Trade Show Report
European Collections, Domestic Lines and Artisanal Accessories
By Christina Aanestad | Thursday, April 23, 2015
SAN MATEO, CALIF.—Retailers on the hunt for Summer and Fall merchandise at the April 12–14 run of Fashion Market Northern California at the San Mateo Event Center arrived at the show looking for unusual pieces at boutique prices.
“We’re looking for interesting, moderately priced, fun items you don’t find at the mall,” said Holly Hill, owner of the women’s boutique Holly Hill in San Carlos, Calif. She had a long list of vendors to visit and place orders with at the trade show.
“We always find more than we can buy,” said Hill, who has attended FMNC for the last four years. This time, she ordered from two Montreal-based and Italian-made lines, Angela Mara and M Made in Italy. Both retail for $125 to $150.
Spencer Veera, showroom manager for the Bernadette Mopera & Co. showroom in Los Angeles, was showing eight clothing lines at FMNC. “Our European brands operate further ahead, so they’re booking for Winter,” said Veera, who booked orders for three made-in-Spain brands, Kling, Lavand and Pepaloves. Kling is retail priced from $65 to $300 while retail prices for Lavand and Pepaloves range from $40 to $75.
Veera’s domestic lines included Living Royal, a line of digitally printed novelty socks made in Chicago that retail for $8 to $15, and three women’s tomboy fashion collections, Tractr, Joe and The Boys.All three lines offer women a relaxed, casual look with plaid and button-up work shirts, denim jackets and jeans. Joe ranges in retail price from $40 to $80 while its sister line, The Boys, retails from $80 to $90.
Christine Mewha, owner of the women’s boutique Sottovoce in Berkeley, Calif., said she used to carry primarily high-end lines. Since the Great Recession, Mewha has diversified her store to include more moderately priced fashions, accessories and gifts. Whatever her needs are, Mewha said, she finds them at FMNC.
“I’ve been buying at this show for 36 years,” she said. “I’m a lifer here—I’m loyal to my sales reps.”
This was the first time at the show for Tarin Brouillette, a sales representative for Kippys, the Coronado, Calif.–based maker of embellished leather jackets, handbags and belts made in Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego. Jackets are retail priced from $1,200 to $3,000, belts from $300 to $500, and handbags from $600 to $1,400.
Brouillette said she landed a new account but said next time she would bring a different mix of product.
“Buyers are looking for less flash,” she said, adding that some of Kippy’s toned-down leather pieces may be a better fit with the casual looks of Northern California.
This was the second time at FMNC for Scottsdale, Ariz.–based Linda Lee Pratico, who makes handmade, fine pearl jewelry under the Linda Lee Pratico label. “I’ve had a few reorders and new orders—I’m pleased,” she said.
Pratico’s one-of-a-kind pearl jewelry is accentuated with semiprecious gem stones and crystals. A certified pearl grader, Pratico displayed a full array of freshwater pearls including baroques, southern sea and akoya. Her pieces, which retail from $75 to $6,000, are sold in higher-end boutiques and art galleries.
“My customer is sophisticated; my look is sophisticated in an artful way,” she said.
Lynne Andresevic, a sales representative based in Benicia, Calif., for the Crayola Sisters showroom, said she landed 35 orders for her lines, including Barbosa, a moderate to high-end accessories line of jewelry and belts made in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
“It’s all silver- or gold-plated over German silver, inspired by Mexican folk art—Day of the Dead, Frida Kahlo—for men and women,” Andresevic said. Retail prices range from $60 for earrings up to $600 for metal and leather belts accented with semiprecious stones.
Andresevic also showed five clothing lines, including Vanite Couture, a contemporary women’s line; Saga, a Los Angeles–based line inspired by European and South American designs; and Hanna for La Journee, a contemporary European collection.