SHOWS, SHOWS, SHOWS!! From Milan to Tokyo, Los Angeles to Beijing, fashion runways are filled with new designs, new ideas, and exciting innovations aimed at seducing the public to buy at all costs. It’s no different in Chicago, where Stylemax – the largest women’s fashion show in the Midwest – recently bowed to surprisingly good buyer response.
Some vendors said business was brisk, others said it was slower than usual, but that they were holding their own, considering the tight economic situation. While apparel was given a lukewarm response in general, accessory items, especially handbags and jewelry, moved remarkably well. Sales here were actually up.
“That part of the business continues to grow,” declared Deanne Millhouse, buyer for Geneseo, a management firm which runs women’s specialty stores in Illinois and Iowa.
Some interesting points to note from Stylemax:
- BUYING HITS CLOSER TO HOME: Susan McCullough, apparel executive for Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.was pleased with the show, attributing good business to the fact that more buyers opted out of going to New York, choosing instead to shop closer to home.
- INTERNET SALES BOUNCE: Another buyer pointed out that reluctance to travel to shows this year is also having a positive impact on Internet sales.
- GOOD LOCATION PAYS DIVIDENDS: Nina Buscemi, co-owner of a women’s store in the affluent Chicago suburb of Winnetka, said that her store’s proximity to a Starbucks helped fuel better sales. “Young mothers meet friends there, and then come to our store and spend several hundred dollars,” she said.
- DARKER COLORS, BOHEMIAN THEMES POP: Buscemi was among many merchandisers ordering merchandise in army green, navy, and black. She was also gung-ho on long, flowing bohemian tie-dye skirts.
LONDON ON MY MIND:
CARTOON THEMES STILL POPULAR: Brit designer Robert-Cary Williams will soon launch a line of hand-printed cartoon tank tops, taking inspiration from a brand new cartoon duo, Scarlett & Crimson, about to hit the “funny” streets. The two main characters wear black and red dresses and are aimed at ‘tween girls. Pay attention to their motifs: skulls, hearts and bats. You can be sure they’ll get more popular in jewelry and other accessory items soon.
ENAMELED JEWELRY COMING ON STRONG
Bright, colorful jewelry is about to hit the fashion corridors for Spring merchandising. The pieces are beautifully enameled and feature some very exciting themes such as American Indian crafts; cute, girlie figurines, like ballerinas; and all kinds of highly creative nature motifs, including lush vines and plentiful floral bouquets.
Among the really hot lacquered colors for Spring: Yellow (yellow, and more yellow), soft and bright medium blue, Hilfiger orange, and a gentle lilac. Red appears here, there, and everywhere as an accent.