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Archive for September, 2010...

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PRICING.  IT SEEMS that’s the main focus of attention in the fashion world these days, foremost in the minds of suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, designers and consumers.  How much does it cost?  How are costs rising?  Will we have to raise our prices?  Will higher price tags turn off the hesitant consumer altogether?  With an uncertain economy and reports of a tough first quarter 2011, worries are mounting. 

NOT ALL CONSUMERS ARE looking for lower price tags, however.  At the luxury level, things are moving upscale and expectations are they will continue on in that direction.  In the months ahead, “the entry level for luxury will rise,” declared Adam Bernhard, CEO of Los Angeles-based Web site HauteLook.com.  As he sees it, the market will also start to see a “push down at the lower end,” adding that there will be more diffusion lines from designers.

At the recent fashion markets, there was a decided move toward limiting the number of brands carried by individual retailers, with major emphasis on brands that sell well.  Retailers also expressed an unusually strong interest in all things new. Almost all said they were shopping for items that had a freshness to them.  

                                                80s & 90s Trends

  ACCORDING TO A MAJOR industry publication, the firm “Moxsie tends to pick up on trends before they percolate through the retail universe” and it is now detecting “a wave of interest in the late Eighties and early Nineties.” The firm points out that movies from those decades, such as “Clueless” and Desperately Seeking Susan,” affect lifestyles, underwriting the fashion direction toward military styles, such as army boots and army colors, like tan and olive.  

Dresses keep getting more and more popular.  Florals are presently the really hot dress looks. Cargo pants are very important.  Skinny jeans are still the number one favorite style across the board, but there is some reported interest in flair denim styles for the cooler months. 

YOU CAN GET AN EARLY START ON THE NEWEST TRENDS BY ZEROING IN ON SOME GREAT PRODUCTS SEEN HERE:

 

 

                                        Clean, Classy Aesthetic

 SOME INDUSTRY OBSERVERS also see a change taking place in the general look of the consumer, something to take special note of.  According to Adam Bernhard, a “clean, classy aesthetic is prevailing.  People are getting dressed up again.  You don’t see hole-y jeans anymore.  You see people in clean twills, clean cargo.”

Looking at the men’s casual fashion field, a number of very strong trends is surfacing.  These can be significant, because women invariably copy what men are wearing, both in terms of style and color. If it is hot in the men’s arena, you can be sure it will cross over the gender line in the very near future.

So…what are men turning their attention to?  Utility styles.  Military looks.  Plaids, stripes, tropical prints, and florals. Also big are tank tops and bomber jackets. Olive green is making strong inroads.  Hoodies remain hot, along with Western and novelty shirts.

Already demonstrating the impact of the military crossover to womenswear are military bags. Bloomingdales, for example, is featuring them big time in advertising their hot new items for fall and winter.  The bags are rugged and utilitarian, and have an attractive vintage vibe.  You might be looking at something held over from WWII!

VINTAGE AND MILITARY.  THE COMBO WORKS!  CHECK HERE FOR VALUE-PACKED ACCESSORIES TO COMPLEMENT THE LOOK:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, September 30th, 2010

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THE EVOLUTION OF THE CONSUMER: They call it “cashing out,” and what it means is getting rid of what isn’t wanted anymore, and bringing in only what is truly needed.  It has to do with living a simpler life, a life without excess, without clutter.  It follows the “less is more” philosophy that points out that you can literally be ruled by material things when you have too much.

So, what does this mean to Fashion Accessory retailers?  Plenty!  As many industry publications point out, this is the dawn of a new consumer age.  Shopping habits have changed.  To be successful in this new environment, retailers have to be aware of what is going on with the consumer, and begin catering to her new set of values and habits. 

Some major points regarding the new buyer:  She is much more frugal.  She waits for sales to shop, and she is highly price sensitive.  She often trades down.  She buys on line, and she researches what she wants and where she can get it online. 

Some analysts say she exhibits little brand loyalty, others say brand loyalty is important in many purchases, and she often looks for brands that are time tested.  She wants value and she wants to be able to trust the products she does buy.

AFFORDABLE ACCESSORIES:  Just about everybody in the accessories game right now is offering a new package of products based on affordability.  It echoes back to what we noted just above, regarding that new, frugal consumer who is looking to save money on what she buys. The new products aren’t just cheap, or even cheaper.  They are a whole new kind of quality product, based on real and perceived value. They appeal not to yesterday’s extravagant consumer, but today’s new consumer.

Some examples:  Dooney & Bourke’s leather Kindle cover for $75.  This is a great looking brown reptilian-looking cover with plenty of class and fashion.  A cross-body bag by L.A.M.B. in fashionably trendy light tan leather, featuring interesting silver-tone hardware and dark fringe. $168. A fun orange and tan silicone rubber watch from Rumbatime for $155.  And a Carolee Lux’s necklace of turquoise, fluorite, and gold-tone metal.   $195.  Note that these are from top brand suppliers, several of whom are used to nothing short of many hundred- if not thousand- dollar price tags on their products.

Things just aren’t the same!

 

YOU CAN FIND A BEVY OF VALUE-PACKED PRODUCTS WITH HIGH STYLE AND VERY AFFORDABLE PRICE TAGS RIGHT HERE.  JUST LOOK AT THESE OFFERINGS:

 

 

LURING THE HESITANT BUYER:  “Retailers are looking for ways to bring consumers into stores with all kinds of schemes to give the consumer a sense that she is saving money,” declared Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at Kurt Salmon Associates.

Items that can be worn in different ways give a high perceived value, and are often excellent sellers in this kind of market.  That could mean necklaces with interchangeable pendants, bracelets that can be worn singly or doubly or more for different effects, scarves that are attractive worn on either side, even charm bracelets with interchangeable charms.

Packaging is another factor that can appeal to hesitant consumers.  Good looking gift packaging sells. Adding boxes, tissues, specialty bags with your name imprinted on them, little gift cards, ribbons and bows all add up to better sales volume.  Don’t forget:   Including a card with your store name and address on it allows the gift receiver to see where the item was bought and helps bring her into your store, as well.

“The consumer now wants a more upscale shop environment.  (He or she also wants to) have a pleasurable shopping experience,” declared Molly Matt, sales vice president at Kayser-Roth Corp.  You don’t have to physically redo your entire store to create the right atmosphere for sales.  How About adding some bright paint to one wall?   Or playing interesting music that will appeal to your customer base, maybe calypso, or even classical. Think about the mood you are trying to create, and then fit the music to it.  

Putting someone at the door to greet customers will also help bring in those who “sort of stop” but then pass you by.  A friendly “Hello” can change that to entering!

 

TRY DISPLAYING SOME OF THESE GREAT PRODUCTS; THEY ARE SURE-FIRE CUSTOMER-GRABBERS:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

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 BRIGHT COLORS, VIBRANT PRINTS, and jewelry of all sorts — especially anything for the wrist – kicked off the recent Los Angeles trade shows and put buyers in high gear for the fall season.  While buying was certainly not rampant, retailers did seem to be less hesitant to put out money on real value items with affordable price tags.

The market included Designers & Agents, Brighte, Focus Apparel & Accessories Show and the showrooms in the California Market Center, Cooper Design Space and the New Mart. With all its names, the Show is relatively small but significant for casual apparel and accessories characteristic of the Los Angeles fantasy capital of the nation. This is, after all, celebrity central!

 

Novel treatments and distressed denim washes were a major hit here. So were hand crafted details.  One product in particular resonated well with attendees:  An asymmetric gray t-shirt with lace appliqué on the shoulders.

Monserat De Lucca, a local accessories company, picked up a good deal of attention with a drawstring cross-body handbag with an intricate laced exterior.  The action mimicked the general market interest in cross-body bags, expected to be major movers this fall.

 

Bracelets were important.  Big cuffs and new plays on cuff design were hot.  Bangles retained their super in-demand position.  Interesting charm bracelets, many with keys and geographical images (like Tiffany’s New York or Paris designs) were attractive.

 

NOTHING PLAIN, NOTHING SIMPLE:  THAT APPEARED TO BE THE MESSAGE IN LA.   LOOK HERE FOR SOME EXAMPLES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                    Print Mania

TRIBAL IMAGES, FLORALS, graphics, tropicals, blurred forms, and surrealist impressions all made impressive inroads in the prints department, appearing on all sorts of apparel and accessories.  In many instances, the mantra was print-on-print-on-print, in what may have been considered a chaotic overall look just a few seasons ago, but which today comes off as harmoniously appealing. 

The big print tsunami roared across the fashion scene in more ways than one. Consider python print leggings. Or, lacy prints overlaying black jeans. Or, handbags sporting a dozen or more different prints all combined into one. Overall, there were creative improvisations galore, with a marketing mix that was amazing!

This was mainly a casual market, befitting its locale.  Denim and jeans were standouts, as was anything that might be created to enhance or amplify the importance of the jean-drive.  Mini dresses also came through with verve.  Colors here were unusually bright and exciting, sort of revved up blues, pinks, purples, and oranges.  Caftan tunics appeared to be making a return visit to the fashion world, with a number of attractive prints in multi-colors and tie-dyes seen as style leaders.

                                             Fabulous Wood Jewelry

IN THE JEWELRY ARENA, wood was a real winner! Sophie Monet, a jewelry line from Venice, California, was outfitted with such offbeat naturals as ebony wood, zebra wood.  These then, were overlaid with gold leaf, turquoise, and other materials and fashioned into remarkably rich looking rings and necklaces, all at surprisingly reasonable prices.

          “Everybody responds to wood because it is different,” Monet asserted.

Tough business decisions were rampant in Los Angeles, as well.  Price was a major consideration for almost all buyers. Vendors displayed a bevy of specialized techniques to keep prices down and sales up.  Many sliced wholesale costs considerably so that retailers could keep    price tags steady.

PURCHASING CLOSE TO THE SEASON was the modus operandi for many attendees. As one vendor noted, “There hasn’t been much commitment beyond January deliveries.”  Lack of long term planning was attributed to the financial uncertainty, poor job creation reports and tepid consumer spending.  On the other hand, many suppliers did say that buyers’ tight budget constraints seem to be easing, if slowly.  And this, certainly, gave the market a rosier glow than might have been expected.

IF YOU ARE SEARCHING FOR PRODUCTS THAT WILL APPEAL STRONGLY TO VALUE AND PRICE CONSCIOUS CUSTOMERS, YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, September 24th, 2010

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It was fashionably schizophrenic at the recent Emmy Awards with celebrities dressed in super sparkle or serious black, two very different moods and expressions, both quite elegant. Claire Danes was literally adorned in a simple-cut Armani Prive strapless tube evening dress that was sparkle-sparkle from top to bottom.  She wore tiny circle drop earrings, and no other accessories.

But that was the exception rather than the rule.  Overall, accessories were strongly in the Hollywood spotlight, glistening, sparkling, setting off designer dresses and generally looking spectacular.  Almost everyone wore bracelets (note that plural noun!) and necklaces were the order of the day.

True to celebrity habit, the jewelry was real – so very real! – from only the top jewelers internationally.  But they were models for jewelry designs at much lower prices, must-have gems that translate into fashion and costume jewelry with ease.  Here were the big trends of the day!

Anna Paquin made an impressive if somewhat tough-girl appearance, with a long black and gold dress with train by Alexander McQueen. She wore multiple bracelets on both arms.

                                                          Diamonds Galore!

Lea Michele was delightful in a long navy silk taffeta Oscar de la Renta strapless creation adorned with organza flamenco ruffles.  She wore a big diamond bracelet on one arm, and a multicolored diamond mesh necklace. The outfit was intense, elegant, but just a trifle too sophisticated for the young actress; it really needed an Elizabeth Taylor type to pull it off!

More fashion drama was created by Kylie Minogue who wore a dark tiger printed strapless dress set off by a long, heavy rope-like bejeweled necklace. Equal to an accessory by itself:  Very dark fingernail polish, one of the few times we’ve ever seen this look good!

YOU CAN GET THE FEEL OF TOP CELEBRITY ACCESSORIES WITH THESE GREAT PRODUCTS:

 

  • Two-tone cuff bracelet.

 

                                         New York Look

Young and gorgeous was Lucila Sola who accompanied Al Pacino (in Dolce & Gabbana) to the big night affair.  She wore a long black strapless evening dress with bottom flounce.  In addition to her stunning long black hair, Sola was “accessorized” by a huge diamond dinner ring and carried a black clutch bag.  This was a very New York City look, even if we were in the City of the Angels.

Little clutch evening bags were all the rage at the Emmys, with many rectangular styles showing up in bright colors as well as black.  Rita Wilson wore a short white beaded dress and carried a little white beaded clutch.  Tina Fey wore a black and grey embroidered evening dress and carried a little black evening clutch. Keri Russell was oh! so feminine in a hot pink chiffon dress.  She carried a little white evening clutch.

A point of interest here was the appearance of off-shaped little clutch bags, too:  Lorraine Schwartz carried a little beaded white circle bag that beautifully set off her pale blue and white evening dress.  Kyra Sedgwick wore a stunning strapless brown evening gown with a brief train and carried an oval beaded clutch evening bag.  She also wore a dynamite big dark stone ring on her middle finger. Wow!

Long hair was de rigueur this year, with practically every celebrity showing up with long locks.  Keeping the hairdos in place were many different types of hair accessories. Russell wore a ruffled pony holder. Emily Blunt wore a beautiful rhinestone studded headband.  Some admittedly let their long locks fall free, but we have to admit they didn’t look half as good as those who designed them with flair and fashion, a la hair accessories.

LOOKING TO GET THE CELEBRITY MYSTIQUE?  HERE ARE SOME GREAT PRODUCTS TO GET YOU STARTED:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

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“Customers are looking for timeless pieces right now.  They are more willing to invest in styles they can carry for years to come.” — Lauren Merkin, sales rep for Jessie Burns.

“Raw materials costs have affected the entire market.   No one is excluded.  The key is smaller sizing on bags, to bring down the retail price.” — Barry S. Kramer, president of Koret, New York handbag company.

 “I’m trying to encourage everyone to think about how they can incorporate giving into their business model.  It feels good, but it’s also good for business, for building morale, which is equally important.” — Blake Mycoskie founder of Toms Shoes, based in the idea that for each pair of shoes sold, one pair is given away free to a child in need.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”  — Anais Nin

“There is a whole new world out there that we haven’t even seen.  We’re building our business for time to come.” — Ralph Lauren, discussing new licenses in Asia.

KEEPING AN EYE ON TOMORROW IS A TIME-TESTED SUCCESS FORMULA.  SO ARE CAREFULLY CHOSEN PRODUCTS THAT CAN CARRY YOU INTO THAT FUTURE.  HERE ARE SOME TO PAY ATTENTION TO:

 

 

                                          More Compelling Emotionally

“Now that I am a Mom, flats are my new best friends.  I love what is easy but still stylish.” –Kourtney Kardashian of Keeping Up with the Kardashians TV Show.

“In the next few years, the challenge will be how we can make browsing and buying more compelling emotionally.  We want to make m-commerce (mobile commerce) more fun than shopping in real life.”  — Shan Lyn Ma, Gilt Groupe, manufacturer of mobile apps for such electronic devices as iPhone, iPad, etc.

“L.A. is really the heart of the denim industry.  Here you kind of live in the denim world.” – Rossella Giuliani, creative director for various collections, GAP.

“I look at someone who can first buy my shoes and my jewelry, then hopefully buy our condominiums.  You know, I like that.  I like trying to create that loyalty to our brand.”  – Ivanka Trump.

“Accessories are the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” — Amy Gross, Editor in Chief, O, Oprah Magazine.

BRANDS.  LOYALTY.  NEW CHALLENGES.  ALL ARE IMPORTANT IN TODAY’S FRAGILE RETAIL WORLD.  PERHAPS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT IS VALUE FOR THE DOLLAR.  KEEP THAT IN MIND WITH THESE GREAT PRODUCTS:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

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     YOU COULD FEEL PRETTY GOOD about the state of the economy and industry after looking at and talking to accessories suppliers and retailers attending a number of hot trade shows in New York last week. 

Not that things were great, just that there was a significant increase in sales with more buyers eager to purchase jewelry and handbags for their stores providing (and this was a big IF) the prices were right and the retailers felt they would be able to move the merchandise.

The skeptics were still around however, and several pointed out that there are indications we could be in for another slowdown the second half of the year.  Barry Kramer, president of Koret, was more positive, however.  “We are on the road to recovery,” he declared.  “There is a sense of hope for the future.”

Vendors displayed a considerable amount of creativity in dealing with the bad economy and the high price of materials, especially gold. Mixed metals were used more often. Smaller size jewelry pieces were seen making a strong comeback. 

The whole idea has been to hold onto an allure of luxury without hiking prices up beyond buyers’ budgets. 

GETTING REAL VALUE FOR THE DOLLAR IS THE NEW INDUSTRY CALL. THAT’S JUST WHAT YOU CAN GET WITH THESE ITEMS:

 

 

 

 

                                                Investment Pieces

A STERLING AND DIAMOND collection presented by Leslie Greene Jewelry was elegant and in demand.  The term “investment pieces” also came to the fore quite often, with vendors attempting to satisfy customers’ desires for versatile styles at a reasonable price. 

Apparently, buyers were more willing to spend on pieces that promised a continuum of wear, as opposed to “seasonal” trendy items.

Perhaps the biggest movers at the shows were statement pieces, many in mixed mediums.  The necklaces tended to be large and prominent. “Customers at every level are just beginning to understand the statement necklace,” said Susan Testaccio of Susan and Co. in Manhattan. “It makes an outfit.”

An interesting necklace presented by jewelry designer Rebecca Allen used floral design vintage lace and vintage stones or glass beads.  The piece was a real standout, and emphasized the “lace” material direction just beginning to show up in jewelry.  

                                                 Major Trends

  • In addition to the buying heat surrounding creative statement necklaces, big earrings were also in the fast lane.  Jennifer Arago of David Aubrey jewelry felt that bigger pieces were stimulating interest because buyers “are looking to get more for their buck.” It was a matter of substance.

 

  • Bold jewelry and chunky pieces were also moving well. 

 

  • Jewelry with lots of geometric shapes perked interest in numerous retail buyers. 

 

  • Strong statement cuffs, generally bigger than those we’ve seen in the market this year, tended to sell to retailers from all market areas.  

 

  • New materials (such as the lace we’ve already mentioned) and mixed metals showed a strong directional movement upward.

 

  • Simple shapes with creative inspiration behind them were received well. 

 

  • Smaller sizes.  Yes, statement BIG is hot.  But smaller sizes are also uptrending as a direct result of the increased cost of basic materials which, as one vendor noted, have affected the entire market.”

 

SHOPPING FOR INNOVATIVE JEWELRY PIECES THAT WILL SELL THIS FALL AND WINTER?  LOOK AT THESE NECKLACES AND BRACELETS:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, September 17th, 2010

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  THEY ARE CALLING IT CROWDSOURCING, AND if you don’t know what it is all about, you better learn soon!  This is a whole new idea in fashion, and major brands as well as many smaller players are in on what looks like a fairly long ride.

What Crowdsourcing basically means is giving the consumer the opportunity to decide what is designed and produced by a particular firm. On a large scale, it is often referred to as many-to-many. Yes, of course…this is Internet material!

But here’s the thing: consumers can not only create clothes, they can then share and rate each other’s designs and even get paid if someone orders their creations.  Call it fashion democracy, customized products, or what you will. This is a very, very hot movement!

Many very big brands are in on the Crowdsourcing wave-length, like Bloomingdale’s and Nike and Keds. A number of little guys are getting into the action, too, like ModCloth and Spoonflower, small but smart startups on the retail scene.

Analysts predict the specialized products growing out of Crowdsourcing and the like will eventually represent 10 percent or more of the total market for apparel and accessories. That means big bucks!

Keds Collective is a curated collection of designs from artists, musicians and others. It is a good example of how the new customization can work with standard company designs. “We provide a clear point of view or starting point for the product and encourage people to add their point of view on top of that.  We feel it really reinforces the brand’s positioning of creative possibilities,” Burrows says.

A major point to note: Retail accounts can also order and sell custom product!

CROWDSOURCING WORKS MOST EASILY WHEN A BASIC DESIGN IS FIRST PRESENTED TO THE CUSTOMER.  HERE ARE SOME CLASSIC BASIC JEWELRY FORMS THAT STAND ON THEIR OWN:

 

  • Plated rope chain. Add a pendant – or wear as is.

                                                     Just the Beginning

THIS IS REALLY JUST THE BEGINNING of Crowdsourcing, and nobody knows what directions it might go in the future. Companies are using it for all manner of things! For example, Threadless is a Chicago-based company that makes close to $40 million a year producing and selling customized t-shirts.  Graphic designs are submitted and chosen by users on the site.

Then, there is a company called Ponoko.  Customers here can create, sell, source and produce just about anything from tables to jewelry.  Visitors to the site can upload designs to the firm, which is located in New Zealand, and it then laser cuts the design in felt, metal, wood, or other materials.

At Spoonflower, anyone can design, order and sell custom printed fabric.  Designers earn 10 percent if somebody else orders one of their designed fabrics. The firm produces more than 2,000 yards of fabric a week, with more than 50 percent of the company’s customers making fabric to sell.

Spoonflower’s spokesperson says textile design is something that used to be limited to a tiny number of professionals and the products were mass produced. “But today, you put these tools for self-expression out there, and people will embrace them, whether it’s books, photography, or textile design. The same thing could easily be true for product and apparel design.  Micro-manufacturing could easily become a significant force in the United States.”

                                          Distinctive Conformity

Marshall Cohen, who is chief industry analyst at The NPD Group, says customers love Crowdsourcing but, “It’s got to be quick and easy for the consumer to execute.”  Discussing its popularity with young people, Cohen referred to what he called “distinctive conformity.”  Teens want to wear something no one else has, but they also don’t want to be laughed at. With the right kind of Crowdsourcing, they can create something unique, but not too unique!

NOT EVERYBODY IS INTO DESIGNING THEIR OWN PRODUCTS.  FOR THE MAJORITY OF US, JUST BUYING GOOD PRODUCTS AT THE RIGHT PRICE IS ENOUGH.  HERE ARE SOME GOOD EXAMPLES:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, September 13th, 2010

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 A FASCINATING NEW STUDY that can open immediate profit-making doors for fashion accessory retailers suggests that we’ve been thrust into an entirely new world where buyers are different – sometimes radically different – from what they used to be. This is a major challenge for retailers, because it is still essential to know and understand your buyers in order to succeed. 

The message, which is fairly urgent, is this: You may have understood your customers pretty well just yesterday, but that time has past!  We’re now into a new shopping reality where demographics matter very little but where personality types are critical!

Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer of WSL Strategic Retail, a retail and marketing strategy firm, contends that there are two critical personality dimensions that define shoppers now. “There are people who live within their means during the recession and will continue to do so, and there are people with the shopping gene who live to shop and will do it a lot.”

                                          5 Shopping Types

A recent survey by WSL called 2010 How America Shops Mega Trends Study, The Odyssey Begins to the New Retail World, further identifies five different shopping types that are emerging on the retail scene:

  • Shop-A-Lot Sue: Sounds familiar?  This is the gal that loves to shop, even though she may have limited means.  Her family income may hover around $60,000, but the survey found that this is not a deal breaker. “She knows she doesn’t have much to spend, so she shops smarter, which lets her buy more.” This is a buyer who does a lot of her shopping on line or at major discount stores such as Target or Wal-Mart. Dollar stores are her delight! 

            “She has given up aspirations for big name brands and is OK with less.”

     The survey found that the best marketing technique for Sue was offering coupons and sales promotions. “As a bargain hunter, she will return again and again to the places that reward her hunt.” Merchants should also try to make their stores as attractive as possible and offer as much “aspirational merchandise” as possible to appeal to this shopper.

 

ASPIRATIONAL MERCHANDISE?  WE HAVE PLENTY OF PRODUCTS WITH UPSCALE LOOKS AND VALUE PRICES!  CHECK THESE OUT:

 

 

                                          Reality Check  

 

 

  • Miserable Mona.  Ahh, this poor lass just can’t adjust to reality.  She, too, has a household income of around $60,000 but she is “so jaded by her financial situation that she finds no pleasure in shopping.”  She also shops at discount houses and dollar stores, but she doesn’t use online tools to help her.  “Making ends meet is a constant struggle.”

 

  • I’ll Pass Patty. She couldn’t care less about shopping; she views it merely as a necessity.

Patty enjoys a household income of $90,000, but she lives carefully within her means.  She often shops online to avoid going to stores.  According to the survey, “Low prices are important” to her but not if it means “having to shop around.”

  • Bubble Barbie.  This lass has spent the recession living in a bubble.  She has ignored all financial reports and continued to shop.  Her household income is $72,000 and she goes shopping often, even though she carries high debt.

   

   “Bubble Barbie is the best reason to do attractive displays of new products that stop her in the aisle and add more to her basket.  Sales and discounts are good” the survey said, “but they aren’t necessary for her to buy.”

 

  • Chic Chic Charlotte.  She has a high family income and she loves to shop.  However, she has been affected by the recession, and so buys less than she has in the past.  “The more affluent have developed a case of retail guilt.  She is not as spendthrift as she was in the Nineties.  Reassure her that you are offering her value.”

 

EXCELLENT PRODUCTS FOR THE MONEY.  HERE ARE SOME EVEN THE MOST FRUGAL CUSTOMER WON’T WANT TO PASS UP!

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, September 3rd, 2010

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NECKLACES, SCARVES, ACROSS-THE-BODY BAGS:  There is plenty of attention focused on the upper body right now. On top of that, a bevy of super-prints are jazzing up any outfit with stripes, art splashes, Africana earth patterns and Scandinavian geometrics.  It is all very rich, often quite bold, nothing timid or reticent about it at all.  You might call it casual wild. It looks great, very new, and very creative.  The way the designs are put together with the rest of an outfit invariably results in a very distinguished, individual look.  

Theory has the look down pat with a big, light weight wool scarf wrapped around the neck several times and then left to drape down the front of a very sporty outfit with grey leggings, white T shirt and grey leather jacket.  The look is super-Today.

Another dynamite look comes from Diane von Furstenberg, with a heavy ribbed black and white scarf wrapped around the neck and then floated down the front of a terrific outfit that includes a   great black blouse and green and blue mini skirt.  The scarf here makes the outfit.  It is heavy, voluminous, unexpected. It is also gorgeous, Frenchy.

                                      The Statement Necklace

BUT DON’T UNDERESTIMATE the power of the necklace in this look!  These are statement necklaces with an exclamation mark! Rebecca Taylor shows off a great looking big pave stone rope necklace, at least a couple of inches around, or more, in matte black.  It is an attention getter! 

From Steven Dweck comes another eye catcher.  This marvelous looking scarab necklace is a beaded chain, really, with numerous scarabs of varying sizes hanging off.  You’ve got to love bugs to love this one, and if you don’t, well….try learning how.  The scarab is on the rise this season!

Oh!  But we have barely scratched the surface with all the upper body fashion emphasis on right now.  Even shoulders get special attention, witness Alice + Olivia’s big feather shoulders on a dark mini dress. There is a real bird-like quality here!  Then, there are fur boas, just starting to come in.  Or, a huge cowl neck sweater that folds down over the entire bodice of an outfit by Joie.

Scarves with necklaces worn over them, sometime half hidden in the folds of material, are a new look that we’ve mentioned before.  Citizens of Humanity has a terrific looking example, with a big red and black scarf wrapped and tied around the neck and worn with double strand metallic pearls.  Very, very IN. IF IT IS WORN ABOVE THE WAIST, AND IF IT IS BIG, CONSIDER IT FOR FALL/WINTER DRESSING 2010.  CHECK OUT SOME OF THESE IDEAS:

 

 

                                             The Bottom Line

FROM THE HIP ON DOWN, the new look is skinny. Much of it is helped along by sky-high stiletto heels that look gorgeous and deadly, simultaneously.  Add to that a wild collection of high heeled, knee- or thigh- high boots, all very tight and leather-y and designer-fresh.  Basic shoes are no different:  super high, adorned with feathers and leather poufs and metal embellishments, never simple, never ready to take a back seat.  These, too, demand attention. 

That seems to be the code word for fall dressing.  ATTENTION!

More important still are the clothes and accessories that make up the lower-body skinny profile for fall.  They include skin-tight jeans, tights, sexy stockings, little butt-skimming shorts (very big now!), super-minis, and more.

Tights are particularly interesting, many of them splashed with color in the new paint-splattered way.  Others are shimmery, with silver or gold threads.  Unlike tights in former seasons, the embellishments aren’t even or balanced on both legs, they are more or less “thrown” onto one or both legs, indiscriminately.    

 

                                        French Decadence

AS FOR STOCKINGS, they are sometimes 1940s style, with garter belts or garters holding them up. The big color here is black. The big style is fishnet. A very sexy pair from Christian Dior is tan, reaching up to mid-calf and ending in a ruffle that acts as a garter.  How long these stockings will really hold up is anybody’s guess, but they look dangerous to me! Anyway, they also look very sexy with high heeled booties and a space between the upper thigh where they end and a flouncy, gossamer tan mini skirted dress begins. 

   —It’s that 6 or more inches of naked skin that sets the whole thing off wildly.

As for patterns on stockings, you name it!  Many are traditional fishnet, others are floral.  Black lace is also hot here.  Patterns and varying styles are big, but none of them detract from the basic skinny look played out by stockings, tights, etc. this season, or from the somewhat French decadent look many of these styles portray.

 

YOU CAN ADD TO THE EXCITEMENT OF TIGHT AND SKINNY BOTTOMS, HIGH HEELED SHOES, ETC. WITH GREAT ACCESSORIES.  HERE ARE SOME VERY NOW IDEAS:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Filed under Fashion Jewelry
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OH, AND WHAT A NIGHT IT IS GOING TO BE!  On September 10th, New York City will host a spectacular Fashion’s Night Out.  This will be the second such event for the Fashion Industry and it is expected to be bigger than ever.  So far, almost 1,000 stores have signed on to participate in the event, and all of them have agreed to stay open until 11PM.

In a press conference to unveil plans for the show, Mayor Bloomberg asserted that his administration is committed to doing “whatever is necessary to make this industry thrive.”  Well, that was an encouraging introduction to a whole series of designer speeches about the Night, featuring such luminaries as Tommy Hilfiger, Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, and many others. Even the preliminary to the Night was a dynamite blast!

                                                Lincoln Center 

Much of the excitement will be centered at Lincoln Center where, for the first time, Fashion’s Night Out will feature the city’s largest ever public fashion show.  Tickets start at $25 and proceeds will benefit the NYC AIDS Fund.  Those who can’t make it will be glad to know that cbs.com will live stream the runway extravaganza and will also present an hour long special about it on September 14th.  Check the site for details!

The Mayor pointed out that the classy Lincoln Center location for many of the events attached to fashion week should give it room to grow and flourish. “It should cement its reputation as a premier global event, “he declared.

Last year, the first run for Fashion’s Night Out racked up major kudos.  “Last year, thousands of customers showed up in our stores and all the other stores,” said Saks Inc. chairman and ceo Stephen I. Sadove.  They came and they had fun.  Designers showed up, and celebrities came.  It became a celebration of what fashion is all about.”

IF YOU PLAN TO BE THERE TOO, BE SURE TO ACCESSORIZE YOUR OUTFIT FOR THE MAXIMUM IMPACT.  HERE ARE SOME IDEAS:

 

 

                                       It Felt Like a Block Party

SUPER-STAR DESIGNER Marc Jacobs said it was a real challenge for him last year to travel between his Spring Street store and Mercer Street boutique, both in NYC’s SoHo district. “It took me about two hours to get down two blocks because I was stopped every single moment by people who were out on the street for Fashion’s Night Out.

To the designer, the Night felt “like a block party. It felt like a sense of community and it felt like what I think fashion and shopping is all about – a social ritual people enjoy.”

Bloomberg chimed in with much of the same sentiment.  But he also said he thinks that “people don’t realize how competitive the world is today – for business, for tourists, for people to get an education. 

“We have to be out there spreading the word about what’s good for New York and what is good here in New York.” Of course, it is really impossible to separate the New York Fashion Industry from the Nation’s Fashion Industry.  What’s good for one is good for the other.  

GETTING THE NEW YORK LOOK IS SOMETHING ELSE AGAIN, HOWEVER.  IT IS VERY SPECIFIC.  VERY SOPHISTICATED.   AND, INVARIABLY, VERY DEPENDENT ON GREAT ACCESSORIES.  LOOK HERE FOR WHAT WE MEAN:

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010