Where the runway meets the street

This week we continue to look back at our recent trip to Las Vegas for the biannual apparel and footwear trade shows. As started with Chris Kam of KICKS/HI, we’re sharing the thoughts of the buyers from some of our favorite retailers in America. Today we can give you a glimpse into the mind of David Rasool Robinson of Chicago’s Saint Alfred. Read below as he passes along some knowledge on the Spring/Summer 2014 season as well as a few tips for Vegas visitors.

1. Most exciting new brand you saw.
As a result of meetings and the pretty tight schedule I had, I unfortunately didn’t get to roam as much as I wanted to so I couldn’t really walk around and look at brands I wasn’t too familiar with. However, I did come across a interesting brand from NY called Lefant. Each piece is made in New York and seeing and touching the garments made the biggest difference. I’m curious to see how the brand further develops and which direction it decides to go in.

2. Your favorite overall SS14 collection.
My favorite overall collection for SS would have to be what I saw from Ten C. The silhouettes and colors they offered are solid plus the fact that they will make any one of their jackets in one of the custom colors they offer is added bonus. I’m a big jacket person and I have more than I really need but with Chicago’s unpredictable and quickly changing weather, a good dependable jacket is a must. Plus it’s an honor for us to be the first to bring a solid brand like Ten C to Chicago.

3. Your favorite individual SS14 product.
My favorite individual piece for SS14 is the Fishtail Parka by Ten C. It’s clean, functional, with no branding and durable military-grade hardware on the zippers and snaps. They’ve created this fabric called OJJ which is both breathable and waterproof, as well as soft to the touch which will allow the jacket to patina and mold to your individual shape over time. The fishtail also has the option of a button in the down liner which makes this jacket versatile enough to be used in the spring as well as the fall.

4. What did you buy that is new to your shop?
The most recent brand addition to the shop is Ten C.

5.Trends for SS14 that you’ve seen?
The most frequent trends I saw for SS14 is once again camo, floral, and polka dot prints as well as more brands doing bottoms with a elastic or ribbed cuffs on the ankles. I also saw a good amount of garments with contrasting bodies and sleeves.

6. What would you like to see more of next season?
I’d like to see more brands staying true to themselves and that initial vision they started out with. A brand should grow and develop but it shouldn’t follow or chase. When that happens it makes it even more difficult as a buyer because you have overlap with certain product. When that happens we’re then forced to choose even though we may like both brands or a section of brands. Then those brands aren’t able to be fully represented to the customer.

7. What would you like to see less of next season?
I’d like to see less copying, less chasing and more development. I’d like to see less fear and more determination to bring quality product to the customer. Quality over quantity.

8. What are your thoughts on the changing landscape of the Vegas shows: Modern Assembly moving in with Agenda, Liberty, etc.
I find the changing landscape of the trade shows in Vegas interesting. A broader variety of brands are able to be represented, however it’s more difficult to really roam the shows and come across brands I may not be familiar with since the shows are now much more spread out and I still have to make and keep appointments with the brands we already carry. The good thing is that I’ve noticed increased visibility and awareness of the shows outside of the core community of people that show and go to them every year. Time will tell what effect this has on the shows and the brands.

9. Favorite thing about Vegas.
My favorite thing about Vegas is the people and people-watching. Each year I get to meet and talk with people I’ve only read about or have seen their work. I also get to see my peers who I sometimes can only talk to via email or text – the shows give us a opportunity to build those relationships with other brands, shops, creatives, etc.

10. Favorite place to eat in Vegas.
I don’t have on favorite place, each time I’m there I’m with friends that are adventurous and like to go to new places we haven’t been before. This trip we went to Ichiza in Chinatown, the spot was official.

Interview: Pete Williams
Photo: Luis Ruano/

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