Retail Therapy: A Place Where Dallas Can Only Shop Once a Year and a Batch of New Store Openings

A mid-century modern building with a large patio and front yard surrounded by skyscrapers is a mystery for many walking around the Dallas Arts District.Peering into the windows, it looks like a women's apparel store. And it's regularly mistaken for one."Years ago when we moved here, we rarely saw people walking along Akard," said Matt Roth, chief executive officer of Fashion Industry Gallery, also known as f.i.g. "Now it happens all the time. Some staying at the Fairmont, come by and say they want to come in and shop."Fashion Industry Gallery is a boutique wholesale market open to the fashion retail trade. It's located on the northeast corner of Ross Ave. and N. Akard St. across from the Hotel Fairmont.F.i.g.'s 80,000 square feet houses permanent showrooms for brands such as Citizens of Humanity, Theia, Trina Turk, Hanky Panky and Amanda Uprichard. It fills up with bigger crowds five times a year for market events timed with the fashion season calendar.Temporary tenants showing there next week (Aug. 21-23) for a smaller holiday/resort market include Rebecca Minkoff and Dolce Vita and Texas brands, Kendra Scott and Hari Mari. Then later this fall, (Oct. 23-25) there's a buzz of activity for a larger fall market as buyers come to town to shop there for boutiques and specialty stores from across the U.S. F.i.g. has 5,000 registered retail buyers.Neiman Marcus buyers shop there and so do reps for Amazon. Buyers for upscale Texas boutiques, Tootsie's and Elements, shop here too."There's a bigger fashion industry in Dallas than most people know," Roth said.Fifteen years ago, selling its location was harder, Roth said. F.i.g. was founded in 2004 when the a group of contemporary fashion wholesalers decided to leave the large Dallas Market Center along Stemmons Freeway northwest of downtown Dallas and move into smaller digs. And as the neighborhood around its building has blossomed with more restaurants, bars, boutique hotels and Klyde Warren Park, it's been an easier sell to buyers who shop wholesale in New York and Los Angeles, Roth said.  Continue reading...

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