NEW YORK — There appears to be no end in sight to the accessories boom. Vendors at last week’s Accessorie Circuit, AccessoriesTheShow and D&A Annex trade shows were in an upbeat mood as the events set attendance records and resulted in sales increases by up to 25 percent.
Many said the attention paid in celebrity-driven magazines and on the runways to jewelry, handbags, belts and other accessories is propelling the market, as retailers scurry to keep up with the customer’s demand for fast fashion.
“[Customers] want commodity at a faster speed,” said Alexis Bittar, owner of the New York-based jewelry company bearing his name.
Jewelry designer Gerard Yosca said, “I think the attitude has changed. [Buyers] have been tentative about accessories like jewelry in the past. But now they’re charging forward. [The customer] is buying more, and it’s not always items like cashmere sweaters. It’s things like beads.”
Glenn Camché, president of Sondra Roberts, a New York-based handbag firm, said the company saw 25 percent increases over its last show.
“We did some tailored groups, thinking there might be a reaction to all the novelty,” Camché said. “They did sell, but retailers were still buying novelty bags with floral motifs, metallic touches, a lot of embellishment and ethnic-inspired design.”
D&A held its first August show here Monday through Wednesday on West 26th Street, with 1,100 attendees and 60 vendors, one-third of which were accessories exhibitors.
“We were really pleased with the show,” said Ed Mandelbaum, the event’s co-producer. “The show is not about massive traffic. The exhibitors and the traffic are very right for each other.”
AccessoriesTheShow ended its three-day event on Tuesday with a 23 percent increase in visitor traffic from last year. Some 11,000 retailers turned out to shop over 1,300 lines.
“Retailers were still writing orders with exhibitors up to the close of the show, which is not great for our exhibitors but a very positive indicator of the current industry as a whole,” said Britton Jones, chief executive officer at Business Journals Inc., which produces the show.
Accessorie Circuit, produced by ENK International, showcased 468 exhibitors and ran from Tuesday through Thursday at The Show Piers on Manhattan’s West Side. By the second day of the event, visitor traffic for the show and its sister apparel event, Intermezzo Collections, had already surpassed the tally for the previous May edition, with 7,600 attendees. Total traffic figures amounted to a record-breaking 10,000 attendees.
“Retailers came here ready to buy,” said Elyse Kroll, executive director of ENK. “They are seeing new trends pop up. They understand there is a shift and they need to be on it.”
Retailers were turning out in record numbers, often to place orders for immediate delivery.
“I wouldn’t say I saw a lot of newness. I saw a continuation of things I had seen for fall, like metallics and long necklaces,” said Sandra Wilson, accessories fashion director at Neiman Marcus. “But I find the shows helpful because they help me review things I may have forgotten, or they help me to find that one item that I haven’t found before.”
Wilson noted a move toward lighter colors, with whites and blues looking good, especially in handbags.
Dale Lindholm, president of Pure, a multiline accessories showroom in New York, said handbags in turquoise and orange by Junior Drake were performing well, as were new minimally embellished suede belts by B-Low the Belt at wholesale prices of $35 to $110.
“Many of my vendors reported that this was a record show for them,” Lindholm said. “Business was jamming with reorders from the majors.”
Janet Goldman, owner and ceo of Fragments, a multiline showroom and retailer in New York, said buyers were responding to necklaces in more modest 20- and 22-inch lengths, as well as jewelry that played into the trend for natural looks with tigereye and yellow gold. Black also performed strongly, as well as straw handbags by Brazilian designer Serpui Marie.
“We’re happy with the show, because we’re making our plan,” said Goldman. “We are looking at the numbers so far that we can tally, and we’re up 15 percent from last year. We noticed the atmosphere was very upbeat. [Buyers] knew what they wanted, and they found it.”