Buyers were feeling optimistic at the Dallas Market Center’s four-day holiday market this month.
Leather shirts and moto jackets, slouchy knitwear, statement jewelry, long printed dresses and body-hugging frocks were among the leading looks.
“We’ve had really good quality stores writing nice orders,” said Brad Ritz, owner of Ritz Group showroom. “Our appointments showed up at an extremely high rate.”
Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of the Dallas Market Center, said, “Despite spring weather challenges for retailers in this part of the country, showrooms reported steady traffic and order writing, as buyers wrapped up their fall buying needs.”
She said 10 percent of buyers were new to the show, adding that “this market caps off a productive first half of the year, in which 28 new apparel and accessories showrooms opened.”
Chelsea and Walker, a new line of 18-mummy silk blouses and tank tops embellished with crystals and feathers, saw solid action.
“It’s all about a day-to-evening shirt at a great price point — $90 to $100 wholesale,” said Antigone Sorkin, vice president of sales for the label, which is a division of China Ting Group Holdings Ltd.
In her first visit to the Dallas show in many years, Sandra Panuce scouted for novelty for Avenue Fashions, a high-end boutique founded 60 years ago in Deerfield, Ill., by her mother. Panuce found modern sculpted jewelry by ZZan as well as leather items by Alberto Makali and a variety of gowns.
“Show me something the customer hasn’t seen before,” Panuce said. “I’m feeling optimistic, so [my budget] is higher.”
Betty Ann Drury and Linda Dietert, owners of Scruples in Houston, said their business doubled in the month since they moved the store across the street, among women’s specialty chains.
They hiked their budget 50 percent as they invested in flowing pants, silk tops and novelty jackets for September through November deliveries.
“Our customer always wants to look current and different — they don’t want to see themselves coming and going,” Dietert said
At Joseph Ribkoff, their number-one resource, they were enthusiastic about a black fringe soft jacket and a black-and-white-check fitted zip jacket.
“What we love about Ribkoff is that their items are machine-washable and seasonless,” Dietert said. “They are great travel pieces and they seldom wrinkle.”
Catering to women aged 45 to 75 with “on-trend, not way-too-expensive” fashions by the likes of Tolani and Johnny Was is working for Annie Clark, owner of Get Noticed in Richardson, Tex.
“Business is dynamite,” Clark said. “Jewelry has been huge for me and you never have to mark it down.”
She stocked up on jewelry by Brighton, Willow Creek, Julio Designs and clp.
Diane Lockfield invested in easy styles by Planet Clothing, as well as Brighton jewelry for Diane’s Boutique, her 42-year-old store in Mandeville, La.
“Business is good,” Lockfield said. “Fabrics are my thing. I buy generous, flowy styles in great fabrics.”
Michelle Murphy bought an array of personal makeup from Cosmetics Dallas with an eye toward selling it at Closet Treasures in Grapevine, Tex. She bought the Main Street store 18 months ago, catering to locals and tourists with cowgirl-style fashion and bohemian styles.
“Business is good — I’ve doubled my buy from a year ago,” Murphy said. “I’m building a clientele.”
Noting her customers ask for “anything with fringe,” Murphy invested in such Texas resources as Pat Dahnke and Roja. She also focused on socially responsible vendors, including Good Works wrap bracelets, Twigs jewelry, Union of Angels lace dresses and Sacred Threads novelty dresses and sportswear.