DALLAS — Buyers opted for streamlined fashions at the three-day summer and fall show that ended Jan. 29 at Fashion Industry Gallery here.
Sleeveless boxy tops, tank-top and halter dresses, rompers and jumpsuits, knit top and skirt ensembles, and easy dresses were among the leading silhouettes. Open mesh and other textures remained important amid a palette of soft pastels, blush, coral, ocean blues and burgundy.
“It’s still predominantly casual over dressy,” said Laurie Hasson, whose showroom operates here and in its hometown of Los Angeles. “The buyers are still safer rather than experimental. They don’t feel like taking risks.”
“It’s OK,” said Greg Mider, owner of Mider Group showroom. “The first two weeks in January were really good reorder-wise, and our show here is good. Traffic is up.”
“This is kind of a fill-in market,” said Teresa Windham, owner of Valentine’s Too in Austin, Texas. “I’m looking for casual summer, easy, wear-now clothes.”
Windham sought April and May deliveries and some for early fall, investing in “sophisticated, casual, cool” looks by Lula Johnson.
“These are hard deliveries,” she reflected. “It has to be the right thing or you have to mark it down.”
John Maguire, dress buyer for the Tootsies chain based in Houston, said the special occasion business was tough last fall but had picked up in January as girls began shopping for prom.
“Every year we do $16,000 on Martin Luther King Day and this year we did $25,000, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Maguire said.
With a flat budget, he hunted for easy, chic summer dresses, noting there were plenty from sportswear vendors but few from dress resources. The chain’s sportswear business has been strong, he added.
“As bad as oil is, Houston has diversified and we have investment bankers and lawyers shopping,” Maguire said.
Kim Davenport, buyer for the historic M.L. Leddy’s Western store in the Stockyards of Fort Worth, Texas, was enthusiastic about “cool” dresses and sportswear by Liberty Garden, a division of Hale Bob. She also ordered tailored blouses and dresses by Claridge & King, which she said “fit like a dream.”
“My fall was great,” Davenport said. “I feel it slowing down a hair for spring.”
Showing for the first time, designer Molly Phillips introduced ethically sourced jewelry made in Austin by African refugees. She did especially well with crystal and geode bead bracelets in sets of five.
“I’ve scored 10 accounts,” Phillips enthused. “It helps that I’m representing it myself.”
FIG received a number of new buyers, according to retail marketing director Lauren Burgin. “We’ve seen stores from New Mexico, Montana, Florida, and of course, our territory,” she said.
FIG has inked a lease for a slightly bigger space on Market Center Boulevard, which is across Interstate 35 from the Dallas Market Center, but it probably won’t move until after the October show, said Matt Roth, chief executive officer.