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DALLAS — A palette bright with neons, tangerine and cobalt drove business at the four-day spring market that ended Oct. 28 at the Dallas Market Center.
Trends that continued to be important included dresses that can be styled casually or polished, detailed jackets, slim pants, high-low hemlines, peplums, colorblocking, lace, featherweight leather jackets and printed or distressed denim jeans.
A number of stores shopped Oct. 24, the day before the show officially opened, and traffic appeared to diminish as the weekend wore on.
“It’s not as crowded [Wednesday] and everyone can spend a little bit more quality time with you,” observed Patty Ponchur, vice president of fashion merchandising at Halls in Kansas City.
“We had a good show,” said Brad Ritz, owner of Ritz Group contemporary and bridge showroom. “It’s definitely becoming more of a weekday event than a weekend event. We had a fabulous Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”
Sales representative Butch Plott also said bookings were solid.
“The pants business is on fire — contemporary slim-leg pants, legging jeans and leggings,” Plott said. “Krazy Larry’s pull-on ankle pant is the best pant I’ve ever had. We’re selling 600 to 1,000 pairs a week out of our showroom.”
Cindy Morris, DMC chief operating officer, said, “Many exhibitors had their top show of the year with buyers showing up early and writing orders. We’re fortunate to be located in the healthiest economic region in the U.S.”
Two executives of Belk stores made their first visit to gain insight to the Texas market and hunt for local designers who suit their “modern Southern style” branding campaign. The North Carolina-based chain plans to open its 14th store in Texas next year and is scouting for additional locations, including a flagship in Dallas, said Kathy Bufano, president and chief merchandising officer.
“Our Texas business is very strong and very profitable,” Bufano noted. “We sell a tremendous amount of fashion and we want to be more relevant in the markets we serve.”
She and Arlene Goldstein, vice president of trend merchandising, were most interested in contemporary fashion, Belk’s fastest growing department. Distinctive jewelry, printed pants, dresses, wedge shoes and bright totes were priorities, and their finds included Sonya Renee and Aurora jewelry, UniForme leggings, Loveapella dresses and Driftwood jeans.
“It’s a pattern-driven season — we’re in a print cycle,” Goldstein said. “Color is a cornerstone.”
Rita Manzelmann, buyer for Miss Jackson’s in Tulsa, Okla., invested in green apple and fuchsia draped jersey dresses by Joeffer Caoc, a new resource.
“I’m looking for newness,” she said. “Our sales are up, but I’m keeping my budget the same. I always have room to reorder if I see a trend.”
Way Zen, designer of J. Song Collection and Way, introduced a quilted denim tote bag with an embroidered QR code that connects to her Web site. The company offers customized QR embroidered patches for about $300.
“You can say ‘Scan me and find out about me,’” she noted.
Zen reported working with retailers from Ecuador, Honduras and Mexico, while other reps saw stores from the Midwest and Southeast in additional to the traditional neighboring states.
Antonio D’Amico, who introduced Pump fashion denim at the Italian Fashion Expo on the sixth floor, was pleased to have met potential distributors for his new line.
“This is more important than selling one piece at a time,” he said. “To do business here you have to give them continuity and be present all the time. People are waiting to see what is going on. They prefer to buy a little and reorder during the season.”