LAS VEGAS — The buyers have spoken for spring: They’re giving the cold shoulder to the cold-shoulder trend and ruffles, but were taken with button detailing, eye-catching sleeves, color pops and the versatility of genderless fashion.
Women’s retailers last week capped their annual August trek to Vegas, where the trade show landscape continues to shift: WWDMAGIC added a new On:Line neighborhood to the show floor focused on the digital experience that attracted healthy crowds, while some streetwear brands jumped from Agenda to Liberty Fairs as Capsule bowed out entirely from the August session. With that and the always-competitive business landscape in mind, buyers scoured booths across the Sands Expo and Venetian Meetings, Las Vegas Convention Center and Mandalay Bay Convention Center for spring looks.
Here, a roundup from buyers at e-commerce, subscription, boutique and traditional brick-and-mortar businesses share their thoughts on the recently ended Vegas shows.
Melanie Bader, senior director of buying, Gwynnie Bee:
Shows Walked: Project Womens, Stitch and WWDMAGIC
Spring 2019 Notes: “There were some very clear trends across all of the shows in color, detail and the influence of retro. The overall color palette was muted, with varying shades of earth-tone neutrals. In contrast to the neutral color palette, we also saw a bohemian twist on details, with pops of color, pom-pom trims and fringe. The last trend that really stood out was a return to the early Nineties in button-up dresses, puff sleeves, graphic Ts, acid wash and fanny packs.”
What Trends Are You Tired of Seeing: “Extreme destruction and cropped tops. We have had enough of the overexposure trend.”
What About the Retail Business Keeps You Up at Night: “We believe our innovative service model is all about meeting the modern consumer where she is, and the challenge of reflecting this goal with our assortment gets harder each season. Consumers are more informed and evolving faster than ever before. In order to provide her with the trends and value she expects to find in a rental offer, we need to think differently and continually challenge ourselves to be faster, smarter and more nimble in our product offerings.”
Sara Fox and Julia Nauer, senior merchants, South Moon Under:
Shows Walked: WWDMAGIC, Project Womens
Spring 2019 Notes: Stripes, which Fox called “an evolution of the Seventies theme coming from fall. I still felt like we saw a lot of men’s wear and plaid but, just in general, the stripes felt really new and different.” She also called out updates to sleeve detailing with tiers and bows in addition to square necklines on tops.
Nauer noted knots, smocking and buttons ranging from wooden to fabric-covered pieces.
What Trends Are You Tired of Seeing: Ruffles, cold shoulder and off-the-shoulder tops.
What About the Retail Business Keeps You Up at Night: “For me, I’d say how to create customer loyalty when the retail environment has become so competitive, especially online,” Fox said. “As a boutique, we do carry a lot of branded product and it’s really easy for the consumer to price-compare online. So how do we create an experience that makes our customers want to shop with us rather than just price comparing online?”
“And just to piggyback off of that, how do you continue to grow both your digital and your e-comm platforms and continue to give her a great in-store experience and continue to drive her to the store,” Nauer added.
Karen Meena, vice president of buying and merchandising, Ron Robinson Inc.:
Shows Walked: Liberty Fairs, Project, Project Womens
Spring 2019 Notes: “Color and fun prints are still important for spring-summer 2019, for men and women looser silhouettes and soft fabrics with lots of draping and comfort.”
On the women’s side, Meena lauded the brand Undercoat — which launched in the U.S. for spring 2019 — for its genderless collection of oversized T-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts and joggers made by Bali artisans she said could also double as streetwear for men. There was also the Hudson x Ben Taverniti limited-edition denim collection and L.A.-based Wolven Threads’ pieces made from recycled plastic and trees.
She also bought into a limited-edition collection of apparel and sneakers for men and women from New Balance, available only through a handful of retailers for spring.
Elsewhere, on the men’s side, Meena called out Descendant of Thieves’ streetwear-influenced styles, C.P. Company’s Nineties Italian designer influences on technical fabrics for outerwear and pants and L.A. wovens brand Coastaoro.
What Trends Are You Tired of Seeing: “Tired of ruffles!”
What About the Retail Business Keeps You Up at Night: “During the trade show season, I am always anxious to discover the newest, freshest, most adventurous items, designers and brands before anyone else. Our store has a reputation for launching trends and designers, and I feel the pressure every season to maintain our status as fashion pioneers. Of course, then I have to worry that our clients will get the same thrill and excitement while shopping my selections in the store.”
Toni Forseth, senior denim buyer, Zulily and Sarah Israel, senior buyer, Zulily
Shows Walked: WWDMAGIC, Project Womens and PoolTradeShow
Spring 2019 Notes: Forseth said, “For denim specifically, it’s all about distinctive hem treatments and details. From step hem to raw edge, this small detail can really take a pair of denim up a notch for someone willing to try a new trend, which our customers love to see us serve up on Zulily. However, fabric and fit are the most important with denim, because as we all know if you feel good, you look good.”
Israel noted that “Overall, the aesthetic was very consistent across vendors, with a focus on an ultrafeminine style paired with bohemian ‘boho’ flare. There was heavy inspiration from the 1970s, as the shows were sprinkled with long flowing boho-inspired dresses, the nostalgia of jumpers in both dress and pant form, as well as matching sets, delicate feminine pieces and floral prints with mixed media.”
What Trends Are you Tired of Seeing: “A trend I feel has become too saturated in the fashion industry over the past few years in jeans specifically are too much distressing and oversized holes in the leg,” Forseth said. “Since our goal at Zulily is to source and serve up unique styles that are authentic and relevant to every body, my hope is the industry, and our vendor partners, continue to create a variety of styles that fit into the lives of the variety of women wearing, or wanting to wear, denim.”
“A trend I am personally tired of seeing is the late-Nineties-inspired, heavily branded styles — i.e., a brand’s name splashed largely across a garment,” Israel said. “I feel an individual doesn’t need to boast a brand to feel on-trend and create a style that is uniquely their own, which is what we try and encourage to our Zulily shoppers throughout the curation of our daily sales — discover something uniquely you.”
What About the Retail Business Keeps You Up at Night: Forseth noted the company’s wide-ranging assortment — thousands of products offered daily — as the constant driving the team and, thus, “What keeps me up at night is continually coming up with ‘the next big idea’ to make sure we’re delivering on this daily promise to our customers, of an entertaining, thoughtfully curated and engaging shopping experience.”
Brittany Nicholls, chief merchandising officer, Lulus:
Shows Walked: WWDMagic and Project Womens
Spring 2019 Notes: “We’ve seen a lot of really great asymmetric ruffles on dresses and then lot of beautiful pleating, midi and cropped hems on dresses, and lightweight wovens are strong. There’s a lot of button details popping up on things, and then there’s really great statement separates like printed culottes.”
What Trends Are You Tired of Seeing: “The only one that really comes to mind is the off-the-shoulder trend, but I think that it’s still continuing in other ways, like a draped shoulder sleeve instead of the straight elastic, hard-to-wear, off-the-shoulder top. So I think that’s it’s an evolving trend to be more wearable.”
What About the Retail Business Keeps You Up at Night: “I think the most about colors and I want to make sure that we offer really great colors that pop and are appealing to our customers’ eye. So just making sure that we keep the best colors coming in, the best bold prints. Making sure we don’t have too much yellow on order. Yellow’s a very strong trend and it’s also a hard color to wear.
“Also, I think maybe more important than that would be making sure we have a great selection of price points and styles to offer our customers. That’s number one.”