BRIGHT COLORS, VIBRANT PRINTS, and jewelry of all sorts — especially anything for the wrist – kicked off the recent Los Angeles trade shows and put buyers in high gear for the fall season. While buying was certainly not rampant, retailers did seem to be less hesitant to put out money on real value items with affordable price tags.
The market included Designers & Agents, Brighte, Focus Apparel & Accessories Show and the showrooms in the California Market Center, Cooper Design Space and the New Mart. With all its names, the Show is relatively small but significant for casual apparel and accessories characteristic of the Los Angeles fantasy capital of the nation. This is, after all, celebrity central!
Novel treatments and distressed denim washes were a major hit here. So were hand crafted details. One product in particular resonated well with attendees: An asymmetric gray t-shirt with lace appliqué on the shoulders.
Monserat De Lucca, a local accessories company, picked up a good deal of attention with a drawstring cross-body handbag with an intricate laced exterior. The action mimicked the general market interest in cross-body bags, expected to be major movers this fall.
Bracelets were important. Big cuffs and new plays on cuff design were hot. Bangles retained their super in-demand position. Interesting charm bracelets, many with keys and geographical images (like Tiffany’s New York or Paris designs) were attractive.
NOTHING PLAIN, NOTHING SIMPLE: THAT APPEARED TO BE THE MESSAGE IN LA. LOOK HERE FOR SOME EXAMPLES:
- Necklace set with mixed strands. Trendy.
- Clear crystal brooch with filigree blossoms. Rich, glamorous!
TRIBAL IMAGES, FLORALS, graphics, tropicals, blurred forms, and surrealist impressions all made impressive inroads in the prints department, appearing on all sorts of apparel and accessories. In many instances, the mantra was print-on-print-on-print, in what may have been considered a chaotic overall look just a few seasons ago, but which today comes off as harmoniously appealing.
The big print tsunami roared across the fashion scene in more ways than one. Consider python print leggings. Or, lacy prints overlaying black jeans. Or, handbags sporting a dozen or more different prints all combined into one. Overall, there were creative improvisations galore, with a marketing mix that was amazing!
This was mainly a casual market, befitting its locale. Denim and jeans were standouts, as was anything that might be created to enhance or amplify the importance of the jean-drive. Mini dresses also came through with verve. Colors here were unusually bright and exciting, sort of revved up blues, pinks, purples, and oranges. Caftan tunics appeared to be making a return visit to the fashion world, with a number of attractive prints in multi-colors and tie-dyes seen as style leaders.
Fabulous Wood Jewelry
IN THE JEWELRY ARENA, wood was a real winner! Sophie Monet, a jewelry line from Venice, California, was outfitted with such offbeat naturals as ebony wood, zebra wood. These then, were overlaid with gold leaf, turquoise, and other materials and fashioned into remarkably rich looking rings and necklaces, all at surprisingly reasonable prices.
“Everybody responds to wood because it is different,” Monet asserted.
Tough business decisions were rampant in Los Angeles, as well. Price was a major consideration for almost all buyers. Vendors displayed a bevy of specialized techniques to keep prices down and sales up. Many sliced wholesale costs considerably so that retailers could keep price tags steady.
PURCHASING CLOSE TO THE SEASON was the modus operandi for many attendees. As one vendor noted, “There hasn’t been much commitment beyond January deliveries.” Lack of long term planning was attributed to the financial uncertainty, poor job creation reports and tepid consumer spending. On the other hand, many suppliers did say that buyers’ tight budget constraints seem to be easing, if slowly. And this, certainly, gave the market a rosier glow than might have been expected.
IF YOU ARE SEARCHING FOR PRODUCTS THAT WILL APPEAL STRONGLY TO VALUE AND PRICE CONSCIOUS CUSTOMERS, YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE:
- Brown agate necklace. Fabulous.
- Bold wholesale fashion bracelet. High fashion!