BUYERS GO FOR NOVELTY AT LAS VEGAS SHOW

Byline: Kim-Van Dang

LAS VEGAS — Retailers turning up at the recent Ladies Apparel Show Vegas (LASV) showed a fairly healthy appetite for novelty sportswear, from embellished jumpsuits to embroidered rayon skirt sets.
They came with mixed budgets, but a good number of them appeared ready to spend more money than a year ago. The three-day event day ran through Sept. 11 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Among the more upbeat retailers were Lorrie and John Atkinson, owners of White Rose, a boutique in Tucson, Ariz., as well as five hotel apparel shops there called Indian Village.
“We’ve posted increases every month this year,” John Atkinson said, adding that their open-to-buy was up 15 percent and aimed at wholesale prices of up to $100.
The couple said they were pleased with the somewhat “glitzy” selection on hand and noted they placed orders for denim shirts and jumpsuits trimmed with studs and lace by City Girl and Tarra Designs. The pair also liked rayon jumpsuits and coordinated pants sets by D. Frank and Joseph Ribkoff.
Bonnie Ball, buyer for Cactus Patch, a women’s boutique in Kerrville, Tex., came to the show for holiday fill-ins.
“I can find new things here before they hit Dallas,” she said.
Ball shopped for easy, neutral-colored holiday sportswear and angel-themed accessories at up to $60 wholesale. She was excited to find crinkled rayon skirt sets by two resources, Bijou and Zashi; silk jogging suits from various exhibitors, and rosebud-decorated vests by Sweet & Sassy.
“I really beat the bushes to fill my store with a wide variety of merchandise,” she said, adding that by recently expanding her stock to include gift items, , she has increased year-to-date sales 25 percent.
Elena Quezada, owner of five contemporary sportswear stores in Tijuana, Mexico, called La Marquesita, and a designer shoe and clothing boutique there called Shantal, reported her budget was down 30 percent.
“We are so close to the California border and the bad economy there continues to affect us,” she said. Nevertheless, she ordered a wide range of spring goods, leaving paper for embroidered knit tops by Jonden; rayon sportswear by Surya and by Faith; jumpsuits by IIF; silk and wool blend two-piece sets by Suzelle, and beaded shawls by Sharmark.
Mary Richardson, an owner of Specialty Sports Attire, a men’s and women’s boutique in San Pablo, Calif., also found a lot to order, including earth-tone silk jogging suits, vests, coordinated pants sets, T-shirts and golf wear at up to $100 wholesale. One of her favorite finds was printed rayon sets by Bila. Due to a recent store expansion, the buyer reported her budget up 25 percent over a year ago.
The show was held as part of five concurrent trade shows at the Sands Expo under the banner of Fashion Week Vegas, marking the second time this strategy has been used. It was seen as contributing to upbeat traffic and vendor participation. According to LASV show management, 7,119 buyers attended that particular event, and there were 619 exhibitor booths. The other shows were Fashion Accessories Expo, the Splash swimwear show, the VM West store design and merchandising show and Imprinted T-shirt and Actionwear. A sixth show will debut when Fashion Week Vegas takes place again, Feb. 21-24, 1995. It will be called Focus and aim at contemporary stores and vendors.

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