Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Forget lights. See your name in jackets, bags, dresses…

For the self-promoting designers out there who have always dreamed of having their own initials printed on fabric, a la Louis Vuitton, Fendi or Coach, Hewlett-Packard has brought you a step closer.

“Anyone could design their own fabric” with HP’s new TouchSmart notebooks and PCs, said Emilio Sosa, an independent designer and contestant on Lifetime television’s reality show ”Project Runway”. Sosa won Thursday night’s episode, in which the designers were challenged to design their own textiles using the computers, and then use it to design an outfit.

“To me, branding is so important,” Sosa said at a champagne brunch on Friday morning. ”That’s why I went with my initials and a heart on a bright blue background.” He used a cotton sateen to make his printed fabric, which he used for a slim halter dress, paired with a black jacket.

“In just 24 hours, I went from concept to printed fabric,” added Sosa, who plans to make his debut with a collection at New York Fashion Week in September. “With sketches, you have to FedEx them to a factory in the Orient.”

Check Out Line: Olsen twins try mass-market fashion again


mkaCheck out America’s famous twins at it again.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the former child actresses turned fashion designers, are launching a new juniors’ sportswear and accessories line for J.C. Penney.  The travel-themed line is called Olsenboye, with each collection highlighting a new city.

The mid-priced line features clothes, shoes and handbags priced from $20 to $50.

from Raw Japan:

Denim deflation

James Dean smouldered in his, the Marlboro men looked rugged in theirs, and now me and hordes of other Japanese people can feel frugal in ours. Jeans -- practical, durable and with just a hint of  rebelliousness -- are at the centre of a price war in Japan, as struggling retailers look to lure cash-strapped customers back through their doors.

With the country slipping deeper into deflation and its jobless rate rising, shops have for some time been marking down almost everything from bags of cereal,  to laundry detergent and bicycles.

A Runway Paved with Gold


Gold bars   Who needs the runway when Goldfinger’s got your back?
   Fashion industry watchers wonder whether more designers will use Times Square’s neon signs as a virtual runway in the future, like Carmen Marc Valvo  did with his spring/summer 2010 show during New York Fashion Week. More to the point, will more designers follow his lead next time by asking the World Gold Council  and the Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. – or other financial markets players — to help foot the bill?

A Valvo spokesman says the cost was “about half” that of a runway show in the Bryant Park Tents.  The tab usually starts at $100,000 and can run $250,000 or more, depending on how many models and special effects are involved. This was perhaps the flashiest example of how designers, hit hard by the recession, are seeking more sponsorships to finance their New York shows than in the past. Check out this video of the Times Square show, which ran on the neon signs of Nasdaq, Thomson Reuters and Fox:
  Even with gold trading above $1,000 an ounce, that’s still less than what some of Valvo’s gowns go for at  Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
   The World Gold Council’s Duvall O’Steen said the group paid 10 models and other show expenses — the first time it’s taken such a high-profile role at Fashion Week. Check out this video as O’Steen talks about fashion and gold jewelry:

       In fact, the World Gold Council is getting more requests now for corporate event sponsorships than it can accommodate, O’Steen said. And it’s happening after a year when a drop in world gold mining production curbed its budget for such affairs.
        Bruce Aust, Nasdaq’s executive vice president of the corporate client group, also explains why the made its first foray into fashion:

     Michael Quintanilla, who covers fashion for the San Antonio Express-News and two other Hearst newspapers, told Reuters: “Times Square was the perfect place for a fashion show. With all that neon, it’s very ‘Blade Runner.’ I loved the format. You could drop in when you wanted, have a cocktail, talk to Carmen, see the clothes and leave, without being herded into a space like cattle and being forced to wait.”

Butterflies and birds byte into NY Fashion Week


Spotted at New York Fashion Week: Butterflies and hummingbirds hovered inside the tents, but these particular species came equipped with at least a gigabyte or two.

Designer Vivienne Tam’s“Butterfly Lovers” digital clutch laptop from Hewlett-Packard made its debut on the runway with her Spring and Summer 2010 collection. Just inside the entrance to the Bryant Park Tents, a hummingbird was ready for its close-up — on the cover of one of the Palm Pixi Artist Series limited-edition cellphones on display.

Check Out Line: Lazard looks at fashion


Check out what’s hot in fall fashion. 
Lazard Capital Markets looked at 10 September fashion magazines and identified these trends:
Boots, with Jones Apparel getting seven call-outs in the magazines.JAPAN
Skinny denim and leggings, both getting play with looser, less form-fitting tops.
Motorcycle jackets, military jackets, trench coats, sheath dresses and one-shoulder tops.
Also, “studs appear everywhere in clothing and accessories, including handbags, belts, shoes, dresses.”
Companies best capitalizing on the various trends include Jones, Gap, American Eagle and Guess, among others, Lazard said in a research note.
We were going to toss in a kicker of some fashion trend that is never coming back.  But face it, they all seem to come back at some point.  We expect to pull out our Members Only jackets any day now.
Also in the basket:
Tween Brands Q2 loss narrower than expected

BJ’s Wholsesale profit beats Street, raises FY view 

Popcorn, a hidden source of antioxidants, study says (ABC News)

(Reuters photo from 2004, because leggings always come back)

from Global Investing:

Financial crisis helps Berlin take root for fashionistas

Berlin is slowly but surely establishing itself as one of the top global catwalks for the bold and the beautiful of the world of high fashion -- and the global financial crisis seems to be doing nothing to slow it down.


For the fifth time, up-and-coming fashion designers are meeting in the German capital to present selections from their latest collections at the Berlin Fashion Week, which is attracting increasing interest from the international fashion scene.

Gunn guns for gay marriage


timgunn1Popular “Project Runway” mentor Tim Gunn has three words for California’s gay marriage advocates: “Make it work.”

And the urbane advisor — who won the hearts of audiences with his advice to aspiring fashion designers on the fashion design reality television show – put the emphasis on W-word.

Luxury apparel, redefined


Save Fashion

American luxury retail has been, well, in shambles.

Since department store revenues began to plummet in September, luxury’s glossy image transformed to one that brings to mind strewn-about merchandise on a Saks Fifth Avenue floor.

Pricing structures have come under pressure as shoppers seek deep discounts, or worse, question price guidelines after aggressive reductions at the end of last year.  In the spring, markdowns crept dangerously close to the start of the season.  Clearly, discounts really are not what designers want their labels to be known for.

from Fan Fare:

Lining up for Topshop New York – would you?

topshop1Ayone who has been into Topshop's Oxford Street store in London on a Saturday will know that there are normally so many shoppers inside that it is almost difficult to move.

So when the trendy British mass market fashion retailer -- for which supermodel Kate Moss designs a clothing line -- opened its first U.S. store in New York this month it was no surprise that people were lining up to get in the door.