Fashion-Forward

Date posted: August 17, 2012

By Rieva Lesonsky

I’m not a fashion junkie by any means, but I am looking forward to the HUGE September issues of fashion magazines, led, as usual, by Vogue, which has more than 900 pages and features Lady Gaga on the cover.

The highlight for me is looking, not at the clothing, but at the hundreds of fashion accessories, bags, bows, scarves and the like. And, the accessories trade is a great way into the industry for fashion-minded entrepreneurs. As The New York Times recently noted, “Ten years ago, fashion design students might have said they most wanted to emulate the careers of Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg or Michael Kors. Today, role models might include Rebecca Minkoff, Pamela Love or Brian Atwood-all accessories designers.”

As well they should, since that’s what women seem to be spending their money on. Marshal Cohen, the chief retail analyst at NPD Group, a market research firm, told the Times, “The accessories business is healthier than the apparel business. Over the last six months, accessories have been 2 percent ahead over the last 12 months. That may not sound like a lot, but in the fashion sector, that’s great.” What’s hot? Cohen says footwear, luggage, small leather goods and glasses are good sellers.

Also in the spotlight are hats, inspired by the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, jewelry (usually light and easy to ship-an advantage for online retailers), and tech accessories like iPad cases.

The accessories market is not only more accessible for fashion entrepreneurs to enter, but for retailers to sell. Savvy business owners should keep their eyes out for the young up-and-coming designers. Offering something fresh to consumers will help you stand apart from the major department stores and online retailers.

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