Brisk leasing and rising attendance are fueling an improved outlook at marts in Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago, despite headwinds that slowed spring sales for many retailers.
“The results that we’ve seen in the first half are pretty positive, so we are walking into August StyleMax feeling pretty good about everything,” said Susan Glick, vice president of Merchandise Mart Properties in Chicago, which produces the seasonal show. “We’ve expanded contemporary, premium denim and accessories, which seem to be the hot categories.”
Resources have swelled by at least 10 percent and span more than 100,000 square feet, she noted, and the show has been updated with fresh displays and events.
“Informal modeling during lunch is one of the more successful things we’ve ever done,” Glick said. “Buyers really like to see the merchandise up close. We also did a social media seminar and it went over very well, so we’ll continue with that. Social media is such an important part of what the retailer needs to do business.”
StyleMax’s next focal points for leasing are gifts in all categories, including fragrances, and marketing areas such as yoga, spa and activewear.
The Dallas Market Center is confident that Texas — the state with the fastest growth in jobs and population — will spur trade at FashionCenterDallas.
“With Texas consumer confidence up more than 9 percent since March, it’s natural that retailers in our state are feeling the rise and in turn, showing up ready to buy at market,” said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer. “We see no signs of commerce slowing down. Three of the nation’s five fastest-growing cities and seven of the top 15 are located in Texas.”
Buyer attendance rose in March, she said, and the Wednesday-to-Saturday market schedule launched in March is expected to draw retailers who prefer to be home on Sundays.
The DMC is rolling out a marketing campaign with the tag line “Dallas Market Center of It All” to play up the vast variety of products and commerce on its campus. Representing the first major update since 2007’s “You Can’t Miss Red” slogan, the update of signage and marketing materials displays a fresh palette of orange, green and gray augmenting existing red and white.
Fashion showrooms are 90 percent leased, she noted, and the Scene contemporary show and Strut shoe show consistently sell out. In addition, a bridal, prom and special occasion show introduced in March as “The One — It’s All About the Dress” returns in September for a four-day run, plus a preview day.
Keen to keep technologically up to date, the DMC will introduce registration badges with QR codes that retailers can use to retrieve leads to new products, she added.
The October lifting of the Wright Amendment, which prohibited Southwest Airlines flights between Dallas Love Field and non-contiguous states, will facilitate more visitors using the nearby airport, she noted. Love is only about five miles from the DMC. Matt Roth, chief executive officer of Fashion Industry Gallery, also expects a boost from Southwest’s addition of nonstop flights to 15 cities nationwide. The boutique venue specializes in contemporary and bridge labels.
“We think that will be a real positive,” Roth said. “It’s all about getting the buyers.”
Leasing demand has never been stronger, he noted, with the March show presenting the most exhibitors ever and buyer attendance jumping 23 percent. BCBG Max Azria and 10Eleven showroom both expanded in May, and Inge Christopher has leased a room.
“Our region is doing well and people want to be here,” he said.
Roth plans to celebrate FIG’s 10th anniversary at the October show by featuring a group of visiting designers and giving free valet parking to buyers. He is also working with Austin Fashion Week to produce Fashion X Dallas, a runway event featuring emerging and national designers slated for Nov. 6 to 8.
AmericasMart in Atlanta is also enjoying gains, including surges in special-occasion leasing and registration by newly opened stores.
“Based on the first half, it’s going to be a really, really good year,” said Lou Ann Thomas, director of marketing. “We have increased quite a bit on both attendance and exhibit space sales and leasing, so we’re ahead of the game right now and we’ve got our power three coming up — August, which includes prom, the bridal market in September, and October is one of our largest markets for spring.”
AmericasMart is adding three or four staffers to its retail services program.
“They are hunting for buyers who are new to market or have decided not to come for whatever reason, and we’ve got to convince them to come back,” she said.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye