Atlanta market

ATLANTA — Hurricane Matthew forced Florida and coastal Georgia and South Carolina buyers to make their appointments early or later at the Atlanta Apparel Market, held Oct. 6 to 10, or skip it entirely.

“It had an impact, but it wasn’t near what it could have been,” said Mary Sullivan, senior vice president of leasing at AmericasMart. “We worked with a lot of retailers from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, and hotels, and redirected them to come on a date more suitable for them.”

Showroom co-owner Paula Hyman said some Florida stores came early and some canceled. She added, “So far, it’s been a very good show.”

AmericasMart announced that future shows will open on Wednesday instead of Thursday because it has seen registration heavier on the front end of the show. Likewise, shows will close on Sunday instead of Monday.

Key spring fashion trends, said Morgan Ramage, fashion manager at AmericasMart, included stripes and florals, ruffles and embroidery, cold and one shoulders, black-and-white prints, flowing and lightweight fabrics, chokers and neckties, raw-cut stones in jewelry, pom-poms on necklaces, and embroidered handbags. Retailers added a few of their own: skirts, dresses, bohemian styles, and mixed metals and beaded chains in jewelry.

AmericasMart opened seven new showrooms at the show, most of them in contemporary and young contemporary.

“We’re getting back to filling up [the Mart], and it’s with better brands,” Sullivan said.

Caron Stover, vice president of apparel trade show sales, said the show was the “biggest market ever” with temporary exhibitors. The section was up 14 percent over October 2015. Montreal Collections, a group of Montreal-based companies including Eve Gravel, Annie 50, Melow par Melissa Bolduc, Jeane & Jax and Zaan, were among temporary exhibitors.

Julie Cox, founder and chief executive officer, and Ben Odom, junior partner, at Mia Moda in Birmingham, Ala., shopped mainly for holiday, but also for spring. They booked A-line skirts in patchwork leather and suede, corduroy and denim; distressed denim; military styles in ultra suede, and colors of cognac, merlot and olive.

“Skirts are a big trend for holiday and spring,” Cox said.

Spring buys included casual summer dresses, shorts, tank and T-shirts, and jewelry.

Cox said her sales are up nine percent this year. She added that the store started carrying its own Mia Moda private label this year.

Pat McDonald, owner of Painted Pink in Montgomery, Ala., booked sweaters, suede looks, skirts, faux leather and faux suede jackets for fall, and holiday dresses. For spring, she ordered dresses for sorority rush, denim, skirts and shorts with matching tops, retro looks and snake prints.

Her online sales are strong and have helped her store business.

“Our web site and Instagram have helped tremendously, too,” she added.

Ben Belton of Benjamin & Libba’s in Morganton and Hickory, N.C., mostly viewed trends and will decide later based on what he saw here and in New York.

“For the most part, there’s a lot of sameness in the market,” he said.

Trends he noted include retro patterns, fabric coatings, wider leg lengths, longer shorts, more variations in jeans with low rise diminishing, mixed textures, and eclectic choices in jewelry from pearls to leather.

Monica Gerberding, co-owner of Makaila James in Charlotte, N.C., bought immediate, holiday and spring. For spring she focused on bohemian casual dresses and tops, skirts and handmade jewelry.

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