NEW YORK — The May installment of the Atelier Designers trade show is a smaller event than the September and February segments, though 31 vendors showed their fall and holiday 2005 wares to buyers.
While an official tally hadn’t been made, Susan Summa, coordinator of the Atelier Designers show, said the number of buyers shopping the show had doubled from last year. The event was held April 30-May 2 on the 10th and 11th floors of the Rihga Royal Hotel here.
“For the May show, we use two floors, but for the shows in February and September, we use five,” Summa said. “A lot of the new designers we’ve had in this time slot have been very active in getting new buyers to us. The designers are finding new resources, and the overall mood seems very upbeat.”
Lorain Croft, owner and designer of her eponymous collection based here, was showing at Atelier for the second time. “I think the quality of the buyers is what brought me back,’’ she said. “They are calm and serious and can appreciate fabrics. My numbers started going up when I started doing this show.”
Croft’s collection includes pieces such as flowy sequin tops and silk fitted jackets. She incorporates fabrics such as crushed and hand-painted silk, wool bouclé and French lace. While the wholesale price range of the Lorain Croft collection is $159 to $398, Croft noticed that buyers at Atelier were less price-resistant than buyers she encountered at other trade shows.
“As long as the piece has something to say, it really wasn’t a problem to sell something that wholesales for $398,” Croft said. “I think the buyers at this show are more concerned with quality and not quantity.”
Summa said, “We have three types of collections in this show, artisan, fashion and avant-garde. There’s quite a variety.”
Timna Myers, owner of Timna Distinctive Artwear, a specialty boutique in Memphis, said she turns to the May show for fill-in orders. “The designers at this show have an artistic component as well as a fashion component. That works well for small owners because it allows you to look different from the bigger department stores,” she said.
Myers sought reorders from Susans, a better women’s wear line based in Berkeley, Calif.; Treadle Design Room, a jacket and tops line based in Los Angeles, and Kay Chapman, an eveningwear line with headquarters in Van Nuys, Calif. The Japanese collection, Ona, based here, was a new addition to Myers’ boutique. “It was very wearable…and washable,” she said, noting that her customers, primarily 40 to 60 years old, would appreciate the collection’s simplicity.
Laura “Lola” Herrera was one of the designers whose collection has roots in art. “We sold some merchandise to Julie Artisans’ Gallery,” Herrera said of her collection, Lola of San Francisco. “It was one of the first places to showcase art-to-wear in New York, so that’s a really big milestone for us.”
The collection includes silk charmeuse frayed “strip skirts,” long, reversible silk robes and silk metallic organza skirts, and wholesales at $350 to $1,500.
“I’d say I’ve done about $10,000 in sales with my robes alone,” Herrera said. “By the end of the show, I’d say I’ll probably total around $30,000.” Herrera took orders from boutiques such as Moon Cake in Atlanta; The Phoenix in Richmond, Va., and Under One Roof in Brooklyn.
“These buyers really get what’s going on,” Herrera said. “They’re very complimentary, and I’ve had the opportunity get some really great accounts.”