Entries in Clothes (9)


Fired Orange Workers Couldn't Get Coffee, Speak Over Cubicle Walls

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.) -- Six of the workers fired from a law firm in Deerfield Beach, Fla., on March 16 for wearing orange have retained a lawyer and may pursue legal action against their former employer, who allegedly would not allow workers to speak to each other over their cubicle walls.

Attorney Donna Ballman now represents six of the 14 support staff who say they were accused of staging a protest against workplace conditions and then fired abruptly, as first reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Ballman said she has been trying to get in contact with the Elizabeth R. Wellborn law firm, where the workers had been employed, but there has not been a response.

"If they won't discuss this, we are going to pursue our legal remedies," Ballman said.  She declined to say if the fired workers will seek damages or try to get their jobs back.

The Elizabeth R. Wellborn law firm, which may have as many as 275 employees, did not return a request for comment.

Ballman said Elizabeth Wellborn's husband gathered most, though not all, of the employees who were wearing orange that day and they were "told that management thought they were wearing orange shirts to protest working conditions, and they should pack their things and leave," Ballman said.

Ballman said some workers may have been wearing orange to mimic the uniform color often used by the Florida Department of Corrections.  Those workers may have been protesting new work rules imposed by a new manager earlier this month.  She said, for example, that they could not speak to coworkers over the walls of their cubicles, even to discuss work-related matters.

"They couldn't go to the break room and get coffee while on the clock," she said.  "There were suddenly lots of new restrictions on them.  Some of them were upset about those new rules."

Ballman said, "Different people were wearing orange for different reasons that day, but the fact is it doesn't matter."  She said there have been cases where firing employees because management didn't like their shirts were found to be unlawful, including when AT&T workers wore shirts that said "Inmate #" on the front and on the back said "Prisoner of AT$T", which was activity protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

"Firing because people engaged in activities or are suspected of engaging in activities for objecting to working conditions are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act," she said.  The National Labor Relations Act protects certain activities with or without a union, and gives employees the right to discuss, comment and complain about working conditions.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Jersey Shore's' The Situation Fires Back at Abercrombie & Fitch

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Less than a month after Abercrombie & Fitch offered Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino money to not wear its clothes, the Jersey Shore star has issued his own proposal to the clothing retailer. reports lawyers for "The Situation" have sent a cease-and-desist letter to Abercrombie & Fitch, ordering it to stop selling T-shirts that parody Jersey Shore with phrases like "The Fitchuation."  The letter, which claims trademark infringement, seeks all profits from sales of the shirts.  

In August, Abercrombie & Fitch offered "The Situation" and his co-stars a "substantial payment" to stop wearing its clothes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Moms Sell, Trade, Swap Baby Clothes for Extra Cash

Tom Grill/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new addition to the family is a joy, but there is no joy in the bills that come with outfitting an infant that can outgrow clothes before you take the tags off.

The average American home spends $700 to $1,000 on baby clothes in a baby's first year, and hundreds more on all of the baby gear, like toys and carriers, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Most agree that's a big investment for items that are only used for a few months before they are outgrown.

We all know parents would love to get back a little of that cash they're shelling out, so ABC’s Lara Spencer showed parents ways they can save a little cash and help others in the process.

The most valuable items are usually clothes that are still new with tags, and name-brand baby clothes, said Gayle Raskin, co-owner of Jane's Exchange, a New York City consignment shop that specializes in children's items. Some brands that will re-sell easily are Ralph Lauren, Gap, Gymboree, and Tea. Even non-brand essentials can make money, especially if grouped together. A group of hats will sell better on eBay compared to packing them individually. Lastly, baby gear that still has its original packaging or directions can get top dollar.

How to Swap, Donate Your Gently Used Baby Clothes:  Parents who have old baby clothes can trade gently used clothes with fellow parents for other clothes. There are several websites available, including Thred Up, where moms can trade clothes that are too small for the next size up of gently used clothes. Also, there are a number of places moms can donate old baby gear, including Goodwill, Baby Buggy, Baby2Baby and Room to Grown.

How to Sell Your Gently Used Baby Clothes:  For those looking to sell, a reminder that there are some items that should never be sold, and that you should never buy stained and soiled items and recalled items.

If you are unsure about an item's safety or selling condition, it is always a good idea to do an online search before you sell any gear, especially cribs, car seats or carriers, to make sure the item you're selling is not recalled. In addition, most lactation experts advise against re-selling breast pumps. Additional great places where mom can sell their baby items are on eBay, Craigslist, or a consignment store.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Retailers Justify Price Hike with Cheap Stitching, Buttons

Jochen Sand/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents and kids shopping for that new outfit for the first day of school may be surprised by the sudden price hike at some popular stores.

Retailers are raising prices on clothing during this back-to-school season by an average of 10 percent to offset the rising costs of labor and materials.

Many retailers are worried that more of their customers are cash-strapped and will balk at the higher prices, so they are using creative ways to pump up their profits.

"Let the consumer trickery begin," said Brian Sozzi, a retail analyst for Wall Street Strategies.

Some stores are adding cheap stitching or buttons to justify the hike, while others are using less-expensive fabric and calling it a new look. Those embellishments can add pennies to $1 to the cost of a garment, but retailers can charge $10 more for them, according to Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with market research firm The NDP Group.

"Stores are making consumers believe they're getting more for their money," said Cohen. Abercrombie & Fitch, one of the most popular brands among teens, is one of the retailers raising prices. This year the brand is advertising a "Redesigned 2012" jean collection that features "softer" jeans with "the perfect amount of stretch." They are priced between $78 and $88, $10 more than they were last year.

Eric Cerny, a spokesman for Abercrombie & Fitch, declined to comment, but reiterated what executives recently told investors -- increases will happen in September and the chain will not sacrifice quality to achieve cost reductions.

Sozzi examined the jeans and said he believes they are thinner and "of cheaper quality." The extra stretch, he says, could mean the company is saving costs by using less denim.

Production and labor costs are expected to rise 10 percent to 20 percent in the second half of the year, even though they have remained low for almost two decades. Costs can quickly add up -- raw materials account for 25-50 percent of the cost of garments, while labor accounts for 20-40 percent, according to analysts.

After the price for girls' corduroy pants almost doubled, Lands' End, based in Dodgeville, Wis., raised the price of the pants from $7 to $34.50. The company also added buttons and extra stitching to dress them up.

"Consumers are going to notice the price differences," said Lands' End spokeswoman Michele Casper. "But they are also going to get a lot of added benefits so they know they're not getting shortchanged."  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Abercrombie & Fitch Offers 'The Situation' Money to Stop Wearing Its Clothes

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW ALBANY, Ohio) -- Here's an unusual situation.  Abercrombie & Fitch wants to pay Jersey Shore star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino to not wear its apparel.

The clothing retailer wants to keep its distance from "The Sitch," who wore a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch sweatpants in the most recent episode of the hit MTV series.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Abercrombie & Fitch said in a statement released Tuesday, "We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans."

The company didn't disclose how much it's offering The Situation, describing the amount only as a "substantial payment."  His Jersey Shore co-stars have been extended similar offers.

Ironically, Abercrombie & Fitch has parodied, and profited from, The Situation's popularity by selling a T-shirt with the phrase "The Fitchuation" printed on it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


End-Game for Clothing Retailers? Body Scanner Finds Perfect Size

David Woolley/Stockbyte(NEW YORK) -- Shopping can turn into an anxiety-fueled excursion when women find they are a size 4 in one store but a size 10 in another. It's called "vanity sizing," and stores do it all the time, but a new scanning device may be the answer for finding the perfect clothing size.

"Manufacturers or retailers take what should be a 6 and call it a 4 to make women feel a little bit better about themselves," said Stephanie Clifford, a retail industry reporter for The New York Times. "It's just led to so much confusion...but it's not us. It's the clothes."

My-Best-Fit is a machine with a walk-in chamber that scans the shopper's body and takes 200,000 different measurements of her shape. After the scan is complete, the machine then spits out a receipt of what size and style clothing would best fit the shopper at certain stores.

"[Size 0] was introduced in the '90s," Clifford said. "Back in the '20s, the minimum size was around 16."

While Marilyn Monroe famously said she was a size 12, in today's fashion world, she would probably be a size 2. Experts say that shrinking clothing sizes can manipulate the way we view ourselves.

"There is no question that for some who are vulnerable to difficulties regarding body image," said Dr. Evelyn Attia, the director of the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders at Columbia University Medical Center. "The size matters. Numbers matter. Numbers on the scale matter. Numbers on the back of clothing tags matter."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clothing 'Made in America': Should U.S. Manufacture More Clothes?

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- What would happen if you took off every article of clothing that wasn't made in America?

That's the challenge ABC News gave commuters in New York City's famed Grand Central Station recently, with some eye-popping results.

In most cases, our participants would have been standing naked in the terminal had we not called off the experiment before it was too late. It's a stark example of a stunning fact: Some 98 percent of the clothing purchased in the United States is imported from abroad. Just two percent of clothing bought in this country is manufactured on U.S. soil.

On the concourse at Grand Central, the clothing labels read like a trip around the world, with sweatshirts made in Honduras, T-shirts from Vietnam and scarves from China.

China is by far the clothing leader, with whole towns dedicated to manufacturing specific goods. The town of Datang, for example, makes one-third of the world's socks. ABC's David Muir visited a Datang sock factory last fall, meeting a worker named Chen Gulfang. She and her husband came to work at the factory, leaving behind their nine-year-old son with his grandparents to take advantage of a big opportunity. The demand is so great in Datang that the factory head said the company was looking to hire 200 more workers immediately.

A worker at the Chinese sock factory makes just $14 a day, or $270 in month. In America, a clothing worker makes $88 a day, or $1,760 a month.

Given that stark difference, how can an American clothing company ever manufacture affordable socks? Many economists say that American companies shouldn't even try.

"I don't think this is where we should compete with China, frankly," said Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute. "What we're good at is the production of advanced goods."

In the case of clothing, that means focusing on the design of high-technology gear like the waterproof and windproof jackets from outdoor clothing giant The North Face. At The North Face's lab in San Leandro, Calif., 400 employees work diligently to design the next generation of advanced clothing that foreign competitors simply can't match.

But despite the challenges presented by cheaper foreign manufacturers, there are still plenty of companies that have continued to make clothing domestically.

At Round House Workwear in Oklahoma, employees have been manufacturing durable work clothes for 108 years. Today, the company is thriving, fueled in large part by customers who want to buy clothing that is 100 percent made in America.

"In the last 40 years, we're one of the few companies that's never had a layoff," said David Antosh, vice president of Round House Workwear. "And we're one of the only ones that's actually grown."

In 2008, the company opened a second factory to help it keep up with increasing business. Eighty employees manufacture clothes that are sold domestically and even exported to boutiques in France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom where fashion-conscious buyers snap them up.

"They're all interested in the authenticity of made in the U.S.A.," said Antosh.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Clothing Prices Expected to Rise by 10 Percent

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Low inflation, cheap overseas labor and low materials cost have kept clothing prices in the U.S. low for years but those bargains may soon be coming to an end.

Retail and consumer experts at Strategic Resource Group say clothing prices are projected to go up by 10 percent or more as the year goes on, with the biggest increase expected to occur during back-to-school time.  The price hikes are due to the price of cotton doubling over the past year and a steep increase in the cost of creating synthetic fabrics.

Virtually all of the popular brand names will be affected, including Levi Strauss, North Face, Nautica, Wrangler and Lee.

Hardest hit will be those retailers catering specifically to middle- and lower-income shoppers, who will likely shy away from paying more for clothing and accessories.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thrift Stores Gaining in Great Recession

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Second-hand shops once considered the bottom-of-the-barrel for shoppers are getting a boost as consumers living the great recession discover better inventory and bargains.

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, saw comparable store sales decline by 1.5 percent year-to-date, according to investment research firm Morningstar. Meanwhile, its competitor Target had a soft third quarter with comparable store sales up only slightly by 1.6 percent, according to Morningstar.

On the other hand, the thrift shops are enjoying an expansion of sales and customers.

"Our transaction growth has grown by over 30 percent over the last two years but the bulk has been over the last year," says George Erickson, the Salvation Army's Northern California director of retail, based in San Francisco. "All of these extra transactions had to come from some place -- it's my conclusion that all these customers have stepped down from the Kohl's, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Macy's and Nordstrom."

Since the start of the recession that has led to more than 8 million lost jobs, The Salvation Army has seen sales grow from $499 million in 2007 to $542 million in 2009.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio