Retailers' shopping lists and purchases were tempered with caution because of uncertainty about the economy, particularly, and consumers' shrinking fashion budgets. Such concerns led many retailers to play it safe and buy merchandise closer to the season.
In FCD showrooms, popular spring and summer looks included denim in a wide range of styles, washes and finishes and novelty gauze and cotton tops with romantic beading, embroidery and embellishments and whimsical styling such as lantern sleeves and Empire seams. Other favorites included abstract, geometric, floral and ethnic prints, such as India-inspired paisleys and Moroccan-style tile prints in bright colors including yellow, green, fuchsia and shades of blue.
For fall, the mood turned romantic with slinky social occasion dresses inspired by the Thirties, sexy secretary suits with shorter skirts and matching blouses, and colorful outerwear, including vibrant raincoats inspired by the colors of the rainbow.
"January market was a successful beginning to the new year," said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer at the Dallas Market Center. "In addition to welcoming new resources, we also received high praise for the newly opened D15TRICT Lounge, an upscale buyers' lounge with sweeping views of downtown located in the heart of the contemporary neighborhood."
Specialty store buyers shopped for lines intended to inspire consumers to spend, as well as for new or exclusive lines that also would make their stores a destination and alternative to the big-box mall scene. Budgets were mostly flat, though a few stores reported increased spending, citing growth in their local economies, among other factors.
Palette Lisy, buyer at Cara's Boutique, a specialty store in Westlake, Ohio, shopped for spring and summer merchandise, including Brighton's leather handbags in a range of shapes, Max Studio's printed tops with lantern sleeves, trenchcoats from Samuel Dong and related separates.
Calli Saitowitz, owner of two BB1 Classic contemporary stores in Houston, bought some spring and summer goods, but mainly shopped for fall.
"We looked for items with a twist and must-have and impulse buys for summer, such as jewelry and belts," Saitowitz said. "For fall, we wanted everything to have a luxury feel."