While New York had to cancel its annual Fashion Week in September because of the terrorist attacks, L.A. plans to go ahead with its Market Week Oct. 8 to 11 showcasing the spring collections of local manufacturers of junior apparel, contemporary wear and swimwear.
Although it won't be exactly business as usual, organizers expect a healthy number of buyers to show up for the fashion shows and buying seminars of big L.A. apparel companies, such as XOXO, Hot Kiss and Lucky Brand Dungarees.
Market Week is usually attended by 4,000 to 5,000 buyers, said Trish Moreno, a spokeswoman for the California Mart, which houses showrooms for manufacturers and is the site of many of the fashion shows and seminars.
"The California market is too important to junior business not to go forward," said Stuart Berman, president of Bregman & Associates;, a consulting firm that employs about a dozen buyers and assistants that work with department stores and specialty stores around the country. "About 95 percent of our clients are coming out."
L.A.'s Market Week actually may take on added importance this year because many buyers who were expected to place orders in New York didn't because of the attacks.
The Sept. 10 to Sept. 15 fashion event in New York was taking place inside large tents set up at Bryant Park. But the shows were canceled immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Major fashion shows by well-known creators like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein were shelved. Some designers showed their collections in their private offices, but many buyers were too shocked to place orders or were trying to take stock of the economic impact left by the attack before buying anything.
New York designers considered rescheduling Fashion Week to the last week of October, but by then, most buyers have done all their buying for the spring season. "Retailers might be a little more eager to come to California now to do business," Berman noted.
Barbara Fields agrees. Her company holds an annual dinner and fashion show attended by buyers from around the world. She is seeing a 25 percent increase in attendance over last year.
"The stores left it up to their individuals buyers to decide if they wanted to come. They can't force them to travel because they all have families and everyone is concerned," said Fields, who heads up Barbara Fields Buying Office located inside the California Mart. "But they've decided to attend, and we have major stores from around the world coming."
Although Fields sees enthusiasm for Market Week, Sandy Richman, co-principal of Directives West, another major buying consultant firm, expects attendance to be off more than 10 percent. "I think people are playing it conservative," said Richman, who also is organizing a junior apparel fashion show at the California Mart.
Also going forward is the annual International Swimwear & Activewear Market fashion show that is a major event for swimwear manufacturers like Authentic Fitness in the City of Industry. It makes swimwear under such labels as Speedo, Cole of California and Anne Cole. Another L.A. swimwear manufacturer, Apparel Ventures, which manufactures swimsuits under names such as Anne Klein, Nautica, OP, and La Blanca, is counting on the fashion show to boost business.
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