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A Smarter Mart


									Tuesday, January 20, 2004

                                                                                                                                have signed leases with Fashion             Gallery maybe sees the retailer want-
                                                                                                                                Industry Gallery, which is housed in        ing are two different things.”
                                                                                                                                the Southwestern Plaza building at              John Sughrue, who heads the real
                                                                                                                                1807 Ross Ave, near the Nasher              estate firm developing Fashion
                                                                                                                                Sculpture Center and the Dallas             Industry Gallery, recognizes that the
                                                                                                                                Museum of Art. The arrival of differ-       multiple-venue scenario will not be
                                                                                                                                ent brands means that consumers             as simple as it is in Los Angeles,
                                                                                                                                soon may find a broader array of            which has four marts directly across
                                                                                                                                designer clothing at shops that buy         the street from one another. But he
                                                                                                                                wholesale in Dallas.                        said he suspects that buyers will still
                                                                                                                                    “New and upcoming lines have            appreciate having an alternative to
                                                                                                                                been very difficult for me as a buyer       the big venues and large-scale hotels
                                                                                                                                to find at Dallas markets,” said Fort       along Stemmons Freeway.
                                                                                                                                Worth merchant Amy Hooper, who                  “Those are big boxes, big hotels
                                                                                                                                scours New York for most of the             — everything is big,” he said. “Then
                                                                                                                                items she sells at her A. Hooper &          came the boutique hotels, the bou-
                                                                                                                                Co. boutique in the Chapel Hill shop-       tique airlines, the boutique art house
                                                                                                                                ping center. “I’m excited just to have      theaters. And now we’ve got a bou-
                                                                                                                                more of a selection of contemporary         tique fashion merchandise mart.”
                                                                                                                                clothes now” with the opening of the            Sughrue’s firm, Dallas-based
                                                                                                                                new Dallas mart, she said.                  Brook Partners, initially redeveloped
                                                                                                                                    Popular designers represented at        Southwestern Plaza as a hub for tech-
                                                                                                                                Fashion Industry Gallery include            nology firms. But after the tech bust,
                                                                                                                                Garfield & Marks, Jack Spade,               Sughrue needed a new tenant base
                                                                                                                                Nanette Lepore, Paul Frank, Tracy           for the former insurance company
                                                                                                                                Reese and Trina Turk.                       building, which was erected in the
                                                                                                                                    The second phase is under con-          1960s.
                                                                                                                                struction. It is expected to hold               Last May, he was approached by
                                                                                                                                between 80 and 100 showrooms, plus          Collier and other Apparel Mart ten-
                                                                                                                                space for new designers to hold tem-        ants who thought that the property
                                                                                                                                porary exhibits showcasing their prod-      might be a good site for a new mart.
                                                                                                                                ucts.                                       Soon after, Brook Partners commit-
                                                                                    SPECIAL TO THE STAR-TELEGRAM/BILL JANSCHA       The Dallas Market Center still          ted $6 million to redesign a portion
Lori Weed moves a rack of clothes at the Tommy Bahama clothing showroom at the new Fashion Industry Gallery, a                  plans to house more than 12,000             of the 5-story building as a fashion
smaller fashion center in Dallas’ arts district.                                                                                apparel lines, including Dana               center, and former Apparel Mart ten-
                                                                                                                                Buchman and Oscar by Oscar de la            ant Gavin Smith was hired as direc-
                                                                                                                                Renta. But it, too, is making changes.      tor.
                                                                                                                                After the January apparel show, the             The new showrooms have the feel
                                                                                                                                campus’s 1.8 million-square-foot            of a loft, with sliding mesh-steel
                                                                                                                                International Apparel Mart will             doors and artistic touches. For exam-
                                                                                                                                close, and tenants will move to a           ple, mosaic tile panels that decorated
                                                                                                                                revamped portion of the World               the building for decades hang in the
                                                                                                                                Trade Center, another building on           tenant lounge. The project will also
                                                                                                                                the property.                               include a courtyard park and a cafe
                                                                                                                                    Critics of the Dallas Market            open to tenants and the public.
                                                                                                                                Center say the huge Apparel Mart                “My space will be a little bit
                                                                                                                                stopped resonating with contempo-           SoHo-looking,” said new tenant Greg
                                                                                                      John Sughrue,             rary clothing buyers over the past          Mider, a former Apparel Mart lease-
                                                                                                      left, heads the           five to 10 years as boutique-style          holder. “My entire wall is red brick,
                                                                                                      real estate firm          marts in Los Angeles and New York           and I have a big window that over-
                                                                                                      developing                gained more appeal.                         looks the park, so I have all the natu-
                                                                                                      Fashion Industry              Suzanne Collier, a Dallas Market        ral light.”
                                                                                                      Gallery. With him         Center leaseholder for 11 years, said           The boutique atmosphere should
                                                                                                      are J. Gavin              she could not accept the growing            go far with buyers of contemporary
                                                                                                      Smith, center, the        number of vacancies and declining           apparel.
                                                                                                      gallery’s director,       reputation of the Apparel Mart and              “Clothing markets are all about
                                                                                                      and Lyle Burgin.          did not think management could              asthetics,” said Drea Ranek, co-owner
                                                                                                                                reverse the trends by moving tenants        of Lusso, a clothing and furnishings
                                                                                                      SPECIAL TO THE
                                                                                                      STAR-TELEGRAM/            to the World Trade Center, which is         boutique in the St. Louis area. Lusso
                                                                                                      BILL JANSCHA              known for its gift markets. After           has not yet sent buyers to Dallas —
                                                                                                                                spending several years pressing for         most of its merchandise is purchased
                                                                                                                                change, she decided to leave.               in New York and Los Angeles — but
                                                                                                                                    “I really feel like the gift business   Ranek said the opening of Fashion

     A smarter
                                                                                                                                had been a more lucrative business          Industry Gallery has piqued her
                                                                                                                                for them during that period, and the        interest in coming to Texas for a
                                                                                                                                wholesalers in the clothing business        wholesale show.
                                                                                                                                became basically stepchildren,”                 Monica Zionce, a buyer for the
                                                                                                                                Collier said. “I thought [the World         Barbara Jean fashion boutique in
                                                                                                                                Trade Center relocation] was an             Little Rock, Ark., has made reserva-
                                                                                                                                answer to empty floors in a gift mar-       tions for the January show in Dallas.

                                                                                                                                ket.”                                           “I’m only coming for the day, and
                                                                                                                                    Dallas Market Center managers           I’m going to have to start out at the
                 Tenants of a                                                                                                   do not deny that recent retail trends       gallery and make my way over to the
                                                                                                                                have made it difficult to keep the          Dallas Market Center,” she said. For
            breakaway wholesale                                                                                                 Apparel Mart full and vibrant.              the March show, which is larger than
                                                                                                                                    Between the consolidation of            the January show, Zionce may have
            fashion venue believe                                                                                               retail chains, a move toward central-       to extend her trip by a day to cover
                                                                                                                                ized purchasing systems and a grow-         all the bases.
            smaller may be better                                                                                               ing emphasis on private-label brands,           But Zionce has few concerns
                                                                                                                                many traditional sources of the             about the inconvenience of visiting
                                                                                                                                wholesale clothing business have            two sites, saying that the extra time
                                                                                                                                dried up.                                   would be well worth the opportunity
        By HEATHER LANDY                wholesaler looking for a fresh idea.      Dallas. Among the initial 35 tenants:             “Obviously we saw the need to           to find new lines that might other-
       STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER          Last year, a small group of unsatis-   Findings, which decided that the new          make changes and reinvent the               wise never have come to Dallas.
    DALLAS — As the Texas sales         fied Dallas Market Center tenants         mart could easily replicate the plush         apparel industry in Dallas,” said               If Fashion Industry Gallery flour-
representative for more than a dozen    decided to break away from the 40-        surroundings and quiet atmosphere             Cindy Morris, chief operating officer       ishes, buyers eventually may have
contemporary designers, Stacie Fox      year-old mart on Stemmons Freeway         at the Hotel ZaZa.                            of the Dallas Market Center. The            more than just two venues to stroll
made an unusual decision when it        and form a smaller fashion center in          The new venue may cause confu-            Apparel Mart building had become            though during the Dallas wholesale
came time to court buyers from          the city’s arts district. They say the    sion for those accustomed to the              “much larger than what was needed           shows.
clothing boutiques across the           new space, owned by the same real         one-stop-shopping experience of the           to serve the industry,” she said.               “There are now four buildings in
Southwest.                              estate firm that developed Dallas’s       Dallas Market Center, which also                  For buyers attending both venues,       Los Angeles,” Sughrue said. “So
    Instead of leasing a showroom at    popular Magnolia Theatre, has a           holds large wholesale shows for gifts,        Fashion Industry Gallery will provide       there’s a precedent to think that if
the Dallas Market Center, the cam-      sharp focus on upscale labels and a       accessories and furnishings. But sup-         transportation for the short ride to        we’re wildly successful, which we
pus of immense buildings where $7.5     provides a hip setting befitting the      porters of Fashion Industry Gallery           the Dallas Market Center. But Morris        think we will be, then other boutique
billion in wholesale transactions are   urban image of the contemporary           say the boutique-style mart should            warned that the splintering in Dallas       marts will open” in Dallas with nich-
conducted each year, she displayed      collections they sell.                    help Dallas regain some of the cachet         still may be troublesome for clients.       es that go beyond contemporary
her wares in a rented suite at the         Their efforts will be realized this    lost in recent years to fashion marts             Buyers “don’t want to have to           apparel.
nearby Hotel ZaZa.                      week with the grand opening of            in New York, Los Angeles and even             drive around and source product out
                                        Fashion Industry Gallery, which will      regional venues such as Atlanta.                                                                 Heather Landy, (817) 390-7725
    Findings, the Los Angeles firm                                                                                              — they want to go to one venue,” she      
through which Fox represents high-      bring wholesale buyers to its show-           More than a dozen agents and              said. “What we see the retailers
fashion labels such as LoyandFord       rooms for the five annual women’s         designers who had not been partici-           wanting and what Fashion Industry
and Rozae Nichols, was not the only     apparel markets that draw retailers to    pating in the Dallas apparel shows

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