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Less is More at Dallas Market

A chill in business blamed on unseasonably cold weather caused some retailers to tighten budgets at FashionCenterDallas’ four-day show that ended Saturday.

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DALLAS — A chill in business blamed on unseasonably cold weather caused some retailers to tighten budgets at FashionCenterDallas’ four-day show that ended Saturday.

An unusual number of retailers failed to turn up for appointments, according to sales representatives. There were bright spots, however, including dresses and fast fashion, as the show marked its 10th anniversary in the World Trade Center.

“We may have less stores coming in to see us, but we’re doing more business with the stores we are working,” said Rick Drysdale, owner of D2 Drysdale contemporary showroom. “We have more time to spend with them, and the quality of the stores is very good.”

“I thought attendance was poor because our cold spring has really delayed spring shopping,” said Rosanne Saginaw, whose firm represents accessories lines. “People are waiting until they get spring business before they come back.”

The market featured goods for all seasons, from brightly printed jersey dresses for immediate delivery to gold brocade frocks for holiday fetes.

Lauren Grossman, designer and owner of Planet sportswear, said she was doing equal business with spring and fall deliveries.

“The southern states do not need to buy fall this far in advance,” she asserted. “The summer is so long and hot that they can’t imagine buying fall.”

Bestsellers included dresses in varied silhouettes, novelty jackets, knitwear, jumpsuits and skirts. Trends included plaid, athletic influences, motorcycle jackets, leather or vegan leather jackets and trim, fur and fake fur, mixed patterns and textures, cutouts and perforations, metallics and sweater jackets.

Courtney Quinn, merchandising director at Carol Hoffman buying office, a division of Doneger Group, described the rise of knits in “all classifications” and at a talk illustrated on-screen by images of fashion editors and bloggers on the street.

“The sweater category is so big for fashion,” she said. “A lot of top novelty jackets are being presented in sweater fabrics.”

Kay Mettler, owner of Spectator in Lodi, Calif., cut her budget slightly as she shopped for fall sportswear by Eileen Fisher and Lafayette 148, Pure Amici cashmere and Brighton accessories.

“I’m being very careful about price because business has been a little lackluster,” Mettler said. “I’ve seen accessories slow up, which is surprising, but I think people are taking it easy.”

Jan Smith searched for fall dresses and leather pieces for 200 Park, her year-old boutique in Oklahoma City. She caters to businesswomen as well as tourists traveling Route 66.

“I’m trying to buy more color and being really picky,” Smith noted. “Printed dresses do surprisingly well. I’ve tripled my dress business in a year.”

Among her finds were looks by W118 by Walter Baker, Charlie Jade and Analili.

Nicole Trent tripled her spring buy for The Pink Door Boutique, a beachy fast-fashion shop in the college town of Durant, Okla.

“I’ve shipped to 38 states, and we’re approaching our first anniversary,” said Trent, crediting social media with driving business.

Ordering only immediate goods, she stocked up on T-shirts, knit tops and strapless blouson dresses in bright stripes, zigzag and sailboat prints at MacBeth. She also shopped Vintage Havana, Savannah Rae and Blue Pepper, keeping retail prices between $30 and $130.

Evelyn Anastos, president of Theia, did well with brocade party dresses and glamorous gowns for mothers of the bride. The collection retails from $400 to $1,000 and is a division of Groupe JS International, which introduced its new Cynthia Rowley licensed dress line across the showroom.

Wholesaling from $110 to $270, the debut fall line carries some of Rowley’s sportswear prints and features shifts, chemises and fit-and-flare styles with cutouts and medallion appliqués. Textiles include textured knits, lace and cotton pique.

“We’ve gotten a great reaction, and I’m looking forward to building it,” said Michelle Coiro, sales executive with Groupe JS.

The Scene juried booth show expanded to 131 exhibitors with more than 300 lines.

“We hosted some of the best retailers and vendors in the United States as our market continues to grow nationally,” said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of the Dallas Market Center. “Our new date pattern, the strength of our rep groups and leading trend information offered a complete buying experience in Dallas.”

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