Tuesday, January 23, 2007

JANY Winter Show: Hot Trends for 2007

With snow flurries in the air and temperatures hovering in the single digits, the JANY Winter Show, the U.S.'s first big industry trade event of 2007, got off to a chilly but good start. Much like the weather outside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the buyer registration desks in the early morning had flurries of activity with attendees lining up in small bursts to collect their badges.

Foot traffic was strong, consistent and, more or less, continuous throughout the exhibit halls from midday onwards. The JANY Winter Show, coming so closely upon the heels of the big holiday selling season and so early in the New Year, traditionally has a smaller exhibitor turnout than the summer show. This year's show, with approximately 850 exhibitors, was no exception.

One difference this year, however, was the layout of the show floor. The exhibition area has been reconfigured from a bi-level layout to a single level configuration to encourage a more natural traffic flow.

A fair number of the 'usual faces' were not exhibiting this year. The no-shows cut across nearly all product lines. While many noted the absences, beyond a few passing comments and expressions of surprise, the overall mood on the show floor was decidedly upbeat. Exhibitors showing new lines appeared encouraged by the foot traffic as they offered retailers new fashion forward lines in response to this season's emerging consumer interests. All in all, day one was a nice start.

Hot Trends

Many manufacturers unveiled invigorated post-holiday collections, while many designers took the opportunity to introduce and showcase new lines consistent with consumer interest trend forecasts and models for 2007.

The first seminar of the day, led by Helena Krodel, media manager of the Jewelry Information Center (JIC) was entitled, "What's Hot! What's Not! Smart Buying Insights for the Spring Selling Season and Beyond." The seminar had capacity attendance as attendees eagerly absorbed what the fashion gurus have identified as this year's emerging trends.

Krodel, a masterful speaker with a lot of fashion savvy, spoke authoritatively on trends gleaned from a combination of sources including the worlds of fashion, pop culture, celebrity, and geo-politics.

With whites and creams dominating the runway shows, all the good money appears to be on color accessories to add a dash of excitement into the mix. As Krodel put it, "Pretty is making a comeback and people are going to be looking for color."

Necklaces – Here almost anything goes. Predicted to be popular are collars and chokers with grommets and heavy metal, bibs with a defined "V" and ropes of precious metals, tri-color gold, and even mixed metals. Equally, extra long chain-link necklaces that can be wrapped are believed to be big. But, the real hot, hot, hot trend is charm necklaces. These necklaces, with their removable charms, allow for a great deal of individuality across all age demographics.

Bracelets – As people often say, everything old is new again. Cyclical trends show charm bracelets making a comeback, with a nod to the contemporary as versatile, easily removable, unsoldered charms, whimsical pre-assembled collections (like grandma might have collected one by one) and the time-honored smorgasbord of charms re-appear on the consumer radar. All are making a comeback, but with updated styles and looks. The eighties friendship bracelet is also making a comeback. Thick bangles and cuffs, with dangling charms, gem stone encrusted, enameled, or plain in precious metals are all hot.

Earrings – Hoops are hot. Oversized, front hoops and, wait for it, earrings with charms. Asymmetry is in, from wearing one long and one short earring while sporting sets of three coordinated, but different earrings, is very fashion forward. Chandeliers still popular, as evidenced on the red carpets of the stage, film, and music industries. In addition, button earrings and clip-ons are hot.

Rings – mixing and matching is popular. Right hand, charm, and stacking are all very hot and predicted to remain so with consumers. Large bands, with minimum detail, openwork, polished, brushed or engraved all provide a suitable alternative to the cocktail ring. An emerging trend, not quite globally trend-worthy, but definitely worthy of mention, are rock star-inspired forefinger rings.

Helena Krodel of JIC summed up her trends seminar by exhorting those retailers present to, "Anticipate trends so that you're a leader in the minds of consumers and provide tools for your staff to educate the consumer." Walking the aisles of the JANY Winter Show attendees could see firsthand the accuracy of the trend forecast and, judging from the booth traffic in the afternoon, many retailers were already applying their new found knowledge.

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