Neon, sportswear likely trends at NY fashion week

Wed Sep 7, 2011 3:02pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The future of spring/summer fashion is looking bright -- fluorescent, neon bright.

Designers showing collections at New York Fashion Week, which starts on Thursday, will likely feature bright colors including neon pinks, greens and yellows and polished yet casual styles, say top U.S. department store buyers.

"Dressing up is the new cool, dressing down is old school," said Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing.

Almost 100 designers are due to show collections for spring/summer 2012 to retail buyers, media and celebrities during New York Fashion Week, with dozens more showing at other venues around the city to coincide with the semi-annual event.

Amid fears that the United States could slip back into recession, department stores want to see fashion for the warmer months that will excite and entice consumers to spend when the collections hit the shops early next year.

"Designers are thinking about what does the customer not have and what ultimately will do well at retail, and customers respond to color," Downing said of what he expected to see at New York Fashion Week.

"I'm loving that contrast of neon, fluorescent color on top of bold, bright color," Downing said. "I hope that we do see more of it ... this accent of neon has a real newness."

While the U.S. economic recovery is wavering and consumer confidence wallows at a two-year low, people are still buying clothes. High-end department stores have earned the largest gains in sales and U.S. retail sales posted the biggest increase in four months in July.   Continued...