Columbus Hosts First Apparel Tradeshow

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Number three in the nation for fashion designers, Columbus, Ohio hosted the first annual Buyer Media Day this past Friday.  As part of Columbus’s week long Fashion Week Events, Buyer Media Day was an opportunity for designers to connect directly with buyers.

There were 8 designers represented at the event, ranging from ready to wear, to special occasion attire, to bridal attire, and accessories. Each brands uniqueness had a chance to stand out and attract the attention of potential buyers.

Kelley Plas of Kelley Elyse Designs target audience is the modern bride unafraid to take fashionable risks. Kelley attracts buyers to her brand by incorporating both traditional and non traditional elements. She prides her brand as high couture fashion with a focus on details. This is evident in the beadwork used particularly in her bridal line. Additionally Kelley carries a ready to wear line offering the high fashion woman structured pieces using hand painted neoprene as her fabric source. The one of a kind hand painted fabric showcases Kelley’s artistic talent while the use of neoprene highlights her cutting edge aesthetic. Kelley uses both elements to attract fashion forward thinkers who value individual style.

Melissa Koch’s Bridal design created a buzz among buyers and fashionistas alike. Melissa’s unconventional use of denim for her bridal wear is a definite nod to her target audience, the changing bride. Melissa speaks eloquently of how her line meets the need of the brides desiring simplistic yet elegant bridal attire. Melissa wants buyers to know that she is reinventing bridal wear. Melissa’s vision for her brand in five years is to be well represented and available in stores throughout the United States if not globally. Her business strategy incorporates giving women options in bridal wear. Her brand can currently be found on her made to order website.

Genoveva Christoff markets her brand as upscale and feminine. Additionally, one defining characteristic of her line which speaks to her uniqueness, is her employment of laser cut leather in her designs. Similar to others in the industry, Genoveva uses social media to her advantage. She has also attended fashion shows in Europe and the United States. While carrying a ready to wear women’s line Genoveva’s primary marketing strategy is to focus on more upscale accessories. Genonva’s goal is to grow her brand globally in the next five years.

The Baydian collection markets itself as unassuming sexy. Calling upon her island roots designer, Tamara Holder uses unorthodox burlap as her fabric of choice. This is Tamara’s first clothing collection. She definitely markets her line as unconventional. The line can be found online. Furthermore, Tamara markets her brand as wearable art and statement pieces. Strategically using online marketing techniques, viewing her pieces online allows the buyer a chance to see the many ways in which each piece can be worn and made into a woman’s own style.

Nuha Gebremedhin immediately shares her brand Mana Design, as ethnically inspired bridal wear with elegance. Nuha shares that her biggest challenge so far has been trying to do everything herself. She markets her line through special order requests. Her preference is to immerse herself in the designing aspect of her brand. One of her goals in the next five years is to bring in top notch staff to assist her with the business side of her brand. Mana Designs currently utilizes both Facebook and Instagram to market the brand.

Prissy Duck is a ready to wear women’s line that incorporates clean lines with a streamlined silhouette. One unique marketing strategy used by Prissy Duck designer and owner Stephanie Foster is to model her brand. Stephanie can be found in her ads and look books showcasing her Prissy wear. She uses this economical strategy to gain more cost effective exposure to potential clients.  The Prissy Duck marketing strategy includes making available feminine, yet classy, ready to wear items to the young professional which is her target audience.

Joan’s Bridal Couture has made an impact in the Central Ohio area offering both special occasion and bridal wear. Her craftsmanship of each item offers the buyer high end quality pieces with a nod to a bye gone era. Designer Joan Madison currently markets her brand in her boutique. This strategy has served her well. Joan seeks to enhance her marketing capability by employing a public relations firm to create more exposure of her brand to her target audience. Her target audience are celebrities as well as women who appreciate quality garments with a dramatic flair.

Lubna Designs is quickly becoming a well-known brand in the fashion industry. Designer, Lubna Najjar’s use of rich fluid fabric is evident in her Spring/Summer 2016 collection. This collection is currently in stores and has shown on the runway. It is also available for wholesale through the IL Moda Showroom.

Nicki Marie Jewelry is an edgy industrial jewelry line currently gaining momentum overseas. A young entrepreneur and jewelry designer, Nicki King is featured in Harper’s Bazaar UK, and British Vogue. One of her primary goals for the next five years is to generate more exposure in the United States. Nicki currently is the only jewelry line using mirrors as her design signature. She incorporates this unique design aesthetic into her marketing strategy. She wants buyers to understand her use of mirrors which stem from her desire for people to recognize their true beauty. Furthermore, Nicki crafts each item to be “a masterpiece worn with your clothes”. This marketing strategy should serve her well, as she remains true to her design aesthetic.

Buyer Media Day is an opportunity for buyers to preview as well as interact directly with designers and their collections. The first ever Buyer Media Day event held in Central Ohio offered buyers a chance to shop minimum orders at wholesale costs for their retail floors. Moreover, the presence of the media was an opportunity for designers to spotlight their brand and gain exposure to the public, as well as buyers interested in purchasing merchandise.




Leasa Simmons has worked for a local public school program in Columbus for over 20 years. She is also co-owner of LEC Concierge. Leasa's most recent endeavor includes launching A Bombshell Style Blog for plus size women over 40 and becoming an associate writer for IL Moda PR. You can look foward to her events and foodie writing!

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