New markets in Dallas make city fashionable again

March 2004
New markets in Dallas make city fashionable again

Associated Press

DALLAS — Even though she's just a few hours away from Dallas, retailer Katy Culmo bypassed that city for several years when shopping for merchandise for her two clothing boutiques in Austin. Instead she went to New York and Los Angeles.

The reason was simple: She couldn't get the brands she wanted in Dallas.

Now she can.

She was lured back to Dallas in January for the grand opening of the Fashion Industry Gallery, which caters to buyers for upscale clothing stores, such as Culmo's By George boutiques. "A lot of my favorite showrooms that I do business with in Los Angeles now do business there," Culmo said.

And she'll return this week to check out the new $21 million FashionCenterDallas, which opens today as part of a five-day women's and children's apparel and accessories wholesale market for retail buyers. FashionCenterDallas is located on the 7th, 14th and 15th floors of the World Trade Center building in the Dallas Market Center complex.

About 20,000 people are expected to make their way through FashionCenterDallas this week, shopping for everything from Juicy Couture to Eileen Fisher to Wrangler, said Cole Daugherty, spokesman for Dallas Market Center, a cluster of buildings where more than 50 markets are held during the year.

Dallas, along with Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta, offer fashion markets throughout the year, but Dallas had lost some of its shine in recent years.

"Now it's all about Dallas claiming its rightful spot in the fashion field," said John Sughrue, chief executive officer of the Fashion Industry Gallery.


In January, about 1,500 people attended the Fashion Industry Gallery's opening, and twice as many are expected for the market that opens today. The gallery is located on the first floor of the Southwest Plaza building on Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas and is a more intimate alternative to the FashionCenterDallas in the World Trade Center.

The Fashion Industry Gallery is much smaller than FashionCenterDallas, carrying about 600 to 800 lines, compared with more than 12,000. But that's just the way developers wanted it.

"The industry has been looking for this kind of venue in Dallas for many, many years," Sughrue said. "The world's changed a lot since the days of the mega-mart."

With high-end brands like Tommy Bahama, Nicole Miller, Trina Turk and Tracy Reese, the Fashion Industry Gallery targets a select group of buyers, while FashionCenterDallas appeals to retailers from department store chains to small boutiques.