ATLANTA — Neither storms nor the collapsed bridge across I-85 impacted the Atlanta Apparel Market here, where a key strategic initiative was in contemporary.
The fall apparel show was held April 5 to 9 and VOW New World of Bridal was held April 4 to 6 at AmericasMart. Mary Sullivan, senior vice president, leasing, AmericasMart, said contemporary is seen as a major growth area, and the mart partnered with contemporary brands to create excitement with block parties in their areas.
Caron Stover, vice president of apparel tradeshow sales, AmericasMart, reported that the temporary exhibitor area grew 15 percent over the April 2016 show. Most of the growth was in resort, especially high-end.
Buyers focused on fall trends, including velvet, real and faux fur, frayed/hacked denim, and metallics. Morgan Ramage, fashion manager at AmericasMart, also named masculine influences, such as boxy blazers, suitings, and trousers in slim, wide-leg or cropped silhouettes. Feminine trends included tailored dresses and pleated midiskirts.
Wrap and knot belts; micro-purses in fur, velvet or embroidery fabrics; and pennant earrings lead accessory trends. In color, red is “everywhere,” Ramage said, followed by mustard, gray and green.
Retailers said sales are good. Shannon Kotze, owner of The Bilt-House in Atlanta, said, “We’ve had an awesome spring, and I see it continuing into fall.” She increased her buy for fall and isn’t cutting outerwear, despite Atlanta’s warm winter.
Women love the cold-shoulder look, she said. Other strong trends she sees for fall are leather, suede and vegan in jackets, leggings and pants; bell and tie sleeves; silk dresses; bomber jackets in silk and silk blends; plaids; trousers; and shearling vests and coats.
Susan Joyner, owner of Tally Ho Clothier in Gastonia, N.C., bought jackets with metallic embellishments, and denim jeans. Because of the warm winter, she bought lighter-weight outerwear, less fur and more layering accessories, including shawls and vests. Her lines included Luii and Ivy Jane.
Penny Schutz, owner of Boogaloos Boutique in Atlanta, booked Victorian styles, ruffles, full sleeves, jewel tones and floral prints, embroidery, velvet and sateen for fall, as well as raw hems in crop, flare and boot-style jeans. She is expanding her business, having opened a second store last year and will add a third this year.
Sales at Theophilus in Brevard, N.C., are up double digits this year, said Martha Carlton, owner. She shopped for fall casual apparel and booked sweaters; jeans in skinny, distressed and boyfriend silhouettes; comfortable pants; leggings; tops; and velvet used in casual ways. “Free People does that in a great way,” she said.
Bridal trends at VOW included general apparel crossover looks such as cold- and off-the-shoulder and embroidery. Other trends were plunging necklines and bell sleeves. Ivory was the dominant color, although brides are also choosing light latte, champagne and nude. Embellished lace and detachable trains were popular.
Tabitha Cain, owner of Proms Pageants and Pretty Things at the Bride’s House in Roanoke, Va., and her daughter, Arielle Britton, who will manage their new store in Beaufort, S.C., shopped for gowns with lace and interesting backs, headpieces and “fingertip” veils, said Cain. The stores have different markets. In Roanoke, brides are getting married in barns and plantation homes and want vintage, antique and bohemian dresses with a train. Beaufort is a destination market — beach and cruise — and brides want simple dresses and no trains.