Fashion Industry Gallery Makes Debut

February 2004
Fashion Industry Gallery Makes Debut

Fashion Industry Gallery held its first show featuring 36 permanent showrooms.

Photo Credit: George Henson

By Holly Haber

DALLAS — Fashion Industry Gallery opened its doors downtown here last month with little fanfare but lots of buzz.

With its airy, loft-like atmosphere and concentration on contemporary and bridge collections, FIG bustled as buyers came to check out the new wholesale venue.

“I love the whole concept and the design,” said Mark Lawson, contemporary buyer for NM Direct, who brought his assistants to the opening night cocktail party. “It makes me want to come to shop.”

Designed as a boutique mart, FIG bowed with 36 showrooms arranged in a figure-eight layout, including Terry Sahagen Sales, Apropo and Poleci. Organizers also brought in a number of temporary lines for the opening, such as Miguel Ases, Rebecca Taylor and T 21.

“There are some great lines here and I love the simplicity of the layout,” said Donna Chalker, owner of Avant here, as she wrote orders for colorful Zokai novelty tops and Parameter sportswear. “I’ve been looking for jeans with a higher rise, and I found it at Christopher Blue.”

“We had a highly successful show with more buyers than we anticipated,” said John Sughrue, chief executive of FIG and building owner Brook Partners, although he declined to provide specific numbers.

“We had the best January market we’ve ever had,” said Kathy Swaney, a partner in the Kathy & Jo showroom, which shows Parameter and other lines. “I bet half the people that wrote Parameter were new accounts.”

Reagan Roberts and Sari Turner, owners of Nanette Kadair Ltd. in Baton Rouge, were shopping for deliveries from April through June plus some early fall from lines that offered incentives. They picked up several labels that were new to their store: Tracy Reese, Milly and Rebecca Taylor as well as Disney vintage T-shirts with images of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Tinkerbell tricked up with crystals.

“The Disney tops sort of bring out your childhood,” Turner said. “And everybody wants to put on a great pair of jeans and a fun T-shirt.”

At FIG’s opening cocktail party, Connie Sigel, owner of Elements boutique in Dallas, presented the Dallas Fashion Incubator with a $10,000 check to support its attempt to create a support system for fledgling fashion businesses. The Incubator is expected to be located downtown.