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DALLAS — A contingent of 40 fashion and accessories designers from Colombia are headed to Texas to exhibit at the Dallas Market Center’s show, Aug. 16 to 19.
It’s more than twice as many vendors that showed here during a test in October 2009, reflecting the nation’s efforts to capitalize on the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement that took effect May 15. The Colombian merchandise will again be featured in a designated area of the Scene contemporary show on the 13th floor.
Dating back more than a century, Colombia’s growing soft goods industry counts over 1,000 textile and apparel manufacturers that exported $1.3 billion worth of products last year, according to the nation’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism.
The largest chunk of apparel exports was men’s and boys’ denim, followed by women’s cotton pants and bras. Among Colombia’s fashion offerings are swimwear, small leather goods, jewelry and dresses.
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Multiline sales representative Brad Hughes said he expects to introduce two Colombian labels at the show, as well as Toronto contemporary collections Joeffer Caoc and Judith & Charles. Hughes is also relaunching Apriori, the German bridge line that had suspended U.S. distribution but remains widely sold internationally.
Elsewhere at DMC, Jennifer Betbadal is opening a multiline contemporary showroom called J. Belmont on the 15th floor. Betbadal, who worked as a rep for 10 years in Los Angeles and was West Coast sales manager for 7 for All Mankind before relocating to Dallas, developed fashion and accessories that offer forward styling and mostly wholesale for less than $100.
“A lot of stores here offer premium denim and then a mixed price point of everything else,” Betbadal reasoned.
She’ll introduce Talulah, an Australian brand of primarily silk dresses; Loveappella casual sportswear; Driftwood, a trendy denim label offering stripes, florals and other prints on Japanese and Italian fabrics; Elise M. leather belts; Olivia Graye fashion handbags; and semiprecious jewelry by Sonyarenée and Gemelli.
Business has been steady, though there are rumblings of concern about fall, since it’s a presidential election year, Hughes observed.
“We go through this every four years, but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker,” he reasoned. “Everybody is working hard and trying to keep their numbers. The retailers need to get creative in their stores.”
He was on the road hauling trunks of Lafayette 148, L.A.M.B. and Vizcaino to a big party at Miss Jackson’s in Tulsa, which last weekend celebrated turning its floors to fall fashions.