Buyers Seeking Edgy Styles See Mostly Staples

Retailers at the Los Angeles Majors Market wanted vendors to be daring.

Among the few new looks at the trade event were dolman and kimono sleeves, as well as flares and wider legs on jeans and pants. Eco-friendly fashion — particularly Ts and tops made of organic cotton — continued to gain traction with some retailers.

Nonetheless, some styles have become staples in teenage girls’ closets. Take the skinny jean. New York-based Ethanol Jeans, which is making its debut in the denim category with a line wholesaling from $15 to $21, said a popular look was a $16.50 skinny silhouette marked by yellow contrast stitching, bold whiskers and a dirty tint. At Bongo, which is owned by Iconix Brand Group, leg openings measuring 12 inches or smaller were hot.

Clean looks lost out to distressed denim, and gray washes grew in popularity, although there appeared to be a push for acid wash, as well.

“We’re picking up acid and gray wash for b-t-s,” said Emma Dixon, a buyer for Portland, Ore.-based Fred Meyer Stores, a 120-store chain owned by Kroger. “We expect miniskirts will do well for b-t-s.”

Denim brands also experimented with vests, which wholesale for around $14 at YMI, between $12 and $15 at Bongo and $16 at Paris Blues. “Everyone bought into the vest,” said Kimberly Lee Minor, Bongo’s vice president of brand management. “With white shirts and ties being so important, vests are perfect to complete the look.”

Barbara Fields, who heads her namesake buying office, predicted that structured jackets — from double-breasted peacoats and military-style cover-ups to trenches, anoraks and biker styles — would be a major trend for fall.

Z. Cavaricci design director Nancy Tarankow said the City of Commerce, Calif.-based brand was betting on jackets wholesaling from $18 to $30, particularly its novelty blazers. “They merchandise well with floral tops and dresses,” she said.

Junior brand Miss Chievous capitalized on the interest in leather jackets by interpreting a moto-style silhouette in a houndstooth-print French terry with a funnel neck, detachable hood and $30 retail tag.

For vendors hoping to dress the mothers of junior shoppers, novelty was key. Mac & Jac presented its holiday lineup, including an $89.50 double-breasted ivory coat displaying a honeycomb-like weave and a $59.50 raglan-sleeve dress that was dip-dyed to fade from black to blue to ivory. Mac & Jac’s sales director Michele Sachs said discerning retailers sought special pieces. “That’s why we put novelty in our line. Every piece can sell on its own,” Sachs said.
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