Category: Business of Fashion

Did You Watch the Debate Last Night?

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Did you watch the debate last night? Hillary Clinton wore a fire-red pant suit as per her usual and threw jabs with Trump last night. Her pant suits are a little boring but work well for her political persona. Pant suits can be very comfortable, I hardly ever see Hillary in a dress.

Anyway, are you registered to vote? It’s National Voter Registration Day. Make sure you’re ready for November 8th, a big day in America. Register here if you aren’t already registered.

To shop suits similar to Hillary’s, click here.

Sincerely,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda F. Knowles

Why Loehmann’s is Going Out of Business

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So, as you may know Loehmann’s has officially bit the dust declaring bankruptcy for the third time last month. They listed assets of $100 million and debt of $500 million with no real prospective buyers. Loehmann’s was the last true off-price giant standing.

As a kid, I remember going into Loehmann’s with my mother and late grandmother who would show me tags with the dramatic discount marked with “original price” markers. There was an air of excitement when we went to Loehmann’s and we always seemed to come out with something special. Over the years, we stopped going into Loehmann’s and I remember the store becoming somewhat of a mess with home goods being sold and all kinds of things unrelated to its original womenswear premise. I stopped enjoying the store and that was the end of it.

Here’s a few things to remember about Loehmann’s:

1) Frieda Loehmann and her son Charles opened their first store on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn

2) Frieda would always pay cash for purchases for the store and was reluctant to open up any more locations

3) The company filed for bankruptcy three times, each time pledging to appeal to a younger audience, revive their image and stand out against competition

4) Loehmann’s had a website but did not jump on the e-commerce bandwagon until late 2011

5) Online flash sale sites like Gilt Groupe and Rue La La upended their business model of selling off-price season old merchandise

The company indeed made many terrible mistakes but in a world of cheap, fast fashion where quality is being sacrificed for price, a store like Loehmann’s simply could not stay in business. The retailer will go down in history and hopefully, the fashion world will return to valuing quality merchandise sometime soon.

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Sincerely,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda Knowles

My Sketch Model Wasn’t Skinny Enough

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Rough Fashion Sketch by Malinda Knowles, 2012

I have a confession to make. When I first learned how to sketch fashion models and various fabrics, I remember being repeatedly chastised for drawing too wide of a nose and hips. It was like I had to re-learn the human body outside of my own shape or what I thought most people look like. Now, hey, fashion language is fashion language. And, fashion rules are ‘rules.’ Right? At this point, there’s just a few books being used to teach sketching, and an entire segment of our population is being ignored.

I’m not just talking about plus-size folks. I’m talking about anyone above a sample size. Anyone who isn’t at least five feet eight inches tall and skinny. And the largest segment, anyone who isn’t fair-skinned. It was funny that in class I naturally drew some color on my models while many others reached for the light pink marker only. Nothing wrong with that in class, but isn’t there something wrong with that in real life?

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As Fashion Week (or month) approaches, we will all wait with bated breath to see the new Spring 2014 Collections, but we will also wait to see if anyone used a different marker for their models. That is, will we see any African-Americans or just plain non-white models on the runway? Recently, designers have missed the mark. And as the rich and famous (i.e. Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Kelly, Beyoncé) continue to be a muse and advertisement for designers, what does it really say that they can be photographed in the merchandise but no model on the runway can look like them?

Now you may care less and really this is not about my personal feelings. This is business. The world does not all look the same. I have admittedly not done my statistical research but from what I know, non-white women buy and enjoy high-end fashion as well.  So why not break up the monotony of those fashion sketch models and moreover real-life models on the runway and represent the true diversity of the world?

08zJPRACE1-popupAccording to the New York Times, fashion model Iman will be organizing a social media campaign at the beginning of New York Fashion Week to bring attention to the lack of diversity on the runways in the past several years. She contends that something is “terribly wrong.” Her experience in the 1980s and 1990s was that designers would routinely hire black models and now they barely hire one.

Whatever happens, I just hope that designers and the industry can wake up and see that huge business opportunities are being missed by completely ignoring of an entire group of people.

Sincerely,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda Knowles

Google Glasses Taking Over The World?

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So I just came across my first Google glasses fashion statement at the Absolut Vodka Open Canvas Event in Brooklyn this past weekend and I was in awe. I was casually chit chatting with crochet artist Olek’s and her friend when it dawned on me that I had never seen these glasses that she had on. I put my fashion blogger cap on and had to ask, what kind of glasses are those??

They both quickly answered saying they were Google glasses. First thought was how high-tech and interesting. Second thought was that she looked kind of geeky and that they were clunky and not too fashionable. ‘Nerd Gear’ were the exact words that came to mind. I wondered if these so-called ‘sophisticated’ Google glasses were really worth all the hype and hysteria? And not to mention, $1500 price tag? I do not own a pair but supposedly it’s like having a smartphone, but it’s on your face. I actually prefer search engine Bing, I wonder can I access that through Google glasses? I mean, just how important is it to be so uber-connected to society that you need to physically wear glasses that will allow you to record a “Google video” or conduct a “Google hangout” while riding a rollercoaster?

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For now, I remain skeptical. It looks like another unnecessary and over-hyped piece of ‘fancy technology’ that Google is using to make a good profit. And, at $1500 a pop, I’m sure they certainly are generating a fabulous return. And, of course wearable technology is the next fashion frontier. Hell, perhaps one day we’ll look back at this post and laugh, and Google glasses and whatever else really will have taken over the world. In the meantime, however, I’m not buying it. Google glasses are just an unnecessary technological toy that might make you look cool at a party.

What’s your opinion?

Sincerely,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda Knowles

Miami Design District, Graffiti and Louis Vuitton

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Graffiti Covers Louis Vuitton Store in Miami

Louis-Vuitton-Graffiti-Alma-Horizontal-Satchel-Handbag-_37236_front_large_0According to Business of Fashion, developer Craig Robins’ Miami Design District is growing at a rapid pace. Artists, interior designers, architects, and luxury good stores have clustered in the neighborhood. The feel of Miami, everlasting impact of Cuban and Latin American culture, as well as the artwork are shaping the character of this new district and business is experiencing success. Real Estate professional Zendell stated that “…before, Miami was a place to unload your summer gear, now even cashmere sells in Miami.”

I thought it was particularly interesting that artwork and even graffiti seem to permeate the area. Street artist Retna covered the Louis Vuitton store graffiti-style and the brand has marketed graffiti-covered merchandise as well. Robins states that “when you come here there will be a lot of art, anchored by the Rosa de la Cruz collection and my own collection.” Robins is an avid supporter and collector of the arts. He is Founder and Chairman of the Anaphiel Foundation, member of the Board of Trustees of the Miami Art Museum, and Principal of Art Basel Miami. Over 100 brands are expected to have locations in the District by the end of 2015, and I am very excited to see the area develop.  

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Graffiti Wall in Miami
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Graffiti Wall by Rime in Miami

Sincerely Yours,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda Knowles

Fishy Business: Goldfish Swim in Handbags for Graduating Designer Cassandra Verity Green

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So Central St. Martin had their annual fashion show to showcase the work of its graduating students. Designer Cassandra Verity Green decided to feature her ‘pet goldfish’ swimming in her handbags on the runway. Now that’s fishy business.

According to the Telegraph UK, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) absolutely does not approve of the use of living creatures on the catwalk. A spokeswoman for the organization stated: “While we understand that a graduate fashion show is about grabbing attention and headlines, we do have concerns that using a living creature to create a novel or unusual accessory encourages people to see them as replaceable ornaments, rather than living creatures in need of care and commitment.”

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Now fashion is an art form and the runway features lots of fashion that never retails. Fashion always seems to strike a nerve, push boundaries and create controversy. But, isn’t that what fashion is supposed to do?

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Whether Cassandra meant to retail her goldfish handbags or not, we must admit that it was a creative idea. It is the translation from runway to real way that the RSPCA is concerned with. But I think most of us want our handbags to accommodate items such as cell phones and lipstick, not goldfish.

Sincerely,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda Knowles

Retail Fashion Truck on Wheels Post in Olena Fashion TV’s Magazine

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Hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend! Olena Fashion TV recently reached out to me to feature a guest post in their online Fashion Magazine. Check out my post First Food Trucks, Now Retail Fashion Trucks on Wheels? article in the online magazine here.

Sincerely,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda Knowles

Fashion Group International’s Fall/Winter 2013 Ready to Wear Trend Presentation

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So this week I attended the Fashion Group International’s Ready to Wear Fashion Trend Presentation with host Diane von Furstenberg and discussion panelists blogger Bryanboy, Fashion Consultant Julie Gilhart, Fashion Editor Ana Maria Pimental, Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Director Colleen Sherin and Beauty Director of InStyle Magazine Amy Synnott D’Annibale.

Between the video and panel discussion, there was a lot to be said about current Ready to Wear fashion trends. The presentation mentioned several interesting trends including what I’ve been talking about on the blog; art, graphic prints and pop art on garments like that of Tom Ford’s Fall 2013 Collection (shown below) and Mary Katrantzou Spring 2011 Collection.

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Also on the trend list, 3D fabrics and ‘touchy-feely’ quality like Commes des Garcon’s rose fabric manipulation in his Fall  2013 Runway Collection shown in Paris shown below. The presentation also touched on Marc Jacob’s nightwear to red carpet lingerie looking collection, hot pants and  the Chanel runway boots shown for Fall 2013 shown at Paris Fashion Week.

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It was noted that slouchy, comfortable and less rigid handbags like those from the Celine Fall 2013 Collection (shown below) were making the trend list.

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In an amazingly patterned arm sling, Diane opened up the panel discussion asking the question: “what is fashion?” She added that “anything goes” these days as you see people wearing high and low end, mixing it all together. She also said that “everyone is a stylist. Bryanboy answered that it was about comfort; “lifestyles are different now…women work insane schedules” so they need clothing that will go from day to night.  As someone that fits into that category, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

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The conversation continued with comments about the future of fashion shows in the digital age, accessories on the runway, Yves St. Laurent’s Collection and John Galliano’s racist remarks. Diane brought up some major points including that shoes are really not accessories since a woman thinks about where she is going and if she will have to walk first before deciding the rest of her outfit. She also mentioned that 3D printing is big now and that if you don’t know what it is you will. When asked about the price of clothes going through the roof, Diane commented saying that her wrap dress “…was 86 dollars back in the day, now it’s about 400 dollars.” She explained that “things are different” and designers have more expenses. In the past, models would bring their own shoes to runway shows.

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Moral of the story is that there are definitely trends happening but it is true that seemingly “anything goes” these days and everyone is simply adjusting to the rapid pace of change with the advent of the digital world in which we are living.

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Yours,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda Knowles

 

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I’m Having a Curious George Moment: LED Lights and Mobile App Controlled Fashion from CuteCircuit

So yesterday I was reading that on the Today’s Show, tech expert Katie Linendoll came on to talk about her LED Light dress from CuteCircuit. I hadn’t heard of such a thing and was quite impressed. While the techies programming t-shirts and dresses for use with mobile apps, Twitter, Instagram and whatever else may be on to something great I was not that into the actual fashion of it all. But, maybe that will come down the line. For now, I’m just fascinated with the idea that you can ‘program’ your clothing and turn on a virtual light show with what you’re wearing.

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Katy Perry in an LED Light Dress

I do wonder though how do you wash something like that? This is a trend that clearly has a lot of developing to do but for now, bravo to the tech geeks and folks at CuteCircuit for exploring such an idea. Check out the video from CuteCircuit below for their Pink and Black Haute Couture Collection for Summer 2013. Interesting is all I have to say.

Yours,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda Knowles

Cold Weather Messing Up Things

So, this is the first April that I really haven’t been much excited about getting a cute spring birthday outfit (I’m an income tax baby, birthday is April 15), because it’s still just about 50 degrees in New York!

This is really messing up business. According to the Labor Department, accessories and apparel stores cut 15,300 seasonally adjusted jobs last month and according to Women’s Wear Daily, retail employment fell by 24,000. This isn’t just messing up Spring/Summer Fashion 2013 business but it’s disheartening Northeast spring fashion lovers too. Yesterday, I went to a Guess event in midtown and they had some beautiful, lightweight pastel skirts, pants and jackets for Spring but with the wind blowing outside, there didn’t seem to be too much impetus to buy. I did pick up this cute neon ring and can’t wait until it gets a little warmer.

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Cold Weather really is messing up things but I have some ideas to share while we wait on Spring Summer that have been keeping me feeling “winter-springy” up to this point.

Get yourself some nice leather pants and maybe some with pops of color. Yellow, magenta, and black of course will definitely be in for the Fall so not only can you wear them while we wait for warmer times, but you can wear them for Fall Winter 2013-2014 too. Check out a few below from J. Brand, Balenciaga, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Acne. For a lower price point, Nasty Gal has plenty of vegan leather leggings to choose from.

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Yours,

“Fashionably-Late”

Malinda Knowles