Archive for ‘Fashion Economy’

May 9, 2016

Why Sunglasses Today Make Best Price Quality Ratio For Brand Name Goods

PersolAverage consumer and active fashion shopper in her 40s has witnessed steep decline in fashion industry. The glamour, celebrity fluff is still a main focal point of Vogue magazine, but it’s not a focal point of Business of Fashion , the online independent publication that writes about how things really are in fashion. And we read a lot about outlet stores, fires, outsourcing of labor and talent and the hopes to milk average American consumer.

In eyeglasses brand name sector North American market accounts for 70% of total sales. When it comes to eyeglasses and sunglasses Americans and Canadians just love brand name. It has to be either fashion brand name such as Giorgio Armani, Prada, Gucci etc, or very promoted eyeglasses brand name such as Ray-Ban and Oakley. Unless everyone heard of the brand, American will simply won’t buy a product.

And Americans can and want to buy authentic product. They consult their optician and try to buy from verified sources online like EyeInform website.

Also, eyeglasses consumer does not tolerate bad quality. Eyeglasses are meant to last and look like new for at least two years. Cutting corners on material and workmanship won’t achieve the result.

One of the main reasons I think why eyeglasses are still made amazing is because industry hasn’t entirely given up. Eyeglasses companies are in for a long term game. There is no 4 year term CEO who only cares for short term profit at expense of future of the company. There is no room to cut quality and style.

Sure enough, it’s true that Ray-Ban, some Dolce & Gabbana, some Burberry and other brands have models made in China. But you won’t tell the quality difference if you take a pair into your own hands. As long as you buy from known source you can be sure you are buying real product. Some brands continue making exclusively in Italy. All sunglasses by Roberto Cavalli, Tom Ford, Dior, Gucci, Chanel are made in Italy.

The strong independent retail sector plays an important role to why brand name sunglasses are best as they ever been in 2016. Independent retailers make at least 30% of all sunglasses and glasses sales for many famous brands and as much as 80% for brands such as Dior, Roberto Cavalli, Hugo Boss and Gucci. Independent retailers are extremely careful of what they pick for their stores because firstly they need to pay upfront and secondly if product bad quality they will take the biggest hit. If product is not up to a high standard independent store will not carry it.

Today eyeglasses make the best brand name purchase when it comes to price/quality ratio and also beauty and utility.

October 3, 2013

Marc Jacobs Is Now A Businessman

marcJacobsMarc Jacobs has announced that he is quitting Louis Vuitton after 16 years as the Chief Creative Director. He is leaving to concentrate on his own label Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs to take it IPO. Today he showed his last collection for LV in Paris, as usually with a lot of stage drama. Most of models were in black colors and short silhouettes, it is up to us to interpret it in our own ways.

The reason of his leave – an IPO work, promotes him from a designer or creative director to a real businessman, a CEO, Financial Director and so forth. Ambitions are set high to repeat the legacy of Tom Ford, who also once left LV for his own label management. The leave was a success for Tom Ford who went off to independent life engaging in business of fashion and designing nothing. Who wants to stand near the drawing board with seamstresses when he can rub shoulders with financiers.

Nevertheless Louis Vuitton can’t keep unquestionably the most consistent and hardworking designer in the industry forever. Marc Jacobs brand was launched a year before the aspiring designer joined LV. Over the past 16 years he was splitting his time between LV collections and Marc Jacobs. His own label did very well opening stores all over the world and licensing his name to various initiatives, sunglasses and glasses included. A few years ago Marc Jacobs name was licensed to Safilo for undisclosed number of million dollars.

Int past 16 years Louis Vuitton brand survived China and recession. China posed a tremendous threat to the brand when LV trademark was not granted to Louis Vuitton, but other company who immediately started to copy LV products and sell them as real. Sales went global and confused consumer started to under-appreciate the brand and buy fakes as real. Louis Vuitton fought back by opening stores in central malls in Asia, suing eBay and significantly lowering the prices of their products to close the gap between real and fakes. It is not clear what role Marc Jacobs played in this strategy, but he surely learned enough business lessons to continue as independent businessman.

An IPO for fashion companies is a great marketing tool. We expect to see more free press coverage over the next year, just like it was with Prada two years ago before Prada IPOed in Hong Kong. IPO certainly allowed Muccia Prada cash out big, while quality of her products decreased dramatically. Entire legacy of Prada shoes was erased in one year when entire manufacturing was outsourced to Vietnam. No more Devil wears Prada. No doubt that the pressure to decrease costs to increase profit was posed by shareholders who cared for stock more than long term legacy of the brand. Reputation of Marc Jacob brand is potentially on the line as well. Today brand is known for it’s immense creativity, fun factor, reasonable price and quality. It is still quite a niche brand, and IPO could allow it to grow in a good sense. It will all be up to Marc Jacobs.

October 1, 2013

A Real Cost of Participating in a Fashion Week

fashionWeekFashion weeks is a multi-million dollar business. Thousands of jobs got created because of this 20th century entertainment phenomena. These days every large city wants to host their own Fashion week. Paris, Milan and New York hold the largest fashion weeks twice a year. Other big cities that have a fashion week are Toronto, Tokyo, Shanghai, Berlin Los Angeles and dozen others.

Have you ever wondered how expensive is to participate in a fashion week? Do they charge fees? Do they pay any labels to participate? What is a real cost of presenting a collection at a international fashion week? Here is what we found out:

To participate well established labels don’t have to pay entry fee, nor they need to pay for the venue since tickets are sold to attend that cover these costs. They however have to pay for decoration and operations of the show they are putting. A fashion show revealing the new collection can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars according to Forbes. Cost is broken down between setting up the venue decor, furniture, building the runway and backstage room, hosting a reception, hiring models, stylists and make-up artists and so forth. According to Forbes interview with a famous fashion show producer Thomas Onorato, certain costs may appear surprising. Large labels can shell $20,000-50,000 just to hire a celebrity stylist or makeup artist, which in turn will pay off in increased sales if presentation goes well. Some models request a special suite, that of course, has to be built at participating label’s cost, this on the top of paying the model. A famous phrase by Linda Evangelista “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000” which was said back in 90’s gives us a rough idea how much just a few minute appearance can cost designers.

A newly emerging label has to pay differently. While it is up to them how much operating expenses they want to spend, they have to pay for venue rental on top of that. As venues compete for business, some offer value-add participation by providing services such as lighting and stage organization such as MAC and Milk in New York. But even to those, to get in, a designer has to be invited. So, you can’t be just completely new label.

As shows get larger, with close to 300 labels showcasing collections a few minutes apart during the week, scheduling of events is becoming more challenging. Paris fashion week has a reputation of a very good organization with not more than one large label showing the collection per hour. This gives media time to switch between the viewings. New York fashion week in contrary, has a bad reputation of scheduling that affects labels in the long term. If media and photographers didn’t get a chance to make good pictures there will be no publicizing later. Perhaps this is the reason why so many grand labels, such as Versace or Dior for example did not participate in the New York fashion week this year. In a slow economy labels have a choice where to put their money.

February 8, 2012

Clothing and Fashion Accessories Made in USA

With economy slowly picking up after recession and upcoming presidential elections I think big topic of this year will be “Made in USA“. Apparel industry has retreated to China over the past 20 years and up until recently we could hardly find any clothing, shoes or accessories made locally. We kept talking about lost jobs, but kept buying what’s no longer made here, in most cases not because we didn’t want, but because we didn’t know what and where.

According to NY Times in 1960 98% of all shoes sold in America were made in America. Today, less than 10% is made here. But apparel industry does exist in America. Clothing follows similar fate. Not all industries are in such a tough position, for example car manufacturing, heavy manufacturing and food industries are mostly localized still.

So if you are one of those who’d say “Common, I want to buy Made in USA, but I can’t find it!”, we would like to offer a list of companies that largely sell what is produced here. I must admit that my research showed that clothing made in USA is more of a higher end with top or shirt prices averaging $100. But in many cases quality and design wouldn’t disappoint you.

Here is a list of companies that we discovered make their clothing in the USA. Note, unfortunately none of these companies make everything in USA, but according to our research, they do make either some or large percentage. Please e-mail them when considering buying specific item.

Ella Moss

Average price for a top: $120

Style: semi-casual

Target market: mid-age women

California inspired style, simplistic and classic. Ella Moss clothing caters to mid age women who prefer semi-casual style. There are many items to mix and match that will help you look professional and non-conventional at the same time. Many fabrics are natural such as cotton, semi-natural rayon etc.

Eileen Fisher

Average price for a top: $200

Style: casual, comfortable

Target market: mid-age women

Self-made, successful entrepreneur Eileen Fisher shares her passion through her environmentally inspired designs. Huge advocate for woman rights, Fisher styles are to deliver comfort at all costs. Most of items are very zen. Their website has four words to describe what they create: Simple. Sensual. Beautiful. Timeless. Functional.

Nicole Miller

Average price for a top: $200

Style: dressy & evening

Target market: young & rich

Hippie inspired Nicole Miller designs are for free spirited girls. Long skirts, colorful striped cardigans are mixed with classic little black dresses and evening gowns. Nicole Miller also has a wedding dress collection that is quite a treat. Clothing collection is on the pricey side though – a simple cardigan sells for over $500, but hey, if you can afford it, perhaps it will be your way to support Made in USA niche market.

Kate Spade

Average price for a top: $250

Style: dressy & casual

Target market: young and mid-age posh women

Kate Spade is one of the most known New York designers who grew her company to multi-billion dollar empire. Perhaps, recently company is most known for its signature colorful leather bags and shoes. Note, most of shoes are made in Italy, while many clothing items are made in the USA. Company is positioned towards high end with average dress price $500. Also, you will find a very large choice of accessories such as jewelry, hats and eyeglasses. If you are into shopping or searching for ideas, Kate Spade is one to visit for sure.


Average price for a top: $250

Style: semi-casual, business

Target market: mid-age working women

Relatively young, only 15 years old company, Theory took the stage by their urban modern designs. There is a big men collection and quite frankly ladies designs are also more gender neutral driven. But, this is what urban and modern all about nowadays, especially in our highly emancipated society.

7 for All Mankind

Average price for a top: $70

Style: casual

Target market: teen to young professionals

This company has reinvented jeans as we knew them. One of the first jeans companies that took a stage as high end offering their premium quality, Made only in USA, awesome jeans for $200 a pair. 15 years ago spending that much money on jeans was unspeakable, but today, this is about average what an urban chick will spend. Jeans made our culture, framed our spirits and continue to remain the prime bottom element of our daily attire. Note, company also has a small collection of other clothing such as tops, shirts and jackets, but they are not made in USA. All jeans are!

Joes Jeans

Average price for a top: $1oo

Style: casual

Target market: young men and women

Another high end jeans manufacturer, a direct competitor to 7 jeans. This brand offers more variety of styles that are both artsy and even a bit Japanese inspired. As compared to other jeans companies, Joes has much more other clothing apart from jeans. All jeans are Made in USA.

Helmut Lang

Average price for a top: $200

Style: casual

Target market: free spirited mid-age people

A company with rich international history Helmut Lang will surprise you with some striking designs. It is a treat for an eye to see some fresh ideas such as disproportional lines and avant-garde twists in much casual collection this year. Helmut Lang – a company founder is Austrian. Company was briefly owned by Prada and now is in hands of Japanese corporation. What started with slick conservative suits, now turned into crazy casual stretched tops and tees. Enjoy while it lasts.

Another notable companies, that manufacture in the USA are:

Citizens of Humanity

Hudson Jeans

J Brand Jeans

If know of any more companies who manufacture clothing in USA, post a comment and we will gladly add it to this list. I really hope it can grow to couple of hundreds!