This story first appeared in the August 5, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Exhibitors at Nouveau Collective, which ended its three-day run at The New Yorker Hotel on Tuesday, said there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Neil Peskin, sales manager for the Mel & Lisa collection, said business has been picking up this summer, and he has seen an increase in immediate orders. “The items that got into stores early are selling, and the stores are asking for more,” said Peskin, who was selling the brand’s sophisticated nylon outerwear and nautical sweaters at wholesale prices from $35 to $99. “There are customers who are looking for fashion at a good price.”
Mary Johansson, sales manager at the Spencer, N.Y.-based label Flax, echoed the sentiment. “I think that for a lot of stores, spring and summer has picked up a little, and they are now looking for immediate goods,” Johansson said. Flax, which wholesales for about $20 to $50, introduced a new linen gauze collection, and Johansson said stores have reacted well to the sophistication of the treatment. Kathleen A. Gerold, president of Islip, N.Y.-based sweater company BKg & Co. New York Inc., said trompe l’oeil effects on sweaters add a novelty value to existing silhouettes. She also launched a line called the “90-Calorie Snack Sweaters” — a mix of colorful sweaters in more tailored silhouettes. “I have been asked to make sweaters for a more fit person,” Gerold said of the line, which wholesales for about $40 on average.
Marty Danis, a manufacturers’ representative for the Mid-Atlantic region, brought five lines to the show: Magdalena, Margaret Winters, Izumi, Cocoon House and Impulse. “Stores are starting to see a resurgence of the customer coming out,” Danis said. “Up until this point, shoppers were holding back, but nothing has changed for many of them, and they said, ‘Why not shop?’”
There were few buyers on Monday morning, but vendors pointed to Nouveau Collective initiatives such as Late Night Shopping With Wine and Cheese and Margarita Night as effective ways to lure stores to the show. The Nouveau Collective has been a regular at The New Yorker hotel for many years, but change is in the air come the next edition, scheduled from Sept. 22 to 24. The show will move to Penn Pavilion, located at 401 Seventh Avenue, at 33rd Street.
— Marc Karimzadeh