By  on May 20, 2013

DALLAS — If you want to be a successful designer, work in lightweight fabrics and add some color to your collection.

That was the primary advice of Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing to four designers in the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Fashion Incubator, who were flown here last week by sponsor W Hotels to meet retailers, customers and media.

“Truly, fabric weight has become the deciding factor of what makes clothes desirable to a customer,” Downing told WWD just before a luncheon runway show at the W featuring looks by Ari Dein, Jonathan Simkhai, Reece Hudson and Timo Weiland. “It’s not cold anywhere.”

Besides hosting the luncheon for 45 people, W Hotels escorted the designers to meet executives at Neiman’s, Forty Five Ten and Stanley Korshak and threw a cocktail party at Altitude, the hotel’s 30th floor event space with panoramic skyline views. The hotelier sponsored a similar trip to Atlanta in November and is shepherding another to Los Angeles in October, explained Brooke Travis, director of brand management at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which owns W Hotels.

“The customer is global,” noted Travis. “We want them to see there is retail life outside New York City.”

Jonathan Simkhai was surprised to see Dallas style wasn’t conservative.

“They want to be unique,” he said. “It seems like they’re taking more risks here.”

“It gives you confidence to add color,” noted Reece Solomon, designer of Reece Hudson leather handbags and clutches.

Timo Weiland said meeting with Downing and Forty Five Ten proprietor Brian Bolke was invaluable. “They both said you need to see the customer and different places other than New York,” he noted.

“This is fantastic,” said luncheon guest Rose Clark, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of Stanley Korshak. “As an industry, we need to support the next generation.”

Fashion consultant Roopal Patel, who mentors the designers, introduced the show, which each designer narrated in turn.

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