Majors Market Buzzing
The 2015 Back-to-School season was considered a disappointment for much of the juniors market, but the future looks bright, according to many of the exhibitors at the April 4–6 run of LA Majors Market, primarily held at the California Market Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Fashion executives and showroom staff reported higher sales and a feeling of optimism at the market, which draws department-store and chain-store buyers.
“It is more active,” Stephen Kim, vice president of sales for juniors brand Rhapsody Clothing Inc., said of the market. “Six months ago, they were shopping; now they are buying.”
Retailers were asking for July 30 and Aug. 30 deliveries. Kim said there was anticipation for the upcoming Back-to-School season.
Traffic was good throughout the market for Stony Apparel Corp., said co-owner Steve Maiman. Alison Budow of Alison Budow Sales Inc. had back-to-back appointments for the market. She also announced a new venture at her showroom. It was the Majors Market debut of Simply Ruby, a line of fashion-driven separates that are manufactured in Mexico and Los Angeles. The line’s silhouettes include blazers, vests and bodysuits.
For Ike Zekaria, co-owner of the retailer Windsor, which is headquartered in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Majors Market exhibitors were offering a number of on-trend looks, including jumpsuits, bodysuits, rompers and products made with suede fabrics. Windsor does business with 504 vendors, but the market’s retail traffic seemed average to Zekaria. The past 12 months have been a time of growth for Windsor, which offers everything from special-occasion dresses to athleisure looks. The retailer opened 50 stores over the past 12 months, bringing the chain’s store count to 125.
Even though the past year or so has been difficult for retail, Zekaria said that those retailers who know their niche will do well. “You have to know the customer,” he said. “If you stay true to the customer, she will respond.”
Other executives also maintained a “stay innovative, stay connected, stay profitable” mantra during market. Michael Godigian, vice president of YMI jeans, introduced the Hyper Flex jean, made out of high-stretch fabric for the athleisure market. Godigian said 2015 was one of the biggest sales years for the Los Angeles–based jeans maker.
“As long as we keep innovative, there is a lot of potential,” he said.
Retailers reportedly seen at market included Belk, Rue 21, Charlotte Russe, Citi Trends, The Wet Seal, Tilly’s, Gordmans, Burlington Coat Factory, Bealls Outlet and Mod Cloth.
Temporary exhibitors on 3
Several large temporary showrooms were set up on the CMC’s third floor for a number of New York–based companies as well as California-based ventures that make the trek in April and October for the Los Angeles Majors Market.
Alexandra Simeone, co-owner of Blue Rope Denim Co., lined the walls of her white space with the various denim styles her company sells. She said the market had been great with retailers such as Bealls Outlet, Windsor, Rue 21, YM Inc. and 10 Spot stopping by.
Popular styles for the Fall/Winter season, she said, were butt-lift jeans, ripped denim and girlfriend-style silhouettes that are slightly less boxy than the boyfriend jeans. “Retailers are doing a lot of roll-up cuffs with blue-jeans lengths being at 27 inches,” she said, noting that cuffs ranged from a 1½-inch to ½-inch thickness. “Rips and tears are still big.”
With the company’s own factory in Guangzhou, China, wholesale prices are kept low at $11.50 to $12.50 for the Blue Rope label and at $9 to $10 for the company’s less expensive Pink Label.
Dollhouse, another blue-jeans label from New York, also rented a temporary showroom where sales manager Lorena Loor-Lujambio was showing the various styles manufactured by the juniors division of BBC Apparel. Wholesale prices ranged from $11 to $14.50.
“The market was very exciting. We had great reactions to our key styles, which were crops, roll-ups, boyfriends, sexy boyfriends and skinny, destroyed color jeans,” she said. “Denim jackets were huge in volume.”
She saw several chain stores such as Charlotte Russe, The Wet Seal and Rue 21.
Strength is still in the skinny jeans, Loor-Lujambio said, even though many manufacturers have flare jeans in their lineup. “People have been resistant to adopting the flares,” she observed.
All kinds of clothes—including Christmas sweaters—were hanging on dozens of racks in the temporary showroom for The Golden Touch Group, a New York company that has labels including Planet Gold, Derek Heart, Golden Touch, Rose Harlow and Allison Brittney, covering just about every category.
Account Executive Allison Conrads said buyers who made appointments were stopping by as were off-price discounters.
Retailers said that Easter sales had been down but there are positive reads on spring. “We are even starting to sell sweaters for fall and Christmas,” Conrads said. “It is very price-driven, and retailers are buying fashion basics.”
Popular fashion basics were leggings, tank tops and certain kinds of dresses, such as the trapeze dress and dresses with shirt-tail hems.”
Stores that stopped by included the Buckle, Stage Stores, Belk, Styles For Less, Walmart and Macy’s.
At the Jerry Leigh showroom, Michelle Roback, vice president of juniors sales, said she had had a great market. Buyers were looking at the various licensed T-shirts produced by Jerry Leigh, based in Van Nuys, Calif., as well as at the company’s licensed Dickies juniorswear and labels Modern Lux and David Lerner. “I had Kohl’s here all day yesterday, and Target was here last week,” she said.