue include Eden Bridals, Sharon Boikess with Morilee, John Amato with Maggie Sottero and Jordan Bridal.

In addition, several contemporary sportswear, loungewear, accessory and lingerie labels will be introduced to market at the new showroom of Deyanira & Rafael Espinal showroom in room 15016, including Maristella Citella dresses and tops and Fleur’t Lingerie from Brazil.

Additional new showrooms include Mavi Jeans in 15002-A; Pink Lotus & Green Dragon in 15058, and Rob Koenig in 15802.

Labels new to the market include jewelry by Just Cavalli and Nicole Miller at Moore Collections, and junior contemporary sportswear labels Black Velvet, Golden State and Yumi/Uttam London at Leon & Associates.

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