By  on February 24, 2010

The Moda show at the Venetian featured about 200 designer brands in bridge to designer categories such as special occasion and eveningwear, activewear, outerwear and suits.

Exhibitors and retailers said a more positive outlook was helping boost business, if only slightly, as price sensitivity remained paramount.

“For me, this is the right time to build a business, because I’m learning from the last couple of years, and vendors are much more reasonable with new businesses now,” said Laurie Wright, who was shopping for her soon-to-open Orange County, Calif., boutique, One to One. “I really like that a lot of people don’t have minimums. It’s something that will help everyone get back on their feet and develop long-term relationships, because if a brand sells, you will come back and buy more. Nobody has the cash flow right now to buy in great quantity.”

The juried show, produced by Business Journals Inc. and launched in the New York market in 2002, made its debut in Las Vegas in August 2007 alongside sister exhibition AccessoriesTheShow. It provides a mix of better, bridge and designer merchandise ranging from the elegant to activewear. This year’s Moda exhibitors included Kyela Clothing, Il’Mio, Sue Wong, Tadashi Shoji and XO.

Vendors were mindful of retailer expectations and concerns coming off the economic downturn, and said they tailored their offerings accordingly. Designers at Moda said they sought to add freshness to their collections, from fabrics and embellishments to cut and color.

“Right now, what’s selling are single and novelty items and pieces in new fabrics,” said Kyela designer Christine Albers, whose line is carried in stores such as George Cibaud in Beverly Hills and Melrose Alley in Los Angeles.

All of Albers’ pieces wholesale for less than $100, which makes the line appealing to buyers for specialty boutiques. “You do need to have enough to accommodate the demand,” Albers said. “People are still very price sensitive, but if the design is novel and materials and construction are high quality, then the consumer recognizes value.”

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