Byline: Alice Welsh

NEW YORK — It’s shiny, it’s slick and it’s hot in the junior market — vinyl is one of the big trends for spring and summer. Happening juniors are no longer hippies.
Some credit the return to glamour, others say it’s disco fever, but whatever the reason, some of the biggest manufacturers and retailers in the junior market are big on vinyl.
“Fashion has gone through a complete cycle from natural, recycling and a respect for nature, to the other end — synthetics, everything that is the antithesis of natural,” said Ady Gluck-Frankel, Necessary Object’s president and designer.
Necessary Objects is showing black, white and clear vinyl skirts, jumpers and vests and will add jackets for fall.
“I like vinyl mixed with natural fabrics, like a cotton T-shirt. A latex T-shirt would be too much. The contrast of matte and shine makes it fun and exciting,” said Gluck-Frankel.
Gluck-Frankel views vinyl as a good accent piece to spice up what the junior customer already has.
“Satin was the big thing that was happening, and there was a lot of it out there, so I wanted to do something else,” said Nicole Murray, designer of Doll House, the new division of Jou Jou here. “Vinyl is the next type of reflective fabric. I think we have moved away from matte looks to shiny.”
She added: “Fashion is going through a glamour phase, and patent leather and vinyl are a strong part of that feeling.”
Doll House is showing vinyl jumpers for $24 and button front or wrap A-line minis for $16, in pink, blue and black.
Up Against the Wall, a trendy junior chain in the Washington, D.C., area, has jumped onto the vinyl bandwagon with miniskirts, halter tops, A-line dresses and jackets, which are already on the selling floor.
“We will definitely go forward with it for spring and summer, especially in colors. I think pink and black will be really big, with white coming in for March and April,” said Wendy Red, fashion director for the chain. “I think it’s part of that whole disco, return-to-the-Seventies movement. Polyester shirts look great with vinyl skirts. The junior market is definitely right on the movement and is offering vinyl at lower prices [than designer resources].”
Macy’s East will concentrate on the vinyl trench coat, said Denise Boineau, associate fashion director.
“For us right now, it makes sense to focus on a more serviceable vinyl item, so we picked the trench in hot colors as a big item,” she said.
The fast junior firm XOXO is showing solid, gingham and animal print vinyl for its Feb. 28 delivery.
“We’re doing A-line skirts, trench coats, bra tops and dresses with vinyl trim,” said Laura Azar, the merchandiser for the Los Angeles manufacturer.
“I think the hottest item will be the miniskirt. You can wear it on the street and to clubs. It’s an accent piece a girl can pick up without a big investment,” said Gregg Fiene, owner of the company. XOXO’s vinyl skirts will wholesale for less than $16.
“I think it stems from the whole 70’s influence, go-go boots and patent leather. It started in the streets with club kids,” he said.
Rampage Clothing Co. is focusing on little sexy vinyl dresses in red and black and short A-line skirts with zipper treatments in pink, fucshia and matte black, according to a spokeswoman for the company. Dresses wholesale for about $30, and the skirts are around $15.