Living The World of Fashion Buying In The Fashion Markets
As you may already know, I possess a deep passion for fashion buying. I consider it more than a hobby. I see it as an opportunity to innovate and bring something different to El Paso and my beloved clients. Fashion Markets are huge trade shows that showcase emerging trends and styles of upcoming spring/fall collections each season. The U.S Fashion Market is hosted annually in notorious cities like Atlanta, Las Vegas, New York, and Dallas. I usually attend the markets in NYC, which is part of the “Big Five” fashion capitals in the world, and the Fashion Market in Dallas, as it allows me to be back in El Paso by the end of the day. The world of fashion buying is a world of its own. It’s exciting, inspiring and exhilarating, to say the least. For the past 11 years, I have attended the U.S Fashion Markets for just about every season. This year, however, my heart felt the need to try something different. So we spiced things up.
A Not So Merry Christmas
Every year around the holiday season, things usually move at a faster pace up as clients are actively shopping for glam party outfits and searching for unique gifts for their loved ones. To my surprise and disappointment, the Holiday Season of 2019 was quite different. Silence and solitude filled the walls of GAL. We were experiencing something we had luckily never experienced before, a major decrease in sales and traffic in what was supposed to be our busiest season yet.
If you know me, I could not sit still and let this go by. So I took charge, dug in, and decided it was time for a change. Little did I know that change would mean having to go overseas.
Fashion Market Take 1
Upon one of my trips to the Dallas Market, I was lucky enough to meet an interesting, powerful woman who would change my life forever. This woman had a unique showroom inhabited by amazing international brands and products. From jaw-dropping handbags made in Brazil and Italian headbands, to one of a kind jewelry made in Venezuela, you name it. This woman had it all. Every single piece I touched, every single piece I loved. (TIP: Whenever you come across a one of a kind piece that you won’t find anywhere else, make it yours. It is one of those things that you fall in love with and it eventually transcends into your life and your story.) This is also how I select pieces for GAL. I buy one of a kind pieces that make my heart skip a beat. Also, you won’t find them anywhere else ;)
As I shared my fashion obsessions and life values with this woman, she in return shared her story and her years of experience as a showroom owner specializing in unique and exclusive international brands. In addition, I ended up purchasing exclusive items from every single line in her showroom! And for the first time in a long time, I felt excited. A feeling that I had been missing without knowing.
The unique products I purchased from her completely sold out in less than two weeks. I was humbled by the amazing response the international products were receiving. My clients seem to love and responded well to the exclusivity and uniqueness of the products. And let me tell you, they were not something you could easily find online, which made them a total hit!
We chatted for hours. Among her valuable advice was to attend the “ White Show,” the one of a kind Milan Market, to explore and discover a new world in the fashion industry. To be completely honest, I don’t know why I had not thought about buying products abroad before. I guess I figured the only “way” was to buy from US vendors . However, this woman inspired me and opened a door with many new roads. I did my research, took a leap of faith, and before you knew it I was on a plane along with my assistant, Marilyn, to Milan for an unforgettable European Fashion Week! An adventure I will for sure never forget.
Last New York Fashion Week
Before traveling across the globe, I made a pit stop in NYC for Fashion Week. As usual, I made appointments with all the vendors I have closely worked with for the past five years. However, this time it was very different. I didn’t feel the thrill and excitement when exposed to the new merchandise as I usually do. I did not know why. What I did know for sure is that whatever I was experiencing at that moment, did not match up to the vision I had for the future of GAL. I had to make a change.
I then decided to drop five of the top-selling brands. Why may you ask? Because when you own five tracksuits you have them all. When you have 4 blouses in different prints and colors from the same brand and style you have it all. Been there. Done that. Why keep selling what is working as a stylist who is constantly looking to evolve and offer the next big thing to my clients? We need to evolve to new trends and not keep offering the same items and styles year after year only because it sells. As a stylist, boutique owner, and fashion aficionado, it is my duty and responsibility to find the best, up and coming exclusive trends and styles. I may have lost myself in offering commercial items, and along with it, lost inspiration and motivation. I experienced buying what was selling versus buying what I loved. I missed out on taking risks and innovating without fear.
It’s hard to take a step back and realize that you need change. My heart was screaming for me to stop and take a bold risk. “ Drop the lines and trust yourself,” I repeatedly told myself while holding on to a bit of doubt. I was not confident that I was taking a step forward in the right direction, but instead a few steps back. I had to believe and trust myself. Then I realized, if we can easily buy these items online, why do I even want to carry them? Why would I be like everyone else? What is it that makes GAL Fashion unique and makes it stand out from the crowd?
So I dropped the lines. I had awkward conversations with my vendors and decided it was time for a new era for GAL Fashion. There it was. The end of something great, and the beginning of a new era.
Next stop, Milan, Italy.