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NEW YORK — With continued ebbs and flows in retail traffic, buyers are looking to purchase their merchandise closer to season than ever.
That was the general sentiment at the fall-holiday Designers & Agents show, which ended its three-day run at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in West Chelsea on Wednesday. The show is significantly smaller than the main spring and fall editions, and for many visitors, it also offers an opportunity to catch up with some of the resources about the state of business.
“We are selling immediates,” said Kirsten Basso, sales manager of New York-based label Skin. “The economy is getting better, and our stores that sold out a lot for spring are looking to fill in for summer.”
Founded in 2003 by Susan Beischel, who also serves as creative director, Skin prides itself on its use of natural fabrics, including organic cottons. Bestsellers at D&A included a brushed cotton jacket for $105 wholesale, an alpaca and silk moto sweater for $156 and a dolman sleeve jersey top for $45.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based brand Matonyok offers accessories hand made in Kenyan villages to create sustainable employment and education of women in the Masai community. Mary Argimon, who designs the line with Jessica Walsh, said that this season, some of the more artisanal elements were tempered for a selection of chic metallic leather bags with added beaded tassels that can serve either as embellishment or removable key chains. Clutchlike metallic zip bags wholesale from $55 to $75, while totes can range from $249 to $269. “The show has been good,” Argimon said. “Everyone is supportive of the idea of sustainable employment.”
As in past May editions, D&A featured a Green Room focused on sustainability. A. Jason Ross, who designs the Artemas Quibble accessories line and also collaborates with Donna Karan, drew from archeology and ancient shapes to create new clasps for handmade belts and bags, with details including silver, brass and antique objects. The overall effect was rough but still sophisticated, down to wire-wrapped Moroccan cuff bracelets.
Barbara Kramer, who organizes the show with Ed Mandelbaum, echoed many vendor sentiments. Although business is still not seeing the significant uptick many are hoping for, “We have had great stores here,” she said. “Buyers are buying closer to delivery.”