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Atlanta Buyers Keep It Light for Fall

Warm winter causes trend shift.

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ATLANTA — Citing a mild winter and early warm weather, specialty retailers at the Atlanta Apparel Market, held April 12 to 16 at AmericasMart, said they were cutting back on outerwear and focusing on layering items for fall.

Lauren Stewart, owner and manager of Lulie’s on Cahaba in Birmingham, Ala., said she’s curtailing buying of heavier outerwear by at least 50 percent of what she carried this past winter. Instead, she and other retailers are buying sweater coats, open knit tops and shawls, as well as lightweight jackets and trenchcoats. Several also said they’re cutting back on nonlayering sweaters, especially cashmeres.

“I’m looking for more seasonless apparel now, things that will work longer throughout the year,” said Cynthia Poston, owner and buyer of Cynthia in Florence, S.C.

She and other retailers were shopping for apparel and accessories primarily for July, August and September deliveries.

“Fall looks fresh and really good,” said Kaye Davis, executive director of fashion at AmericasMart. “There’s a lot of color, especially rich jewel tones, and mixing color with neutrals.”

Other fall trends include a mix of textures, such as leathers with sheers or metallic accents, and plenty of details and trims in garments, such as fake furs, sequins and stones, metallics and luxury trims.

“You’ll still see a lot of layering — camisoles with sweaters, for example, but sheer enough in the weave and knit to be feminine,” Davis said.

Leggings and tunics continue into fall, as well as slim trousers, scarves, shawls and wraps and dresses. Blazers and a suit silhouette in jackets for a professional look are in different fabrics, including leather, lightweight wools and heavy knits.

Sales continue to do well. Nicole Raithel, owner of Meringue in Atlanta, said her sales increased 20 percent in March, as customers bought dresses, shorts, tops, sandals and hats. Jennifer Clements, owner of NYFO Boutique, based in Richmond and Norfolk, Va., said her sales are up 17 percent this year.

“We’re controlling our inventories, and we’re buying closer to need because the weather has been up and down.” Clements said.

Marti Womac, co-owner of Boyd Thomas Clothing in Maryville, Tenn., said her sales are ahead 25 percent so far because of early shipments and early warm weather. Her buys included Miraclebody jeans and alpaca-blend sweater jackets.

Stewart focused on color and classic looks at the show, as well as layering items. She bought dresses by Marimekko and Muse, lightweight scarves, denim, and homecoming dresses.

 

Cynthia’s Poston said, “Colored jeans are still the main fashion story and there are lots of beautiful colors for fall.” She also booked tunic dresses, “easy” knits in silks, silk prints, ponte knits with leather trim, pencil skirts and slacks.

No heavy coats for Clements, but she did buy jackets for careerwear, trenchcoats in bright fall colors and knit coats. She also ordered knit dresses in neutral colorblockings, Miraclebody jeans, sweaters in slimmer silhouettes, and cropped pants, as well as Anthony Alexander magnetic metal pins. She also reordered dresses, tops for eveningwear, skirts and white jeans for spring.

Meringue’s Raithel was buying colored denim from J Brand and Joe’s Jeans, cropped trouser pants in magenta from Sanctuary and sweater coats from Line.

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