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Color explosion on the West Coast
   
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By Kelli Freeman

Move over basic grey and blues. Bright colors are trending big as buyers look to Spring 2013. “I never thought we’d sell red pants and now we’re selling red jeans, it’s cool!” said Steven Ramenofsky, GMM of Garys in Newport Beach and Del Mar, Calif.

Buyers and reps gathered at the at the fourth sold out season at the West Coast Trend Show in Los Angeles. “U.S. consumers are finally accepting the European influence in color,” said show owner Ken Haruta, who also represents a number of clothing lines.
Ramenofsky added, “We’re coming out of the dark ages with so many bottoms in great blues, olives and bright greens. It’s very exciting.”

“I’ll be buying a lot of color from purples to oranges now and through the fall,” said Steve Benson of S. Benson & Co. in Sacramento. The thrill is flowing into accessories as well with vibrant shades in shoes, socks, ties and hats.

“Men are so predictable, there’s really nothing new, so we see different takes on what we already do,” observed Terry Ring, owner of Silver Creek Outfitters in Ketchum, Idaho. “As manufacturers continue to grow along with the difficult economy, it’s caused good manufacturers to be more focused. Scott Barber and Peter Millar are two of our bigger lines, along with Kinross Cashmere and Lone Pine Leather, they’re getting nothing but better.”

Ramenofsky says he’s also excited about the trimmer silhouette on legs, coats and tops. “More body-conscious clothing makes every man look healthy and like he’s lost weight.”

Retailers continue to streamline their business, lowering overhead, reducing staff and staying cautiously optimistic as business gets better. “We had a soft spring but we’re coming back; July was a good month,” said Benson.

“Business is up over last year but not the way it was,” said Ramenofsky. “With that said, our sportswear business is doing great!”

Walter Schorno, owner of The Hound in San Francisco, is grateful for his well established business. “Fifty percent of our business is repeat customer whether they are European travelers, business folks, tourists and second generation customers.” Even though Schorno’s 40-year-old store is currently shrouded in scaffolding by the city, he says they’re seeing a turn for the better. “Less traffic, but the people coming in are more serious customers.”

As for Ring, “We’re a resort, so when people are on vacation, they’re shopping. This summer has been quite good, slightly better than last year.” Ring says he’s looking forward to what the next few months will bring. “Fall is always exciting! The clothing is always rich in colors. As we move out of cotton and linen, we begin to see layers of clothing. It’s like Christmas every day when you get to receiving and see what you got.”

With the more casual attitude of the West Coast, Ramenofsky conclude, “If there’s one thing I’m looking for it’s a dressier knit shirt that a guy can throw on under a deconstructed sport coat. Soft jackets are driving our jacket business right now and it’s a good opportunity to grow business in general.”



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