Easy-to-wear, affordable dresses and relaxed sportswear were key items with buyers attending the MODA and Fame trade shows.
Both events ran from July 31 through Aug. 2 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Some speculated that shoppers’ wariness about spending may be due to the U.S. presidential election or worries over job security. But several retailers said consumers won’t worry about price if they find whatever they define as different from the norm.
Sara Alizo, buyer for the Susana boutique in Ponce, Puerto Rico, was looking for “a bit of everything” — shorts, tops, dresses — for fall and holiday. L’atiste is a popular show resource, she said. Shoppers like what they won’t find in area malls, especially items that wholesale from $20 to $50. The threat of the Zika virus in Puerto Rico has not drastically affected business or tourism, according to Alizo, who said the media has overstated the danger.
Buying for her family’s 90-year-old boutique, Yudofsky Fur & Leather, Joy Yudofsky said the economy in Louisville, Ky., is consistent thanks partially to hubs for Ford, GE and UPS. Relocating to a different shopping center has also boosted her business. Like several other buyers, she said she “doesn’t go for labels” but is more inclined to buy based on styles. That said, she was looking for a variety of fall items including fur-trimmed accessories.
At the People Project LA, trade show manager Mario Gonzalez said many retailers seemed to have “under bought” at the last show and were trying to offset that with fall orders for tops, sweaters and to a lesser degree pants and skirts. East Coast stores were more tentative about spending than retailers from other regions of the country. Atlanta is particularly strong, due to incentives from the film industry, he said.
Noting how “the whole boho thing” suits their Woodstock, N.Y., store, the Bethel Woods Museum Store, wife-and-husband duo Joan York and Lance Walsky planned to pick up fringe-detailed and hippie items from M. Rena and Rebecca & Rifka hats, among others. They noted the facility has on-site seasonal camping for 15,000, an average of 100,000 annual museum visitors and numerous concerts like Mysteryland that help attract 250,000 total yearly visitors. With the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival approaching in 2019, the pair are developing a private label collection of an oversize denim jacket, water bottles, shot glasses and other items.
Kellise Aristyl, owner of High-End Divas in Flatbush, N.Y., said shoppers don’t look at price tags when something “wows” them. “As long as they are shopping for something they will wear to go out at night and it makes them look nice, they will spend,” she said.
In search of “very dressy” items that were $39 and up, Aristyl planned to order from vendors like Caribbean Queen. “It can’t be anything that people are accustomed to seeing,” she said. Kings Theatre and the Barclays Center have helped to revitalize her store’s Brooklyn neighborhood and has attracted more retailers to the area. Aristyl estimated that annual sales are running 10 percent ahead of last year.
Ricka Tijerina was scouting fall and winter trends at both shows for her mother’s store Renee’s of Sharyland, which has two stores in Mission and South Padre, Tex. Light blue, stripes, rompers and two-piece sets were the trends she liked. Geared for mothers and daughters between the ages of 15 and 60, the retailer is seeing demand for daytime and evening dresses in its stores.
The retailer will launch an online store in the next few months. “That’s where everything is heading,” Tijerina said.
Noting the local economy is “not good,” Jinok Park, owner of Gusset in West Nyack, N.Y., said she hoped to open another store next year in White Plains. Her current customer base is buying pants and dresses, which are easy to wear. Dreamers by Debut was one of the resources she expected to check out for immediate and fall, with sportswear that retails from $30 to $60.