CHICAGO — Energy was upbeat and spring fashion was in the air at the latest edition of Stylemax.
The apparel and accessories trade show, spanning more than 100,000 square feet of booth space on the seventh floor of the Merchandise Mart, took place from Oct. 24 to 27.
The show attracted more than 1,500 lines and 300 exhibitors. In addition, more than 40 upscale brands, including Trina Turk, Plenty by Tracy Reese and Hudson Jeans, participated in the three-day “Exclusive in Chicago” component of the show.
“Both the buyers and exhibitors responded to the positive energy on the show floor,” said Susan Glick, vice president of women’s apparel at the Merchandise Mart. “It was a combination of an array of events, a strong social media push and, most importantly, the right contemporary brands that drove the traffic.”
Glick was pleased with the strong retailer turnout, saying buyer attendance saw a double-digit increase over the October show last year. “Thirty percent of the retailers were new stores to Stylemax,” Glick said. It’s a “great way to finish our year by seeing so many new retailers.”
Stephanie Bamonte, owner of The Turquoise Hen, a women’s lifestyle boutique in Batesville, Ind., attends Coterie and Intermezzo, but likes the layout and variety at the Merchandise Mart.
“I came here to see Plenty by Tracy Reese dresses and I’ve been speaking to LAmade, so I stopped by to see them,” Bamonte said. “All in all, it was a very good visit. I wrote for spring and immediate as I had a baby in the summer and wasn’t able to hit the winter and holiday shows.”
With the majority of buyers looking for spring and summer, the colorful prints at the Trina Turk booth were selling well.
“Everyone says this is the ‘happy booth,’” said Rosa Bellwood, senior account executive at Trina Turk, adding she saw about 25 stores. “Trina Turk is all about prints so we always do well in spring and summer. We’ve done this show about three or four times, and this is our best show so far.”
In terms of trends, colorful floral dresses, printed tops and shorts, color-blocked sheath dresses, jacquard jackets, and even a solid white jumpsuit, performed the best. Trina Turk retails from $178 for a top to $378 for a dress.
Judging from their reaction on the final day of the show, vendors seemed enthusiastic.
“It’s been a great show. People were coming from all over the Midwest,” said Alex Torres, account executive at Hudson Jeans, noting he saw about 15 to 20 accounts. “Almost everyone ordered spring, but more than a handful added onto their existing orders.”
Torres said the top-selling items included straight-leg cropped jeans with a one-inch cuff and flared jeans, in both full-length and cropped styles. Hudson Jeans retail from $198 to $209.
Kelli Flynn, account executive at BCBGeneration, said the brand is looking forward to expanding the Midwest territory. “It’s been awesome — our best show of the year,” Flynn said, who saw 12 current accounts and four new accounts. “Spring was the focus but because of the weather, this territory is still looking for layering pieces.”