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Record Attendance at Fashion Industry Gallery

Summer brights and early autumn harvest and metallic tones colored the shopping lists of buyers at the early fall market at Fashion Industry Gallery here.

DALLAS — Summer brights and early autumn harvest and metallic tones colored the shopping lists of buyers at the early fall market at Fashion Industry Gallery here.

This story first appeared in the April 15, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Designers at the show that ran March 27 to 30 used the spectrum of colors on short, fitted and often strapless cocktail dresses, embellished and layered tops, Seventies-inspired maxiskirts, denim trouser pants and geometric, floral and abstract prints.

Vendors also are increasing the use of eco-friendly fabrics, which include hemp, bamboo and soy, along with organic cotton and silk.

FIG officials said the market was the largest in its five-year history, with record exhibitor attendance and buyer traffic, including more than 100 out-of-territory stores that hadn’t shopped FIG before.

“With the continued demand for space, we are exploring expansion opportunities for 2009,” said Shelli Mers, director of FIG.

Among the first-time buyers at FIG was DeShae Mouton, owner of Sache, a Prairieville, La., contemporary store set to open by May 1.

“We’re focusing on young women in their late teens to trend-conscious women in their 30s and beyond,” said Mouton, who liked Betsey Johnson’s printed and colorful dresses, Pink Polkadot’s flirty dresses with retro prints and Banana USA’s casual sportswear and dresses.

Danielle Pflederer, owner of Azura, a Peoria, Ill., contemporary store, shopped for styles from the Sixties and Seventies, including early fall fleece jackets and lightweight trendy sportswear and items from IKKS, circle-printed wash-and-wear sportswear from Tea and Honey and a range of fashion items from Tricky Threads.

“Even though we’re shopping mostly for early fall, we really wanted to stay with bright colors and fashion patterns,” said Pflederer, whose budget was up by single digits.

Jennifer Tomlinson, owner of The Fickle Manor in Atlanta, was a first-time buyer at FIG and was impressed with the focus on immediate fashion trends and the wide selection of early fall collections.

“We shopped for both immediates to tap into spring and summer trends, as well as early fall dresses and sportswear that can be layered depending on the weather and the occasion,” said Tomlinson, who liked summer dresses from Notice and Curtsey and early fall sportswear from Prairie and French Connection in bright colors.