Buyers Tentative at Dallas Market
By Holly Haber
DALLAS — There was an uneven mood among buyers at the Dallas Market Center’s market that ended Aug. 19. While there were pockets of optimism, presidential election jitters made many retailers cautious.
Fall and holiday accessories were a priority, such as animal skin handbags, mixed metal jewelry, leather cuffs and semiprecious stack bracelets. Buyers also were pleased to see color return for the second consecutive spring season, from pastels in December deliveries to later shipments of hot pink, orange, emerald, lime, yellow and aqua.
“It was a mixed bag,” said Brad Hughes, whose showroom is the largest at FashionCenterDallas. “We were about even with last year, but traffic seemed more spotty. A lot of people were still looking at holiday and waiting to see what fall [business] does. The only people who wanted to look at spring were bridge stores.”
Designer Sharon Young said, “We just have to guess on our projections now because people wait so late to buy. I think retail is teeter-tottering on the election.”
Stacy Hicks, contemporary buyer for NM Direct, scouted for colorful spring goods, pronouncing Talulah’s dresses as “supercute.”
“I’m looking for novelty and things that pop — bright, fun, happy colors,” Hicks said. “I hope there is neon again for spring. It’s very visual for online.”
Linda Reeves, owner of Signatures better-to-bridge boutique in Monroe, La., pared down her budget 25 percent and stuck to reliable resources, including Simon Sebbag jewelry, Suzi Roher belts, Donald Pliner shoes and Sisters item sweaters.
“I don’t want to be overbought,” Reeves said. “I’m waiting until the election to see what the stock market does, because if it’s down that affects my clients.”
But there were bright spots at both the high and low ends.
Specializing in forgiving but chic clothing for women over 40 is working well for Andrea Sher-Leff, owner of Wear Art Thou in Austin, Tex. Sales are up 20 percent and so was her budget, said Sher-Leff, who opened the store four years ago.
“It’s better to bridge with an artistic flair,’ said Sher-Leff, as she filled in her fall and holiday buy with cotton T-shirts and matte jersey tops by Planet.
“We’re up 15 percent this year,” added Lauren Grossman, owner and designer of Planet, which has had a corporate showroom at DMC for 15 years. “We’re in a niche market. We don’t care about juniors or young mommies. It’s sizeless, ageless, seasonless and timeless.”
Sales of young contemporary styles retailing under $100 have doubled for Brooke Winings, who has operated The Iron Monkey in Dalhart, Tex., for two years and opened Plain Jane in Amarillo, Tex., last spring. She sought immediate deliveries of items by Umgee, Elan, Vava and Ya, as well as skinny jeans and fake leather motorcycle jackets by Kut Denim.
“I’m always looking for things that they can throw on with cowboy boots or sandals, lots of lace and crochet,” she said.
In the Scene temporary show, 50 Colombian designers presented a broad array of fashion, including draped knitwear, detailed sportswear, leather handbags and colorful bikini swimwear.
“I like that the boutiques come here,” said designer Carolina Garza, who presented Souza Welch leather bags. “They make small orders, but there are many of them.”
“The objective of the mission was fully achieved as the companies had the chance to showcase their products and brands to buyers who showed great acceptance to the products,” said Sylvia Reyes, director of textiles and apparel for Proexport, a promotional arm of Colombia’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism. “Proexport is thrilled.”
“Our special pavilion of international designers from Colombia was a highlight of Market,” said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer, Dallas Market Center. “In October, we look forward to hosting a strong collection of designers from across Italy and Canada.”
Skinny and chain belts
Semiprecious stack bracelets
Statement and pendant necklaces
Citrus and sherbet hues
Skinny pants and jeans