In the ever-active junior market, cowboy chic, denim and Eighties-inspired looks duke it out for top trend honors.
Eighties-inspired jeans are a hot item, especially with the new chemical techniques and dirty looks pioneered by Diesel and Helmut Lang. Flared jeans persist, but updated with a lower waistline. Denim skirts and western shirts a la Madonna, also show promise.
Punk is still hot with studded accessories on bracelets and detailing. Rhinestone-studded T-shirts with long and short sleeves will continue their reign as versatile day-to-night pieces. Camouflage belts with a flash of rhinestone paired with longer pants make for a more casual yet hip feel.

Oren Hayun, partner/buyer, Planet Funk, Los Angeles:
“For fall, the Eighties will carry over but may manifest itself in different shapes — in things like batwing shirts. As for denim, it will still be strong, but it will be more distressed and lighter, as a result of the Eighties influence.
“Pants are getting more low-waisted and the actual flare of the pants will get bigger. For a while, it was back to a straight leg, but now, I’m seeing a wider flare. Flares will work in both denim and non-denim pieces, but will remain stronger in denim. Stretch denim and frayed pieces, skirts, coats and jackets will be popular.
“The whole cowboy chic thing will definitely influence fall. Snap-down denim western shirts are coming back and may be an influence from the whole Madonna ‘Music’ thing.
“For accessories, we’re seeing anything with rhinestones and a military feel: Camouflage belts with snaps for day, and rhinestones for night. But camouflage, I think, will be a quick trend.
“We’re going to be bringing in Freshype, a new Italian denim line, similar to Miss Sixty. It’s a bottom-based line with flares and stretch that’s very low-waisted. They’re just starting to burst onto the scene in young contemporary denim. I’m also looking for printed denim jeans.
“We’re optimistic about fall because our numbers are up, so we’re booking orders based on last years numbers, taking into account this year’s monthly increases.”

Nancy Kaufman, co-owner/buyer, Na Na, Santa Monica:
“T-shirts are still very popular but the type of graphics has changed. That Paul Frank style is very popular. For fall, it will be the same, but with long sleeves and hoods. We’re looking for what I call “punk-a-billy,” which is a more fashiony version of street fashion. It’s sort of an odd combination of the Eighties and the Fifties. It’s not retro — I don’t think people want retro — so they’re combining [the two] to make a whole new look.
“I’m also seeing fuller skirts, but updated to a more modern look. Women’s pants are slim but longer, not capri length. I also hear leggings are coming back, though I’m not ready to jump on that one.
“Accessories are quasi-punk, with lots of studs on collars. Denim, I think will always be popular [particularly] in a dirty wash, because a lot of different companies are doing it. I really like the new Dickie’s line for women, with pants cut just above the ankles, which will be good for all body types.
“We’re looking for small modish suits from Paul Frank that feature a low-cut pant. We’ll also be looking for corduroy pants and items with a brushed velvet texture.
“We’re hoping fall is going to be great, better than it is now, because it’s a little sluggish. I think we’ll go into fall with a more specific budget. We’re not going to try a whole bunch of new stuff. We’re small, so we’ll stick with tried-and-true companies. We like to experiment outside the loop, but it’s not in the budget right now.”

Cynthia Lopez, sportswear buyer, Windsor, Los Angeles:
“As with last fall, sweaters are going to be a big deal. Sweater coats or dusters from Cotton Emporium and Eyeshadow are definitely our number one. Fur trends are going to be huge for fall — faux mink or hairy-scary — in contrasting and subtle colors.
“As for pants, denim is still going to be an issue. Stretch denim with novelties like belted bottoms or accents like lace-up fronts are doing amazingly well. Chemical treatments on denim like lame fillings or sparkles will also do well, but it’s not going to be as showy as last fall. Both Z. Cavaricci and XOXO have great stretch denim.
“For tops, the whole treatment thing on T-shirts is doing well, and rocker Ts will still be popular. We always do well with light knit sweaters, cowlnecks and turtlenecks in all our stores, even in California.
“At the mart, I really like Kitsch, they’re very forward and directional. She was the first to put me out there with camouflage. Rhapsody and Moa Moa both do really well for me.
“During the spring and summer, I do more buying in Los Angeles and more fall and winter in New York. For my budget, I devote about 65 percent to L.A., primarily at the mart.”

Randy Brewer, general manager and buyer, Villains, San Francisco:
“In the broad spectrum, denim will be strong. A year ago, we couldn’t give it away but it has really picked up. Within denim, stretch is going nuts and dirty denim will do well. Anything stretch — stretch cotton, stretch corduroy — these are all doing well and will continue for fall. Pants are obscenely low-cut with a flared leg. They say it will taper off but I don’t see it happening. Mavi, Buffalo and Frankie B. will all do well.
“The other thing that’s going to be strong is the whole cowboy thing. There are too many designs on the market for it to go away quickly. Shirts and even our hats are selling. Rhinestones were big last season, but they don’t sell, so I don’t see them continuing for fall.
“At the mart, I usually see Diesel, Miss Sixty, Mavi and Levi’s. Dirty washes and treated denims, such as resin-coated Levi’s, are highly popular, especially the engineered line for juniors right now. Y London for fall sweaters.
“I spend about 20 percent of my budget at the L.A. Mart.”