DALLAS — Two independent sales representatives will inaugurate permanent showrooms of contemporary lines at Fashion Industry Gallery during the spring-summer show, Jan. 24 to 26.
Laura Ivins, proprietor of Lai Showroom in room 150, and Mila Bostanica, owner of Art of Fashion in 116, are each banking on years of experience as sales reps to help them launch their own businesses.
“I decided I wanted to source out up-and-coming designers,” Ivins explained. “Everybody is always looking for that next big brand. I was ready to do my own thing.”
Among her finds are AlpineStars by Denise Focil contemporary sportswear and its offshoot, AStars casual body-conscious knitwear, which are based in Asolo, Italy, and Los Angeles. She is also repping AsIs and AsIs Vintage casual Ts, knitwear, dresses and accessories with Americana and tribal influences, and its sibling label, Prince Peter Collection, which offers rock- and pop-culture-inspired graphic T-shirts. Rounding out Lai’s mix are Fraiche by J knits and Cooper Grey minimalist leather handbags by Ceri Hoover.
Last summer, Ivins started Lai — which is named for her initials — in temporary quarters after working two years at Aire showroom and before that as an assistant buyer for Nordstrom.
Bostanica’s Art of Fashion gallery will highlight exotic skin and semiprecious jewelry by Anna Pelissari, who is based in Brazil; fair-trade pima cotton fashion knitwear hand-loomed in Bolivia and designed in Los Angeles by Anita Arzé, who offers alpaca knits for fall; and men’s jeans and graphic Ts by Black & Denim, an American-made line based in Tampa, Fla. It will also introduce two young designers: Hannah Goff of Savannah, Ga., and Dekla by Jordan Martin of Austin, Texas.
Bostanica, who first stitched her own clothes at the age of 8 in Moldova and earned degrees in fashion design and tailoring, said that after 13 years as a Dallas rep it was time for her own showroom.
“It’s really my passion — working with the stores and helping designers market their lines,” she said.
New to FIG’s Shop temporary show are: Purple Aura Jewels, ADA Collection belts and Zinke Intimates lingerie and swimwear.
Matt Roth, chief executive officer of FIG, said business is improving at the juried venue, which is focused on contemporary, bridge and designer resources. Since last fall, he noted, three showrooms have hired managers to run their Dallas branches full time: Laurie Hasson and Jennifer Lazarus of Los Angeles and Level from Atlanta. Before, they only opened their showrooms for markets.
“It’s a reflection that people here are recognizing how important this region is to this business,” Roth asserted. “The trend is up. It’s not vertically up, but it’s gradually up.”
In other news at FIG, the venue is upgrading its Wi-Fi network and has signed the restaurant Sfuzzi as its catering partner for markets.
One potential negative for the January show is the direct overlap with fashion markets in Atlanta and Chicago.
“It happened one time before and it was a nightmare,” said Mark Williams, who is an owner of Level and who has showrooms in Atlanta and Dallas. “The buyers in Mississippi or Tennessee could go either way. It’s tough.”