ATLANTA — Retailers were all over the calendar at the Atlanta Apparel Show, from ordering fill-ins for summer to wrapping up fall and taking a peek at holiday.
“Most retailers were looking for fill-ins for summer,” said Kaye Davis, executive director of fashion at AmericasMart.
For buyers completing fall, trends at the show held June 6 to 9 at the Atlanta Apparel Mart, continue to be layering color, jackets in different styles and fabrics and tunics, Davis noted.
The June market is traditionally smaller and slower than other shows throughout the year, but the Mart is still seeing growth, Davis said. According to Caron Stover, director of trade shows, AmericasMart, the show’s temporary space is 30 percent bigger than a year ago, especially in young contemporary. Also, the Mart will have new showroom openings in August in ready-to-wear, accessories, prom and bridal.
The most recent showroom expansion is Lori Veith Sales, which expanded to 6,500 square feet from 3,000 square feet by closing its accessories showroom on another floor and combining everything. Said Dana Melton, co-owner, said, “We saw the changing needs of stores and wanted to marry accessories with clothing and bring in new creative lines.” He also added several new lines, including Adrianna Papell.
Seth Adams, owner of Village Sportswear and Marella, both in Birmingham, Ala., and of Carriage House in Decatur, Ala., focused only on fill-ins.
“I was cautious about buying for spring and now I need things for my sale, which started the first week of June,” he said.
“I’m getting 40 to 50 off on everything,” he said. “We mark off 30 to 50 percent, so I’m getting my markup.” He added that dresses remain strong for young women, and he’s also doing well with colored denim and colorful tops. “Our customer expects everything to be on sale now. But margins are good because we’re tight with how we market and because of help from our vendors.”
Since this is a strong fill-in market, the Mart sponsored a seminar at which Dana Spinola, owner of Fab’rik, spoke to retailers about how to buy and sell immediates. She was also at the Mart shopping for fill-ins for Atlanta-based Fab’rik, which has 20 units.
Kathy An Kessler, owner of Galerie in Roswell, Ga., shopped for fill-ins and immediate delivery items, specifically dresses, “great” tops, and accessories, including jewelry, belts and purses. She doesn’t plan to start buying fall until the August show.
Kessler is in a business transition. She recently closed her store of 27 years and will start selling contemporary and edgy merchandise online within a couple of weeks. She’ll visit customers in their homes and offices in a fashion truck, and also target events to sell.
“Business was OK,” she said. “I was surviving, but I’m looking for this new business to do well. I have customers lined up and they’re waiting for it to get going.”
Denise Slezak, denim buyer for Altar’d State, said the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company with 25 units is going after denim.
“We’re doing a huge initiative on denim, which will launch in July,” Slezak said. “We don’t have much of a denim business now. It’s very small.”
She booked denim for holiday, including skinny jeans, black and sand-blasted grays, and destroyed and sand-blasted looks. Stores will carry private label, Blank NYC and Miss, and top stores will offer Seven For All Mankind, Paige, DL 1961, and AG.
Dennis Jaworski, president of Palmettoes in Hilton Head, S.C., finalized fall and started looking at holiday. He bought dresses in longer silhouettes to the knee, sweaters and sweater coats, and jackets that are part of sportswear collections. His spring business was “extremely strong,” he said, but summer sales have slowed down.