Atlanta Apparel Wraps Up Successful Co-Location of Bridal, Apparel & Prom Markets
Social Occasion Categories Continue to Rebound with Robust Order Writing
Atlanta Apparel’s first-ever combination of its Atlanta Apparel market, World of Prom & Social Occasion and VOW | New World of Bridal markets (which ran collectively August 2-7 at AmericasMart Atlanta) inspired buyers preparing for a busy season ahead as recovery continues and created opportunity for new business and continued growth across all sectors of the industry.
“The positive energy was contagious throughout every floor, apparel category and brand,” said Caron Stover, IMC senior vice president, Apparel Leasing. “The hosting of three markets in one location created dynamic new cross-market synergies for buyers and sellers alike.”
While many exhibitors cultivated existing regional accounts at market, many also capitalized on opportunities with new accounts traveling from all regions of the country. Overall, the combined markets welcomed visitors from 48 of the 50 states and recorded 2% growth from the Mid-West. Buyers from 17 countries also attended.
The co-locations of the three markets provided attendees access to more than 700 permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits in AmericasMart Building 3. Excitement was heightened by the return of in-person events including at-market educational programs, networking events and an exclusive runway event showcasing 100+ trending bridal and social fashions.
Atlanta Apparel Experiences Influx of Attendees – Many Cross-Over
Hosting the three separate markets simultaneously introduced a fresh way of sourcing for buyers from all three categories, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from suppliers and buyers alike.
In addition to shopping crossover categories, buyers such as Cami Krablin of Gus Mayer, an apparel and accessories boutique with locations in Birmingham, Ala and Nashville, Tenn, arrived at market ready for spring fashion and accessories.
“I was really focused on accessories this trip and most anyone who was ready with spring,” said Krablin. It helps me to get a head start and pinpoint trends: I am seeing fringe and monochromatic knit dressing, which is awesome!”
Stover commented, “The resources offered throughout Building 3 introduced buyers and exhibitors to categories they may not have otherwise considered. The hybrid August markets delivered a higher volume of orders for many Atlanta Apparel exhibitors.”
“This has been our biggest and best show yet, with the most new accounts by far,” said exhibitor Taylor Harp, owner of jewelry company Taylor Shaye Designs. “I wish I would’ve started showing at Atlanta Apparel sooner, because it’s changed our business for the better.”
Exhibitor Andrew Floyd of New Vintage Wholesale added, “We saw all of our regular boutique clients and a lot more bridal retailers who we may not usually see at an apparel show. More of our buyers came from states outside of our typical southern clientele, with stores from Pennsylvania, California, Iowa, Wisconsin and more.”
Exhibitors welcomed new business opportunities from buyers shopping across categories, such as Lacey Mitchell, owner of Sugar Mama Shimmer, an edible beverage glitter company based in Houston, Texas. The veteran Atlanta Apparel temporary exhibitor found new crossover clients coming to her from bridal and social occasion categories.
“A good 50% of the accounts we have talked to are in the bridal and prom categories which is outside of our typical boutique buyers,” said Mitchell. “We can’t always reach those markets. Atlanta Apparel brought those markets together for us.”
As an added benefit, The Boutique Hub’s 2021 Boutique Summit overlapped the August market. Following the two-day event’s conclusion on August 2, many of the event’s retailers stayed to explore Atlanta Apparel’s permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits
“We had a lot of people come see us from the Boutique Summit event,” said exhibitor McKenzie Brewer, owner of Lauren Kenzie LLC. “After the Boutique Summit on the first day, they all stuck around and the energy was high through the second day.”
The August 2021 Atlanta Apparel market presented 350 temporary exhibits showing some 500+ women’s apparel, accessory and shoe brands showing holiday, resort, winter and immediates and children’s apparel, accessories and gifts lines showing Spring/Summer new introductions. The next Atlanta Apparel will be October 12-16, 2021, at AmericasMart Atlanta.
VOW | New World of Bridal and World of Prom & Social Occasion Optimistic in Recovery
The combined VOW | New World of Bridal and World of Prom & Social Occasion showcased the breadth and depth of Atlanta Apparel’s formal fashion offerings and welcomed eager social occasion and bridal buyers back to market. For the first time since the pandemic, markets resumed in-person education and fashion events, both of which are staples of the Atlanta bridal and social occasion market experience.
“Although the bridal and social occasion industries are still in recovery, buyers and exhibitors are gearing up to address pent-up demand at the consumer level,” said Stover. “Many exhibitors reported orders at larger volumes than ever before.”
Bridal and social occasion buyers were writing orders across both categories with many brands reporting record sales volumes across a global client base.
“This show has been great. The buyers who came were buying more than normal,” said exhibitor Maribel Diaz, owner of Lotus Threads Bridal. “We wrote our biggest numbers we have ever written this time at Atlanta Apparel and broke our biggest record by far.”
“This has been our best show yet, especially coming out of a pandemic,” said exhibitor Sunny Rawal, owner of Primavera Couture evening wear. “We have met so many people and it feels great to be back. I was even surprised to see people from Canada here, and a few from the Middle East.”
The August 2021 VOW and World of Prom markets presented some 110+ lines featuring bridal, mother of the bride, wedding party, special occasion, quinceañera, men’s formalwear, accessories and more.
Fashion Show Return Showcases a Broad Range of Social Occasion Styles
The market’s hallmark fashion show returned from a one-market hiatus, filling the Fashion Theater to capacity, with buyers and brands brimming with excitement to be back in person and previewing upcoming trends.
“The Fashion Theater was standing room only just minutes after opening the doors,” said Morgan Ramage, Atlanta Apparel’s fashion director. “We were so excited to welcome everyone back to in-person events, especially to showcase and celebrate the recovery in bridal, prom and social occasion.”
Bridal trends from the fashion show include royal styles: ballgowns, feathers, fringe and exaggerated sleeves, bows, corsets, lots of tulle, slip dresses and more. White was the most popular wedding dress color, with black becoming a bigger contender for upcoming seasons.In prom and social occasion, trends included high legs slits, sleeves, bold-color sequins, ballgowns, and cool colors with an emphasis on icy blues and lavender purples. Atlanta Apparel’s eight yearly markets feature the latest looks in contemporary, young contemporary, fashion accessories and more, plus specialty categories such as children's, plus-size, bridal and social occasion. Market information and registration is available online at Atlanta-Apparel.com.