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NEW YORK — Bright-colored handbags, fur scarves and initials on everything from coin purses to charm necklaces were among the items livening up last week’s accessories market.
This story first appeared in the May 12, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Colored accessories of all kinds have lured in shoppers this spring, and companies throughout the industry are looking to bold hues, especially red and pink, to help carry them through fall and holiday, as well. Buyers combing through last week’s market and the two industry trade shows, AccessoriesTheShow and Accessories Circuit, found plenty of other trend options from which to choose, including ribbons in handbags, belts and watches, as well as oversized and chandelier earrings and Art Deco-inspired jewelry, much of it with semiprecious stones.
Although last week’s market was billed as fall and holiday, a number of buyers were looking for summer offerings, in part because they have kept inventory extra lean in recent months.
“People are still asking for immediates, and in an economy like this, you bend over backward and do what you have to do to support your stores,” said designer Gerard Yosca, who showed a variety of chandelier earrings and statement jewelry.
Roy Kean, owner of showroom Accessories That Matter, said, “I’ve never brought so many summer goods to a May show.”
The mood was relatively upbeat at the shows, although a number of exhibitors lamented the fact that Accessories Circuit, held at Pier 94 here, ran Tuesday to Thursday, as opposed to starting on Sunday as it usually does. The dates of the Circuit were changed due to scheduling difficulties. However, the next edition will start on Sunday, Aug. 3, according to Elyse Kroll, president of ENK International, the show’s organizer. AccessoriesTheShow ended its three-day run at the Jacob K. Javits Center on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Sabine Barrett, owner of Gisele’s Unique Shop, an apparel and accessories store in Warren, N.J., was among those stocking up on merchandise for the warmer months at the Accessories Circuit. “We still don’t see business picking up just yet,” she noted. “However, we are buying a lot of chandelier earrings. More than anything, we see people buying accessories to wear with their old clothes, rather than buying new clothes.”
And while fur was shown in a number of booths, not all buyers were jumping into the trend.
“Fur is big here, but not in my town,” said Janice Durand, owner of Little Luxuries, an accessories boutique in Madison, Wis. “We are selling a lot of hair accessories at the moment. Based on this winter, I am stocking up on lots of hats and scarves for fall.”
A number of newcomers made their debut this market, including Jenki, a handbag firm based in Aledo, Tex., which showed handbags made of vintage magazine and newspaper collages. The bags, which are now at the Fragments showroom, carry wholesale price points between $40 and $175. The line is expected to notch up first-year sales of $500,000, said owner and designer Shelley Upchurch. Handbag designer Julie Haus-Alkire was another newcomer with her Julie Haus collection. The line of whimsical handbags includes items such as a pink suede totes and clutches, as well as tan leather bags with flower appliqués, some of which have pearl accents. Wholesale price points for the line range from $45 to $110.
Among firms showing new merchandise in their showrooms was Tumi, which continues to evolve with products that are more fashionable and stylish, including tote and messenger handbags in suede and wool, as well as microfibers. And Jones New York showed off a range of leather, unstructured handbags in bold hues in its core Jones brand. The company has injected more fashion into the line, including clutch styles and a satchel that comes with a detachable wristlet bag inside.
At Judith Jack, part of Jones’ Victoria & Co. division, the core marcasite jewelry has been updated to include styles such as chandelier earrings, as well as individual charms. Marcasite rings and necklaces with pearls were also on the agenda.
“We are going back to our heritage and classic roots,” noted Beth Vogel, who has recently taken over as president of Judith Jack.