Trends toward casual looks mean opportunity for resort and swimwear vendors, even during this typically slow time of year.
Several factors, including the trend toward increasingly casual clothing and a desire to live a resort "lifestyle" regardless of the season, have led to an increase in resort-oriented retail doors, but the weather and consumer buying patterns still affect how much buyers are willing to spend.
Retailers, as always, have newness and added value on their shopping lists, and WWDMAGIC vendors, faced with many challenges, including a tidal wave of offshore companies and goods and mass retailers with private label merchandise, are adapting to meet these demands. Add to the mix shorter buying seasons, the changing merchandise mix in resort stores and on department store floors and the pressure to keep up with increasingly competitive and fashion-forward mass retailers, and WWDMAGIC swim and resort vendors have a lot to juggle.
The February edition of WWDMAGIC is always a smaller show for this category, as most of the resort season buying is done during the August show and other trade shows over the summer. Still, February is a time for retailers to freshen their current merchandise, update or augment their summer offerings and get their first glimpses of fall looks.
Some WWDMAGIC vendors who have shown in August since the beginning, such as Los Angeles-based swimwear giant Apparel Ventures Inc., have realized there are additional sales opportunities to be had with existing accounts in February, while some businesses just getting off the ground, such as Colorado-based Tangerine Temple, see the February show as a way to build a client base.
"The fall MAGIC show is really more sportswear oriented and not as swim driven as a show like ASR, but a nice resort in Colorado, for example, that's only buying one contemporary swim collection like our LaBlanca line, will want to add some newness. That's an opportunity," said AVI's vice president of sales, Ron Russell.
Still other veteran exhibitors, such as the Ronnie and Ellyce Sales showroom in Los Angeles' California Market Center, see the show as yet another opportunity to find new accounts. "In order to exist in this business you have to have many [accounts]. If you depend on one or two or three, you're going to have a problem," said partner Ronnie Nathan. "February is a lot about new accounts for us." The showroom carries Jennifer Kay Inc. swimwear lines California Waves, Pink Sands and Endless Sun; the slimming bathing suit Shore Shapes; cover-up lines Bing Bang and Cover Me, and the flip-flop line Issara, among others.Vendors also bring a wide variety of seasons and merchandise to the show. Some feature their strongest current sellers to provide immediately, such as Sauvage's tropical-inspired bikinis. Others bring their newest offerings for summer or bow lines they've just added or designed. Issara is one example, having just been picked up by Ronnie and Ellyce Sales. Still others, such as Tustin, Calif.-based Weekend Traffic, which will exhibit five apparel lines at WWDMAGIC, bring the first samples of fall, such as garment dyed combinations of corduroy, velvet and knits from its Weekend Traffic and Line Two labels, and bouclé sportswear pieces from its Weekend Clothesline collection. But mostly, everyone brings a little bit of everything to make sure they've covered all the bases.
"The more traditional your business is, the earlier you show it, and we've been around for 25 years," said Diane Knight, design and sales coordinator for Weekend Traffic, which is owned by her brother, Kevin Knight. "But we have been finding a lot of stores looking for more immediate goods because they underbought for spring. I would think that's because people have been cautious and not booking as much and are [waiting to see] what's happening with the weather in resort areas."
But she noted that while the company has a strong business in Florida, it also does well in the Midwest, where its items cross over into the sportswear category rather than the traditional concept of "resort." "Some of our looks are more cruise ship, but some you can also wear to a casual office," she said. The company's goods, ranging from dressier separates to golf attire to pajamas, are priced from $17 to $45 wholesale.
Anticipating buyers' needs is key, but so is the bottom line, so Nathan said he and partner Ellyce Zolt "don't show everything. We only show things we know are going to make people money, guaranteed."
He said this streamlines the individual appointment time with retailers from three hours in August to one-and-a-half hours in February. The merchandise, which ranges from $5 to $35 wholesale, is priced to help retailers achieve solid margins.
He said about 50 percent of his February appointments are with existing accounts, who are mainly looking to refresh their stock, and the other half are with new accounts from whom he expects bigger orders. "In general, business is very tough," he said. "You have to have the right product that is going to retail and you have to make sure you aren't just selling — you have to understand the nature of the business and be there for people."Some vendors who sell accessories, an increasing staple in resort specialty shops, find themselves at a crossroads this year. Companies such as the eight-year-old Austin, Tex.-based Earth Axxessories, used to enjoy steady traffic when the resort section was located next to the accessories section on the WWDMAGIC show floor. But this show marks the second season that the accessories part of WWDMAGIC will be located in the Las Vegas Hilton, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Although there is plenty of business to be had from swim and resort specialty stores that are looking to increase their offerings with accessories, the sheer number of accessories-only buyers who will be buying only in the Hilton likely will eclipse that in the resort section.
"When the two were blended together, it was great," said Earth Axxessories' president Sunit Sikri. "But with those two categories separated, a TJ Maxx accessories buyer is not going to come to a separate hall to walk the resort section."
This could mean that eventually, accessories vendors could be forced to choose one category over another, but for now, resort vendors seem geared up to sell. "We've been going to this show for many years and we will continue to do so. We wouldn't come if we didn't get something out of it," said Nathan.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)