I was talking to a top retailer after Vegas who told me this: “I saw lots of great stuff at the shows but since business is tough and the economic outlook uncertain, I’m not about to risk anything new…”
Needless to say, I beg to differ. Now is the perfect time for retailers to test new collections, to focus on color and slim-fit and key items (softcoats, bracelets, bags), especially key items that can generate extra margin! If business as usual is putting customers to sleep, why not shake it up a bit? Consider the following, all seen at the Vegas shows:
**The new JKT collection at Triluxe: we especially loved the soft enzyme washed cotton/linen blends ($158 cost) and seersuckers ($118). According to Michael Wheelan, “We studied all the hot European brands like Boglioli, Lubiam, Paul Smith and Cucinelli, and figured out how capture that European sensibility at a price. We’ve opened 200+ stores our first season…”
**Great items at Asaf Ganot included this perforated Napa leather jacket at $551 wholesale ($1,575 suggested retail) and a herringbone denim softcoat at $184 wholesale, suggested retail $525.
** Loved Lenor Romano’s reversible pima knits, $67 cost for suggested retails $145-$160.
**Also loved Bugatchi’s colorful suede loafers and sneakers, a great value at $60- $75 cost.
**Outerwear and sportswear from Gruppo Bravo were amazingly priced. Beautiful wovens (all cotton linen-look shirts wholesale at $20), knits and colorful five-pocket cotton canvas trousers ($29.90 cost) can easily be marked up three times! Also exceptional: expensive-looking outerwear at $69.90 cost!
**Threads for Thought: Many great items in organic cotton and other eco-friendly fibers. Loved this ultra-soft hoodie at $7.20 cost ($38 suggested retail) shown here by Jonathan Wiesner.
**Famous for their dress shirts, Lipson showed a fabulous collection of very upscale, colorful, soft woven sport shirts, all to retail under $200 ($75-$86 cost).
**According to Seth and Gary, Report Collection’s fancy linen shirts (in photo) were on virtually every order. $42 cost for a suggested retail of $125.
**XMI showed some very innovative and sophisticated plaid shirts with great margin potential, $48.50 wholesale.
** Already famous for gorgeous knitwear at great margins, Raffi upheld his reputation for spring 2013. Consider his quintessential knit polo ($40-$42 cost, suggested retail $125), a great reversible V-neck ($39.50, also $125 suggested retail), or the perfect V-neck tee ($28.50 for $79-$89 MSRP). In photo, cotton knit sweaters.
**Color was key at Vicomte A. A perfect cardigan was $58 cost. Loved the swimsuits ($31 cost) and matching towels ($35 cost) as well as St Tropez-inspired Peruvian cotton polos, soft linen shirts and (my favorite) a soft pima cotton shirt with epaulettes in a luscious shade of raspberry!
**Sperry belts and bags were hot at Tandy: $45-$65 on the men’s belts; canvas bags retailed for $175, leathers at $295-$395. (In photo: Rob McCarten and Rod McGeachy)
**Stone Rose offered gorgeous washed denim with 2 percent stretch: $55 cost for $145 suggested retail. Also beautiful linens at $63 cost, $150-$165 suggested retails.
**And for those who like their linen wrinkle-resistant, Ross Graison has come up with unique process in which the fabric is enzyme-washed and lightly waxed. Over-dyed enzyme-washed cotton jacquards (in photo) wholesale at $60 for a $175 suggested retail. There are also beautiful white linen shirts in body-sculpted designs, perfect for a spring/summer promotion, catalog or store window.
Finally, here’s me in a Wellensteyn jacket I borrowed to keep warm in the AC. Got so many compliments I might have to buy it! Suggested retail: $299. Their men’s collection is just as fabulous and also value-priced!