Brisk Buying at Atlanta Spring Market

Strong trends and solid fall business boost budgets.

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ATLANTA — Feminine looks and flowing fabrics dominated the Atlanta Apparel Market spring women’s show held Oct. 13 to 17.

Major trends for the season were rural looks with feminine tops worn with denim, sophisticated designs with structured fabrics, slouchy pants and a variety of prints and patterns.

“This season will give [women] the opportunity to put our own styles together,” said Kaye Davis, executive director of fashion at the Atlanta Apparel Mart. “You’ll still see a more feminine feel. Dresses will continue to be big this season, too. Scarves are still huge. It’s another accessory to change an outfit.”

Lisa White, owner of CK Collection in Fairhope, Ala., said, “We’re seeing an ode to the Fifties — very ladylike, like ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Pan Am.’ It’s more structured and more feminine. It’s perfect for us in the South. We’re increasing our open-to-buy by about 20 percent.”

She said sales have spiked this month, and the store is looking for an 8 to 10 percent increase for holiday over a year ago.

Katherine Sparks, women’s buyer for the Pants Store in Mountain Brook, Ala., said business is “wonderful,” and the company is opening a fifth store in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in December. Pants Store is increasing its open-to-buy by about 20 percent, but Sparks pointed out that she’s buying for the new store.

Francine Whyman-Brown, president of Mario Pucci Boca, based in Boca Raton, Fla., said her business is good and she’s adding about 10 percent to her spring buy. She wanted lots of dresses, including sundresses and special occasion, bright colors and fun T-shirts, as well as scarves and big jewelry.

“With the economy the way it is, people want to be cheered up,” she said.

Lisa Rieves, co-owner of the The Honeybee in Smyrna, Ga., is increasing her spring budget about 30 percent.

“September was great for us, and I’m optimistic about fall and holiday,” she said.

Ben Belton, owner of Benjamin’s & Libba’s, based in Morganton and Hickory, N.C., said his business has been stable.

“We’re not being overly aggressive right now, but we’re developing some new market concepts that we plan to kick off in the spring,” Belton said.

“We’re seeing a lot of beautiful prints and interest with color — a lot of neons, as well as lots of textures and different design elements in colorblocking,” Belton said. “We’re seeing more sweaters for spring, because they’re airier.”

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