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Entries in Clothing (17)

Wednesday
May152013

Abercrombie & Fitch Faces Protests, Backlash for Not Selling Larger Sizes

Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Add Kirstie Alley to the list of Abercrombie & Fitch critics who take exception to the company’s refusal to carry clothing in larger sizes.

The Former Cheers actress and Dancing With the Stars competitor slammed the store Tuesday, telling Entertainment Tonight she would “never buy anything from Abercrombie.”

The popular casual-clothing retailer is under fire for filling its shelves with products for the smallest of customers.

Protesters gathered outside the retailer’s Michigan Avenue store in Chicago on Monday, outraged about the store’s not carrying clothes in a size 14, the size worn by the average U.S. woman. Plus-size shoppers now make up 67 percent of U.S. consumers.

“It’s body discrimination, and it’s bullying and it encourages bullying,” Cali Lindstrom, a former Abercrombie & Fitch customer, told ABC News.

The backlash is growing online on Twitter and Facebook, and several petitions on Change.org urge people not to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch until the New Albany, Ohio-based retailer starts carrying larger sizes.

One YouTube user started a “Fitch the Homeless Campaign,” asking customers to rebrand the popular retailer by giving their Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to the homeless.

An ABC News report last week revealed that the trendy retailer carries mostly double-zero and extra-small sizes inside its New York City flagship store. There was no clothing for women in sizes larger than a 10, and salespeople at the store confirmed that Abercrombie doesn’t carry XL or XXL sizes for women.

Andrea Neusner and her three daughters are taking more extreme measures to show their dissatisfaction with the retailer. They’re sending every article of clothing they’ve ever bought from the store back to its outspoken and controversial CEO, Mike Jeffries.

Jeffries has not commented on the recent controversy, but has been forthright in the past about not wanting any customers who don’t fit the cool, young and sexy demographic the company targets.

Jeffries gave a 2006 interview to Salon magazine in which he said the store goes after “the attractive, all-American kid … A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

The retailer declined to comment on the protests.

Nicole Patrick, who was among the protesters in Chicago, said she is hurt by the exclusion.

“As a woman who cannot shop in Abercrombie, it’s extremely hurtful to hear that I’m not cool,” she said. “I think I’m really cool and so does my daughter.”

In addition to sending back her children’s clothes, Neusner also wrote a letter to Jeffries explaining her decision.

“My kids have been wearing [Abercrombie & Fitch] clothes for a long time … now we can make an informed choice not to shop there,” she told ABC News. “I didn’t want my kids being walking billboards for them but I didn’t want to throw [the clothes] away. I wanted the company to know how I felt about them.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar232013

Breast Cancer Survivor Launches Clothing Line for Women with Mastectomies

Elizabeth Lippman for Alloro(NEW YORK) -- They say necessity is the mother of invention, and in Laurel Kamen's case, it certainly was.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2011, Kamen underwent a mastectomy. On the eve of her surgery, after trying and failing to find clothes that would be both comfortable and fashionable during her post-operation recovery period, Kamen noticed a gaping hole in the fashion market and decided to fill the niche herself.

Thirteen months later, Kamen is debuting the Alloro Collection, a fashion friendly line of clothing suited for post-op recovery.

"I didn't want to have to step out of the world of fashion just because I had breast cancer," Kamen said. "I wanted to stay in the world of fashion, still be able to buy a nice dress to go out to dinner, or a nice blouse to go to a Bat Mitzvah or a wedding. I just felt that women with all of these sensitivities need to be addressed, and they could still look gorgeous."

The Alloro line is part of a growing movement to accommodate breast cancer survivors. Just last month, Victoria's Secret responded to a Change.org petition asking for a line of "survivor" mastectomy bras. Nordstrom department stores offer a service that will convert any basic bra or camisole into a mastectomy bra.

Kamen and her business partner and best friend Christine Irvin considered the effects of breast cancer treatment on a woman's body, taking into account the change in neckline, color pallor and sensitivity.

"We started looking at what we could do to really help a woman get beautiful back in her life and recapturing the color that cancer had drained from her life," Irvin said.

Their debut collection is made up of 14 original pieces, all of which will be sold online and through trunk shows.

For Kamen, a former American Express executive, and Irvin, a Wall Street veteran, this is quite the change of pace.

"We can both laugh. We can both say that we've been fashion followers," explained Irvin. "We've switched from reading the Wall Street Journal first to reading Vogue first."

When asked what's next for this dynamic duo, Kamen was quick to point out that this is just the beginning for Alloro. "This is all new to us and we just want to go slowly and get it right and connect with women," she said.

One thing's for sure, the clothes don't make the woman. The woman makes the clothes.

Twenty-five percent of all proceeds from the Alloro Collection will be donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov262012

$1,200 a Life: Clothing Company Pays Peanuts to Families of Factory Fire Victims

STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A company that makes clothes for Sean Combs' clothing brand ENYCE and other U.S. labels reassured investors that a factory fire that killed 112 people over the weekend would not harm its balance sheet, and also pledged to pay the families of the dead $1,200 per victim.

In an announcement Monday, Li & Fung Ltd., a middleman company that supplies clothes from Bangladesh factories to U.S. brands, said "it wishes to clarify" that the deadly Saturday-night blaze at the high-rise Tazreen Fashions factory outside Dhaka "will not have any material impact on the financial performance" of the firm.

The fire broke out on the ground floor of the nine-floor building as hundreds of workers were upstairs on a late-night shift producing fleece jackets and trousers for the holiday rush at American stores, including Walmart, according to labor rights groups. Fire officials said the only way out was down open staircases that fed right into the flames. Some workers died as they jumped from higher floors.

 

After reassuring investors about its financial health, Li & Fung's statement went on to express "deepest condolences" to the families of the dead, and pledge the equivalent of $1,200 to each family. The company also said it would set up an educational fund for the victims' children.

As reported on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer earlier this year, Bangladesh has become a favorite of many American retailers, drawn by the cheapest labor in the world, as low as 21 cents an hour, producing clothes in crowded conditions that would be illegal in the U.S. In the past five years, more than 700 Bangladeshi garment workers have died in factory fires.

"[It's] the cheapest place, the worst conditions, the most dangerous conditions for workers and yet orders continue to pour in," said Scott Nova, executive director of Worker Rights Consortium, an American group working to improve conditions at factories abroad that make clothes for U.S. companies. Nova said the fire was the most deadly in the history of the Bangladesh apparel industry, and "one of the worst in any country."

Monday, U.S. companies extended condolences to the families of the victims, and scrambled to answer questions about the dangerous factory that had been making their clothes.

Walmart inspectors had warned last year that "the factory had violations or conditions which were deemed to be high risk," according to a document posted online.

Yet Walmart clothing continued to be made at the factory, according to workers groups who found clothing with Walmart's private label, Faded Glory, in the burned-out remains along with clothing for a number of other U.S. labels, including ENYCE, Dickies and a brand associated with Sears.

Walmart confirmed Monday that its clothes were being made at the Tazreen factory. Even though Walmart is famed for maintaining tight control over its supply chain, the company said its clothes were being made at the plant without its knowledge.

A Walmart spokesman said that the Tazreen factory "was no longer authorized to produce merchandise for Walmart. A supplier subcontracted work to this factory without authorization and in direct violation of our policies. Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier. The fact that this occurred is extremely troubling to us, and we will continue to work across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh." Though Li & Fung is known to supply clothes to Walmart, and to have subcontracted work to the Tazreen factory, Walmart did not name the supplier it had fired.

Sears initially told ABC News the company "does not source from this factory. In addition, Sears recognizes that fire safety is a critical international issue that we intend to address through specialized training for management in those factories that produce merchandise for Sears Holdings."

Told that lingerie labeled True Desire, a Sears brand, had been found in the burned factory, a Sears spokesman said "any merchandise found at that factory should NOT have been manufactured there and we are currently investigating further." Sears said it had not used the Tazreen factory since 2011.

The president of ENYCE clothes, which is owned by Sean Combs, extended the firm's "deepest condolences [to] the families of the victims" and confirmed that ENYCE Kids is licensed to Li & Fung, "which operates, produces and oversees all manufacturing for the brand."

"Compliance and safety are important to us," said Jeffrey Tweedy, president of ENYCE, "and we expect all our licensees to have in place compliant standards for fire and safety conditions at any factory that may produce our brand."

Labor activists also said they found garments with the Dickies label in the factory, and provided photos. Dickies said in a statement that the company's "thoughts and prayers" were those affected by the fire, but that the company had concluded its production schedule "with this vendor earlier this year."

The statement also said that "it is standard operating procedure at Williamson-Dickie to ensure the global vendors and suppliers we work with provide a safe work environment in accordance with all applicable laws and fair labor practices."

ABC News reached out to Li & Fung's New York office for comment, but messages left Monday were not returned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov062012

"Fifty Shades of Grey" Inspires Baby Clothing Boom

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- The so-called "Mommy Porn" Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon has been rumored to have started a baby boom. And as inappropriate as the link between the bondage-themed series of novels and the joys of mommyhood may be, a new cottage industry is taking that one step further.

On sites like Etsy, crafty vendors are hawking baby clothes inspired by the sex-filled books, including one naming the series' boundary-pushing character that reads, "My Mommy Pretends Christian Grey Is My Daddy."

Another onesie is adorned with a picture of a pair of handcuffs, and the words, "I Pretend Christian Grey Is My Daddy," while another reads, "Generation Grey Baby."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug172012

Don't Stand So 'Clothes' to Me at Work

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- "Dress for success, go easy on the excess" should be a rule of thumb on the job, according to a digital media company Captivate Network’s survey of 600 white collar workers.

Women who think that flaunting their cleavage will get them noticed might be right about that but in the wrong way, with 87 percent of senior managers stating that it’s more of a distraction than anything else.

Just over three of four senior managers say that short skirts shouldn’t be worn at the workplace, while 91 percent of women surveyed say that see-through clothing is particularly distracting.

Also on the list of women’s clothes bordering on being inappropriate at work are spaghetti straps, tight dresses or blouses, and hot pants.

Close to half of senior managers aren’t keen on their female employees wearing flip-flops, while 55 percent of women think that men should eschew this informal kind of footwear.

And there’s the issue of tattoos, which appears to me largely a generational thing. Just over six in ten people 50 and older feels that ink should be covered up while two-thirds of 35-to 49-year-olds don’t see any problem with their fellow workers showing their tats.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr242012

Inspired by Cops, Clothing Line Hides Handguns

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Woolrich calls itself the “original outdoor clothing company,” and they are also one of the few companies to make clothing that will work as well on stakeouts as on camping trips.

The company’s Woolrich Elite Series Tactical line features clothing with plenty of pockets and zippers to hold not only fishing lures, but handguns and handcuffs.

The clothing line was started in 2005, but redesigned with features to conceal weapons and other law enforcement tools like guns, handcuffs and plastic restraints in 2010.  The company took on the challenge of creating the specialized apparel after law enforcement contacted the company seeking more clothing options for undercover work and stakeouts.

To explain just how the clothing works, merchandising manager Brian Miller modeled the clothing in a series of videos.

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In the video, Miller shows how the pockets in the “Discrete Carry Twill Jacket” can hide a 6-inch barrel handgun, in addition to a hidden pocket behind the neck for things like plastic restraints.

Rather than calling attention to what’s tucked away in the clothing, Miller says the apparel items were designed to appear “100 percent non-tactical.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb142012

Michelle Obama Wears a Jason Wu for Target Dress

Alex Wong/Getty Images/Target(OCOEE, Fla.) -- Designer Jason Wu’s line for Target sold out hours after it went on sale online, but it looks as if Michelle Obama managed to snag one of the coveted dresses from the collection.

The first lady sported the Sleeveless Chiffon Dress in Navy Floral, which retails for $39.99, over the weekend during a tour for her “Let’s Move” campaign in Florida.

The first lady wore the dress to dinner at the Halls family’s Ocoee, Fla., home, accessorizing it with a bright blue cardigan and trading the gold belt for a red one of her own.

The first lady has been known to mix high-priced designer items from designers such as Wu, Lanvin and Isabela Toledo, with pieces from retailers like J. Crew.

Wu’s Capsule Collection for Target includes delicate dresses and tops, pleated skirts, scarves, handbags and clutches, all for $60 or less. Items from Wu’s regular line can cost $5,000 in luxury department stores.

The young designer has Michelle Obama to thank for putting him on the map. The first lady famously wore Wu’s white, one-shoulder silk chiffon dress to President Obama’s 2009 inaugural ball, catapulting the designer into the national spotlight. That dress is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Since then, the first lady has continued to wear Wu’s designs, notably a magenta dress on the March 2009 cover of Vogue, and a Wu dress and cardigan to an event with the G20 spouses in April 2009.

The first lady is also a fan of Target. She was seen at suburban Virginia Target in September, where she reportedly bought food and toys for first pooch Bo.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan312012

Jason Wu for Target to Hit Stores on Sunday

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Target will launch its latest limited-edition designer collection from Michelle Obama favorite Jason Wu on Sunday. Wu famously designed the white evening gown that the first lady wore to the presidential inaugural ball in 2009.

The collection is made up of 53 pieces including dresses, skirts, tops, short, bags and scarves. Wu said it is inspired by the idea of an American girl in Paris. Apparel ranges from $19.99 to $59.99, and accessories are $19.99 to $49.99. Luxury department stores sell Jason Wu pieces that can retail for upwards of $3,000.

The collection features floral patterns, fitted silhouettes and blacks and whites paired with bold colors for the spring.  The collection’s exclusive muse, according to Target, is an illustrated black cat named Milu that appears on a T-shirt, tote bag and silk scarf, as well as in the collection’s marketing campaign.

“By working with Target I was able to create an accessible collection that reflects my sophisticated design aesthetic,” Wu said in a statement. “As with my main collection, special attention has been considered into every detail and I can’t wait to see girls wearing and enjoying the collection.”

The collection will be available from Feb. 5 to March 6, or as long as supplies last.

A number of the pieces have already shown up on eBay after last week’s launch party and pre-sale event. Some are being sold for double or triple their store prices.

Target’s most recent high-fashion collaboration was with Missoni, which caused a frenzy both in stores  and online. The store’s website crashed the day the collection went on sale and items sold out almost instantly, causing a great deal of customer backlash.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug292011

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

Friday
Aug192011

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







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