DALLAS — Fresh energy flowed through Fashion Industry Gallery’s latest edition, as buyers sought new labels and looks, especially bright colors and relaxed lifestyle clothing.

This story first appeared in the November 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Buyer attendance at the three-day show that ended Oct. 24 was the best its been all year and matched October 2008, said Bekah McKee, marketing coordinator.

“Many stores outside of our typical Southwest region were at this show, including a handful of stores from Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio, Florida and Kansas,” McKee said.

Retailers wrote orders for immediate goods to restock their shelves and were more open to testing new resources than they have been since the recession hit, sales representatives said.

“October was my best market this year,” said Suzanne Collier, owner of the S. Collier showroom. “Customers were noticeably more positive. It’s still not easy, after the year we’ve had. We are all working harder than we ever have, but it is paying off and we are seeing a turnaround.”

Miriam Garvey, owner of her namesake store in Fairway, Kan., said, “September and October have been amazing. I’m ready to write orders on things I took notes on at the last show.”

She stopped at Isabella Fiore to review the designer’s metal-mesh handbags with leather handles, which she had liked in August.

“I have the order and I’ll send it in,” she told the sales rep.

Bob Brennan, accessories buyer, chose a mosaic embroidered leather clutch from Fiore, colorful chunky necklaces by Gerard Yosca and sterling and turquoise jewelry for Tres Mariposas in El Paso, Tex.

“There is a lot of detail in handbags,” he said. “The jewelry business has been strong even in a down economy because it’s a way to make an outfit look new.”

FIG specializes in contemporary styles and some buyers were pleased to see a bigger selection of hip looks that don’t require the perfect body.

“Everything is not so young, which is a good thing because they don’t have the money,” said Todd Weinhaus, as he reviewed Splendid with his mother, Bunne, for their Pulse boutique in St. Louis.

There also were plenty of sleek styles. Sharise Neil, co-owner of the Pink Polka Dot brand, introduced a line of teeny bikinis called Kandy Wrappers wholesaling from $29 to $49. FIG featured the line Friday evening at a cocktail party in its lobby.

“We’re doing economy friendly,” said Neil, as a model posed in a ruffled hot pink number. “We’re doing very well this year. We got some big accounts like Bloomingdale’s to float us through. Some of the little stores have had trouble paying.”

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