Maxidresses, breezy tops, distressed denim and dusters were among the leading trends at Fashion Industry Gallery’s holiday and resort show.
Buyers were most interested in early spring at the three-day FIG show that ended Aug. 14, including slip and halter tops, dresses and jumpsuits, floral and digital prints, textured fabrics and high-waist jeans.
“We did way better than last year because we have spring [merchandise],” said Level Showroom co-owner Mark Williams. “Our customers are telling us that October is too late” to place spring orders.
Susana Monaco’s bestsellers were packable Supplex knit dresses featuring colorful digital prints, said sales executive Jaclyn Cappiello.
“It’s been a little quiet, but I booked more than last year,” she noted.
Regional retailers were cautious with their buys, citing tough business last spring and a nosedive in the price of oil.
“We have a lot of customers in the oil business so we have to be careful,” said Catherine Abdalla, co-owner of Brother’s in Lafayette, La.
Abdalla invested in a variety of jeans, including high-waist styles, flares and lighter washes by Citizens for Humanity, Paige Premium Denim, DL1961 and Joe’s Jeans. But Abdalla had trouble finding the business attire that customers have requested.
“Everyone went so contemporary, you can’t find it anywhere,” she said. “I’m talking about sheath dresses with a jacket, a shawl-collar or no-collar jacket with a classic fit.”
Charli Light searched for unusual items for delivery from now through November for her namesake boutique in College Station, Texas.
“I don’t think anyone is going to wear anything that’s not comfortable,” Light said. “I remember when things were so tight we used to say ‘breathing is optional.’”
Citing Lola & Sophie as her top resource, Light also ordered the sportswear company’s new plus-size line that presents the main brand’s key styles in sizes 14 to 20 under the label Gender Bias.
Gene Kagan, owner and designer, said he started the division in response to demand from shoppers at trunk shows and merchants, adding, “We shouldn’t ignore that woman.”
Sheila Carroll shopped for the 1,200 square-foot boutique within her salon, New Attitude Hair Design, in Delhi, La. At least half of her clients shop the store after their regular hair styling appointments, she said.
“I have to get maxis, BCBG, Mark & Estel,” Carroll said as she ordered whimsical cream leather oxford shoes with fur trim and beaded leather oxfords by Australia Luxe Collection. “I buy narrow and streamlined, but still have a great selection. It’s really about knowing your clientele.”
Kathleen Sommers, who has operated a namesake store in San Antonio since 1979, dressing women from 35 to 65 with comfortable clothing with distinctive accessories, said July sales edged up a bit, but overall business is stable.
“People in San Antonio like year-round product,” she said, selecting a space-dyed French terry roll-sleeve cardigan by Three Dots. “We’re trying to figure out what to do with Ts. We don’t want to be too heavy in basics.”
Rexanne Foster, owner of 316 Design Source, shopped for the boutique she plans to open in early September when she moves her event-planning business into a bigger space in the Dallas Design District.
“We’re catering to our clientele for their parties,” Foster noted. “We have to really hone in on luxury.”
“Commerce was strong for our exhibitors as stores who attended were shopping with purpose,” said Megan Bullard, FIG marketing manager. “Our total traffic increased from August 2014, which is always encouraging given the number of markets available to buyers this month.”