NEW YORK — Concern over the upcoming government spending cuts known as the sequester did not appear to dampen spirits at the Atelier Designers trade fair, which ended Feb. 25.
Vendors credited a strong holiday selling season for consistent retail traffic at the three-day trade show at the Doubletree Times Square hotel. More than 112 ready-to-wear, sportswear and accessories brands displayed collections for fall 2013.
A registration figure was not available, but exhibitors as well as show director Susan Summa reported that a majority of buyers left orders on opening day, before visiting other trade fairs in Manhattan.
“Our attendance for February was on par with the last couple of years, and actually somewhat higher than last September....Buyers were leaving good orders,” said Summa. “Retailers have had a good holiday season and we’re hearing from a number of buyers that they are feeling confident about fall. However, they are much more conservative in their buys and they are seeing their regular customers before looking for a new resource. That’s standard behavior but it’s more sharply defined right now.”
Summa noted that while the mood was upbeat, there was apprehension in the air over the sequester set to take place Friday.
“Even though economic indicators have been looking good, there have been too many up-and-down cycles, and retailers want shorter-term deliveries. As a result, people have been indecisive in planning their orders with vendors, even though they’ve had good business on a regular basis...Buyers will probably be back in May,” noted Summa.
The show is known as a platform for a host of artisinal brands from the global marketplace that offer special, one-of-a-kind looks for stores that want to differentiate themselves from mainstream fare. Texture and color were key trends in the accessories arena, including trendy Neoprene handbags from Italy that have braided and spiked effects, hand-crocheted silver wire jewelry from Israel that has a look of lace, or unique silk and wool scarves from Kyrgyzstan.
Jill Heppenheimer, a sales representative for Toko Enterprises LLC and co-owner of the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery in Santa Fe, N.M., said reaction has been strong to a collection of Neoprene handbags in bold fashion colors by Neo di Roma.
“I’ve been selling these Neoprene handbags at my gallery for the past three years and they’ve been very popular. This is the first season I’ve shown them at the Atelier show and I’m anticipating 30 orders or more,” said Heppenheimer. “There’s room for higher profit with these handbags because people are used to spending money on [designer] handbags.”
The handbags, which wholesale from $65 to $130, are created by three Italian designers who opened their first Neo di Roma boutique in Rome in December: Rosanna Contadini, Isabella Nardone and Amalia Restrepo.
Heppenheimer said a line of handcrafted paper jewelry from Granada, Spain, called Begoña Rentero is also generating interest. Inspired by organic forms of nature, the colorful jewelry is hand dyed and molded to resemble exotic flowers or Chagall-inspired shapes. Wholesale prices are $27 to $133.
Another unusual form of handcrafted jewelry is captured by Inbar Shahak, who designs her silver crochet and acid-etched brass jewelry with a patina finish at a kibbutz in Israel. Wholesales prices are $39 to $189. “We’ve opened 20 new accounts and a couple of buyers said they’ll be back in May,” said Arlean Gall, owner of The Downtown Showroom Inc., which serves as the line’s sales representative.
Gall said retailers were buying but the products have to be special looking.
“Spending was slightly higher than the September session...About 2 percent higher because the buyers liked what they saw,” explained Gall.
Aidai is a resource from Kyrgyzstan that specializes in old-world techniques to create one-of-a-kind scarves and wraps. Ranging from bright fashion colors to solid black and white, as well as myriad color combinations, the collection is designed by Aidai Asangulova in her native country.
“The silk and wool are literally kneaded together like a loaf of bread...It’s a technique that has existed for centuries,” said Candra Day, sales representative for the line which is sold by Vista 360 Degrees, a Wyoming-based foundation that supports designers in developing countries.
“The pace of traffic has been pretty steady. So far, we’ve opened 20 new accounts with specialty boutiques and museum stores,” said Day.
Wholesale prices for the Aidai collection are $48 to $130.
Moving on to women’s apparel, Ivona Martinko of Croatia exhibited for the second season at Atelier. A designer of rtw and sportswear as well as a patternmaker, she likes to work with wool, silk and cotton. Her silhouettes are intended to be multipurpose, and many of her styles feature zippers that can transform a shape such as a jacket with an oversized collar into a chic hoodie. Wholesale prices for the collection are $100 to $800.
“Business has been good and we’ve opened six new accounts. I’ll be back,” said Martinko.
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)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion