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    Seasonless Looks Lead the Way at Dallas FIG


Seasonless Looks Lead the Way at Dallas FIG

February 7, 2017

Retailers said business has picked up since the election though most kept their open to buys flat.

By Arthur Friedman on February 7, 2017

DALLAS — Looks that transcend seasons appealed to boutique owners at the recent Fashion Industry Gallery three-day market.

The venue specializes in contemporary fashion and accessories, and top trends for spring and summer included stripes, a variety of green and chartreuse hues, white shirts and shirtdresses, ruffles, cutouts and dresses or tops with shoulder and arm details, noted FIG director Emma Mitchell.

“One common denominator of all the trends is how well they will transition into the fall season, which buyers seem acutely aware of as they write orders,” Mitchell added.

Retailers said business has picked up since the election though most kept their open to buys flat.

Sales representative Susie Allen of Mider Group was encouraged by opening eight new accounts for Hanky Panky and reinstating four others that hadn’t bought in at least a year. She also took orders for fall sweaters by Autumn Cashmere.

“People were more energetic,” Allen said. “Prior to this there was that general malaise, but people were stepping right up.”

Traffic was better than usual for the show that ended Jan. 27, which may be partly because so many buyers were still ordering merchandise for spring.

“The markets are changing because they’re buying so close to delivery,” said Christie Danielson, manager of Dakota Showroom.

Market attendance rose 6 percent from a year ago, including 110 stores that hadn’t shopped the venue before, said FIG chief executive officer Matt Roth.

“Given some of the uncertainty in the retail world, I didn’t know what to expect, so I was glad,” Roth said.

Item tops and jackets, whimsical T-shirts, distressed jeans with novelty hemlines and easy dresses continued to dominate orders.

“Everyone has gone so casual, even my customers who work,” said Pamela Rees, owner of Companions in Little Rock.

Rees said sales improved in December and January and she planned a 10 percent increase in 2017.

“People are still buying, it’s just that you’ve got to work it,” Rees said. “I’ve got customers from California and Dallas from my Instagram.”

Diana Tabesh doubled the size of her Dallas store, Planet Bardot, last summer, and is currently adding a second floor to it.

She ordered an entire rack of fall styles from Iro, plus jeans with a staggered hem from Mother and soft leather belts and spike heels by ALC.

“I want to keep it very light and fresh because it’s so hot,” Tabesh said. “At the end of the day it comes down to practicality. It has to be wearable.”

“It’s getting better,” said Susan Slovak, owner of The Blue Artichoke in New Braunfels, Tex., the nation’s second-fastest growing city.

With a flat budget, Slovak shopped for staples including CP Shades and Brightly Twisted, noting that 95 percent of her inventory is American made.

“The price is a little higher, but it makes a difference in return customers because the quality is great,” she said.

Deborah Montgomery and her daughter, Ashley, visited FIG for February deliveries of Lola & Sophie sportswear and Theia jewelry for Beyond Baroque in Dallas. They also placed their first order for Blank London bohemian printed sportswear.

“Dallas is saturated with retail, but we’re very steady,” Deborah Montgomery said.

Concentrating on semiprecious and precious jewelry and handbags, the pair have operated the store for 17 years in the burgeoning Uptown neighborhood despite highly unusual hours: Beyond Baroque opens on most but not all Fridays and Saturdays and by appointment.