Retailers shopped Fame at the Javits Center for immediates and holiday merchandise with renewed vigor.
Coming off a strong July, most retailers surveyed said they were seeking young contemporary and junior tops, pants and dresses to enliven their fall-holiday assortments. Some 600 lines were on display, up 6.9 percent from last August’s show, said Britton Jones, president and chief executive officer of Business Journals Inc., the show’s sponsor. Traffic at the close of the three-day show was up 4.2 percent from a year ago. Jones said Fame will launch two new editions going forward: September and February, which will be more contemporary oriented and will bring the total number of Fame shows to five. This show, held Aug. 1 to 3, was located in a new area of the exhibition hall — Javits North — and featured hip music and a spacious layout, and had a lot of buzz.
“I think the show is young, fun and has an energy that is uplifting,” said Mary Hughes, co-owner of H.O.B.O., a 2,400-square-foot boutique in Edina, Minn. “We’re looking for color, prints and new silhouettes, especially in pants, to revive the classics. We’re loving the cargo pants.” Among the vendors she was particularly excited about were The Addison Story, Sugar Lips and Alternative Apparel. Hughes said H.O.B.O. caters to both mother and daughter, and therefore she was shopping Fame “for the daughter,” while her co-partners in the business (her daughter and husband) shopped Intermezzo “for the mother.”
“We had an excellent July. We’re up double digits,” said Hughes.
Susan Morreale, who was at Fame with her daughter, Ciara, was searching for holiday tops, “particularly special pieces” for her boutique, Lotions and Potions, based in Buffalo, N.Y. After placing orders at the Ya Inc. booth, which was packed with retailers, Morreale said, “We’re looking for a lot of embellishments, such as roses and flowers, and the jewel tones are beautiful.”
“I like the taupe-y colors,” added her daughter.
Morreale’s 800-square-foot store, in a Victorian-style building, carries very romantic clothing, as well as custom-blend fragrances, jewelry, lingerie and handbags.
Lynn Cohen, who owns a boutique called Runway Collection in SoHo, said she was finding “great faux pieces and pleather” at Fame. She said it was nice to see the return of the sweater and the mixture of all different textures. She bought a few pieces at The Addison Story and was buying some pieces at Juno, such as a studded body-fitted dress and a micro-suede trench. Amanda Loureiro, owner of Dusty Buttons, a 260-square-foot boutique in the East Village in New York, said she was shopping for U.S.-made merchandise “but it gets difficult.” She said she also bought a line from Colombia, and vintagey dresses from Many Belles Down. Those dresses had low backs with buttons down the back. She also bought high-waisted skirts with pockets.
“They’re very Eighties,” she added.
Several vendors surveyed said they had written a lot of orders at Fame. “It’s been pretty busy. We opened a lot of new stores,” said Joy Escandon, national sales manager of Funky Junque, an accessories firm. She was having particular success with the jewel-wire collection of wrap bracelets and beaded earrings. She said she opened several new accounts from across the country, as well as Colombia, Panama and Mexico.
The Addison Story, for example, a one-year-old resource that makes young contemporary dresses and tops that are both edgy and girly, was bustling with retailers during the show. The line wholesales from $30 to $70 and sells to such stores as Olive & Bette’s, Nordstrom, Mod Cloth and Oak.
Mike Um, owner of Vitta Luna, said traffic wasn’t great but he managed to open several new accounts. “Hopefully, the September market will be better because it coincides with the Coterie show,” he said. Among some of his new accounts were Nirvana and Mr. Charles. “We’re selling a lot of thin sweaters for transition,” he said. “We sell tops, dresses and sweaters, but the tops and sweaters have been selling the best.”