Byline: Holly Haber

DALLAS — Dana Melton and Paul Sutton have gone back to their roots.
Last market they opened a better-to-bridge clothing showroom here after having owned and operated the Lori Veith Sales accessories showroom for 10 years. They will continue to run Lori Veith accessories, which has showrooms here and in Atlanta.
“It was a natural progression for us,” Sutton explained in a telephone interview from San Antonio, where he was doing a trunk show at Julian Gold. “We both have a clothing background. I was with Neiman’s as a petites and large size dress buyer, and Dana was a juniors buyer for Sanger Harris and a district manager for the Gap.”
Located in room 4343, down the hall from Lori Veith’s accessories showroom, the new clothing room — also called Lori Veith — carries seven lines, ranging from novelty carpool clothes to fitted leather jackets in pearlized pastels.
“Our philosophy has always been to have beautiful things,” Sutton affirmed. “A lot of people tend to focus on a niche and be real contemporary or traditional. We’ve always tried to have a cross section of merchandise so that we can offer things to all kinds of stores. We have a nice cross section of customers that way. We’re trying to gear our clothing room with the same philosophy that made our accessories room successful.”
One of the lines — Alan Michael Leathers — has never been shown in Dallas before. Among its key looks are clean jackets in pearlized pink and white leather as well as a western-inspired jacket in chamois leather with embellishment on shoulder.
The other labels are: Corbin sportswear; Seeds casual rayon print sportswear; Antonella Preve knitwear; Tomasi, a cotton and silk shirt division of Antonella Preve; Ilde Marshall dresses, and Ursula eveningwear, which has been updated by a new designer formerly with Ralph Lauren.
Melton and Sutton have been joined in the clothing showroom by a new partner, Ron Kammerdeiner, a longtime retailer who formerly managed Leon’s at Highland Park Village. The pair also hired Linda Mullins to handle major store accounts for both the accessories and clothing rooms.
“Dana and I have a really well-developed accessories business, but we didn’t have the time to devote completely to clothing so it was key to find the right people,” Sutton pointed out. “We’ve known Ron for a long time, and he’s a wonderful salesperson and wonderful person. To find that combination in this business, as you know, is pretty rare.”
Lori Veith’s accessories business is up about 10 percent this year, Sutton noted.
“We definitely see a return to a little more embellishment, opulence and glamour and a little larger scale jewelry,” he observed. “People are interested in making a more individual statement with accessories. There is a whole generation of Gap and Banana Republic shoppers who grew up with minimalism and have never worn a lot of accessories. But they are getting older and are more excited and willing to try things that are larger or more ornamented because it’s new and interesting to them. They’ll wear a big earring with an evening dress or a little bigger necklace than in the past.”
Sutton and Melton are both on the road a lot, visiting stores and doing trunk shows.
“We’re out there and in the stores so we really know what they’re about and what they stand for,” Sutton noted. “When someone comes in we are not blindly showing them product and also we can help them stretch a little bit and try something new and different.”
He reflected that the International Apparel Mart is benefiting from an influx of new sales reps.
“We’re at a crossroads,” Sutton noted. “A lot of the old guard is retiring, and there’s a lot of fresh blood in building, and I think that’s a good sign. And what’s happening in clothes and fashion is good for the building. We’ll see fashion stores and fashion goods become even more important and more fun to give them a reason to buy. People have spent the last 10 years building great homes, and they will want to entertain and look fabulous.”