Trade Show Report

Fashion Market Northern California Sees Big Business for Immediates

By Andrew Asch Retail Editor

Exhibitors at Fashion Market Northern California at the San Mateo County Event Center in San Mateo, Calif., said retailers were buying closer to season as Immediates made up a good part of orders placed during the show.

Vendors estimated that one-third to a majority of their orders were made up of Immediates during the April 14–16 event. Lynne Andresevic of the Crayola Sisters showroom, which represents Caraucci and Vanité Couture from its Northern California headquarters, estimated that almost all of her show business was Immediates. “It has to do with a change in the weather,” she said of the wet, rainy season in and around San Francisco. “People have held off buying Spring [until now].”


Carmen Barros, founder of the San Francisco–headquartered Dance In Paris label, estimated that 70 percent of her show’s business was made up of Immediates brought on by the recent appearance of the sun. “It’s great. I have Spring clothes in stock. It’s a good way of getting rid of everything,” she said.

FMNC show management anticipated that Immediates orders were going to be a big deal. For the first time for the five-times-a-year event, the trade show’s programs did not list a specific season that vendors were supposed to focus on, said Mary Taft, the show’s executive director. In the past, the FMNC’s April shows focused on Fall styles.

“We didn’t want to buttonhole the buyer,” Taft said. “We’re saying that there will be a lot of people selling Spring and Summer.” New to the show was an improved buyers’ lounge. A set designer was hired to create a more festive area. A photo booth for posting images on social media was also installed. Taft said that signage was improved at the show’s entry to make buyers feel more welcome.

This season, the show was almost sold out, Taft said, with 210 vendors filling 98 percent of the booths, which included established and new lines of women’s clothing. At every show, about 10 percent of the vendors are new.

One of those new vendors was Dear John Denim, headquartered in El Monte, Calif. Dear John Denim offers bottoms known for stretch fabric at an opening retail price of $88. Matt Boelk, the brand’s sales manager, said he met his business forecast for his first FMNC show. He opened eight new accounts and predicted that his brand will exhibit at more FMNC shows because it is crucial to do trade shows in Northern California.

“There is good business in Northern California,” he said. “But it is laborious to travel. Getting from Santa Cruz to the Napa Valley is a four-hour drive.”

Sales and show traffic were good, said Ute Weg mann of the Los Angeles–based Ute and Jim’s Showroom, which represents accessories lines including Fraas and Sun ’N’ Sand. She said that she was busy with appointments throughout the show.

California retailers shopping the show included Urban Indigo of Oakland, I-Elle of Yountville, McCaulou’s of Lafayette, Pacific Trading Co. of Santa Cruz and Directions of Mt. Shasta.