Jackets were key at Atelier.

Despite fears created by the failed car bomb in Times Square near the show, retailers at Atelier Designers stuck to business.

Despite the anxiety created by a failed car bomb in Times Square on May 1, retailers at Atelier Designers in the nearby Doubletree Suites stuck to the business of trying to freshen up their sales floors.

This story first appeared in the May 26, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The attempted terrorist attack caused some retailers to arrive later than planned at the show, but a need for new merchandise got them there eventually.

Buyers sought a greater assortment of colors and interchangeable pieces, such as pants and jackets, said Alexandra Ilyin, owner and designer of Noblu, a resource at the show, which was held from May 2 to 4. Printed T-shirts were also popular for Noblu at the show, Ilyin said.

People seem to be moving out merchandise and are buying more collections,” Ilyin said.

With more Americans opting to dress down in this volatile and challenging economic period, Lisa Todd, owner of a boutique of the same name in Boca Raton, Fla., was all about finding sportswear items.

“That’s what is selling right now,” she said. “There definitely has been a trend to more casual dressing and much easier special occasion clothes. Having immediate styles in store makes for more spontaneous sales. People are always looking for something novel and fresh in sportswear.”

Sophie Finzi, Lola of San Francisco and Lorain Croft were some of the vendors with whom Todd placed orders. Specializing in plus-size clothing is another way she has built sales.

Attending the show for the first time, Victoria Shorten, who owns a boutique in Cork, Ireland, ordered edgy knitwear from Matti Mamane and belts and jewelry from Yu by Shi Studio. By offering more of these types of pickup items, Shorten said she hopes shoppers will visit her store more frequently rather than seasonally.

Shorten has appeared on local morning TV shows in Ireland to talk about fashion and dressing on-air talent, which has helped to generate interest in her store, she said.

But she hasn’t stopped there.

Among other initiatives, Shorten is participating in multibrand fashion shows and ramping up her online marketing with video blogs to encourage tourists to stay in touch once they return to their homes.

“Business is beginning to pick up,” she said. “People are a little more willing to spend now.”

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