Live from D&A: Trends From Our Favorite Trade Show

Here is the latest show report on the trends that stood out during our recent NY Designers & Agents Fall 2009 show. I can say that the overall feeling was one of realistic optimism, not quite the blind faith of the past but surprisingly enthusiastic. Given the current economic culture both designers and retailers have sharpened their pencils. Designers brought a fresh yet refined approach, which was matched by ready, willing, and highly focused retailers. Both sides needed the positive forum that Designers & Agents created to stand eye to eye and move forward. The electricity brought by this tuned in frequency created a positive buzz throughout the three day show. In the end the experience exceeded everyone’s expectations. Orders were written and placed, with many retailers filling in summer deliveries, which was definitely a good sign.


TRENDS: Yes, it was a big accessory season! This is always the case when one desires a big bang for their buck. Accessories appear to be the least guilt ridden category these days.


• Jewelry sparkled, it ran the gamut from precious metals with dainty semi precious stones to bold and multi layered bling bling.


• Gloves, both short and long made a strong appearance as a fashion item, some with openings to allow for blackberry texting


• Handbags were soft and supple, fringed, oversized to small, lots of shoulder length straps, and there were colors across the spectrum.


• Strappy platform sandals wrapped the ankles. Boots were everywhere from ankle height to over the knee. Belts, also strong right now, both were both wide and slim worn high, low and doubled.


• Scarves continue to be strong with woven elements of print and texture.


• Fall neutrals were shown in strength, in particular gray and black, but also included were shots of vivid color. Dresses were evident; shapes were sophisticated, there was an abundance of sheer and silk fabrics. Shine and sequined materials were frequently seen.


• There were lots of layers and lengths to pile on. Shorter jackets over tunics over slim pants. Blouses were often sheer and provided another layering opportunity.


Strong independent items were important, including novelty sweaters and beautiful tops. Loads of soft touch knits taking over from the basic T shirts of the past. Leather looked fresh in the form of skinny pants, strong jackets, and separates. Jackets with a military feel looked new, so did plaids, and wool with velvet and embroidery detailing. Within the collections buyers were not always after the total looks per se, but individual signature pieces that could stand on their own and be merchandised easily. The “investment” piece still had some legs for those who could spend on an item that looks fresh and gives an edge, yet is classic enough to have longevity. Sustainable brands continue to build momentum with larger offerings within each collection. Buyers are seeking out designers and brands that are selective in both their design integrity as well as distribution choices, steering away from those who sell to department stores and shops that play with early markdowns.


Each season Designers & Agents present a press breakfast at which a merchandised selection of looks from participating designers is featured. This season a guest stylist was invited to put their spin on the presentation. Lynn Yaeger, iconic fashion columnist took up the challenge and turned her distinctive style towards creating an inspired mix of fashion looks, highlighted by a host of accessories and her quick wit. Lynn, we want to thank you for sharing your keen eye and wonderful spirit with us at D & A.


Barbara Kramer / Co-founder / Designers&Agents / /