Atlanta: Where the fashion is hot, and the store owner reigns

By WHITNEY MCMILLAN

Atlanta fashion buyers visited AmericasMart Atlanta earlier February 2014 to view the collection of wholesale designers touring America’s largest fashion cities.

The spring 2014 fashion expo, “Inside” premiered in Atlanta at the beginning of February. Fashion buyers are given an inside look at the top wholesale designers from all over the country as well as promising new fashion designers. These exhibits come to AmericasMart Atlanta before the spring and fall fashion lines have debuted in stores each year. AmericasMart Atlanta is the world’s largest wholesale source of its kind.

AmericasMart Atlanta, or “the Mart” as it is more commonly known, offers boutique or store owners and their buyers more than 13,000 different wholesale retailers to purchase from. The Mart is located on Peachtree Street and connects to Atlanta’s famous Westin Hotel at Peachtree Plaza.

The Mart specializes in a wide array of wholesale but is known by many for its fashion selection. Fashion buyers can visit the Mart year-round and shop from any of the permanent wholesalers on any of its 14 levels. Throughout the year, different expositions will be showcased.

If you stay at the Westin Hotel, the concierge will tell you that you can tell when the Mart is having a big fashion expo. The “Mart women” come out to play and you can tell who they are. These are the women who look like they’re on a mission and they are completely styled for the task. Designers and fashion buyers of all expertise will flock to the mart to see what next season is going to bring.

Jessica Anglin, an upcoming boutique owner, visited the Mart for the Inside showcase at the beginning of February. Anglin is doing a little fashion soul searching as she tries to decide who her client is and what image she wants her boutique to portray.

“I had never been to the Mart before today,” Anglin said. “Trying to figure out who you want to be in this market is a challenging decision when you have the top wholesale designers of every style surrounding you at all sides.”

There truly are people everywhere you turn and each designer has a collection that is different from the one next to him or her.

Rachael McMillan, owner of Fit and Fabulous Boutique, is not new to the wonders of the Mart. McMillan has been in business for almost a year and knows exactly who her client is. Each season brings the excitement of wondering what new styles she can bring her client.

When asked where she saw the future of her boutique going, McMillan gracefully answered, “I see my boutique continuing to be a success. I also see my new boutique having the same success. No one has just one style and we cannot be expected to be boxed into shopping at one store.”

McMillan is excited to launch her new store, but she says for now she does not want to give any other details about it. McMillan did go on to say that she is very excited for the next exhibit to choose her debut fall line.

The next Inside expo begins April 3, 2014, and will run through April 7, 2014.

Fall and spring are the crucial points every year for the fashion industry and that does not differ for Atlanta’s growing fashion industry. The Mart is filled with hundreds of store owners or merchandise buyers at any given time.

One could argue that the market is too saturated and there is no room for success when there is so much competition. The beauty of the fashion industry is that this claim is as faux as the furs you can buy at the Mart.

Anglin was asked if she worried about starting a business in this industry and said, “There are so many different styles of customers, that there is room for success for anyone who truly wants it.”

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