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Entries in Fashion (16)

Wednesday
Jan232013

Company Rents Ties and Other Accessories to Men, by Subscription

FreshNeck(NEW YORK) -- For the majority of his career, David Goldberg, 31, has had to wear a suit and tie to work.  Like many men, he said he eventually gets bored with the ties he owns.

When he was working at the financial services firm Merrill Lynch, he and his male colleagues participated in a tie-swap, sharing their ties with each other, three at a time.

He then came up with the idea for an accessories subscription company for men: FreshNeck.  He describes it as similar to movie streaming and DVD delivery firm Netflix or women's clothing and accessories rental site, Rent the Runway.

"I always felt forced to wear ties and all that stuff, but it's sort of an aesthetic accessory," said Goldberg, who is an attorney by training.  "If you're going to do it just for looks, to express your personality, and to add a shot of color to an outfit, why wear the same ones over and over?"

He said he also felt inspired about two and a half years ago, when heard that Rent the Runway had received startup funding.

"It struck me as genius," Goldberg said.  "I wondered, 'How do we do this for men?'"

The company, based in New York City, had a soft-launch on Dec. 24 and opened to the public on Jan. 3 with about 150 members.

Three memberships range from $15 for three items a month to $55 for more items.  The more you pay for a membership, the greater your access to higher-end ties and accessories, like those of Prada and Gucci.

In addition to ties, subscribers can rent tie clips and pocket squares.

If you happen to get a minor stain on a tie or accessory, cleaning is on the house, Goldberg said.  For major fixer-uppers, FreshNeck will charge you $8.  If you lose your tie, you buy them.

If you happen to like the tie that you rented, you can keep it and pay a discounted retail rate.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan182013

Target to Launch Evening Wear Line with Top Hollywood Stylist

Target(NEW YORK) -- Starting this spring, you’ll have the opportunity to get your housewares and evening wear in the same place.  Target announced its newest designer collaboration Friday with top Hollywood stylist Kate Young.

“I’ve been working with Target for a number of years as a stylist, so having the chance to design my own collection with a brand I already know and love is like a dream come true,” said Young in a statement.

Young’s celebrity clients include Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz.  She consults for designers Jason Wu and Derek Lam and was named the most powerful stylist last year by The Hollywood Reporter.

“With this collection, I wanted to design standout pieces that allow women to experiment with fashion and create their own red carpet moments,” she said.

In addition to evening wear, the line will also include apparel and accessories.

“This collection perfectly translates Kate’s edgy, yet sophisticated sense of style, allowing Target’s guests to create their own memorable fashion moments, all at affordable prices,” said Trish Adams, Target’s senior vice president of apparel and accessories, in a statement.

The special occasion dresses as well as separates are $29.99 to $89.99.  Handbags, jewelry and shoes will range from $14.99 to $49.99.  The items will be available in April at Target stores and on Target.com.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov162012

Fat Shaming of Middle America: Americans Too Big for Zara Clothes

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Spanish fashion chain Zara, now the world's largest retailer, is being accused of missing a "huge opportunity" in the United States by refusing to offer plus-size clothing to women.

Zara has beaten out major retailers like Forever 21 or H&M in the "fast fashion" market, which introduces a new line of fashion-forward, low cost clothing every two weeks. But one thing you won't find on their racks at the chain's stores across America is larger sizes. According to a recent New York Times article, that is no design flaw. Larger sizes cost more to make.

Across the globe there are nearly 1,700 Zara stores, but in the U.S, there are only a few dozen, and experts say Zara isn't expanding more in the U.S. because the country has a problem with expanding waistlines. More than one-third of U.S. adults -- 35.7 percent -- are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. France, by comparison had an 11.3 percent obesity rate in 2004, the lowest in Europe.

 

Fashion bloggers Shainna Tucker and Alissa Wilson, who are both size 18 and say they can usually fit into XL or 1XL, told ABC News that though they are frustrated that large retailers continue to "ignore" their sector and said "our money is as good as anyone else's," they add that it's something the fashion brand is actually able to get away with.

"They feel like they can," Wilson said. "As if plus-sized women are like aliens, we came from Mars [or] somewhere."

On a shopping trip to Zara, both Tucker and Wilson said that they weren't able to fit into the clothing.

Although Americans are in fact more obese than the populations of most foreign countries, unlike Zara, other European and Japanese retailers have seized the American waistline by the belt, and are making millions.

"Zara is missing a huge opportunity here in the United States," Adweek's Tony Chase said. "H&M and Uniqlo have done tremendous business here. Other retailers have done it here. I don't know why it would be an issue for Zara, and they have done business here."

Chase adds that the retailer already has 45 stores in the U.S., and that other retailers that do offer plus-sizes are on target to have more stores, and expand even further.

"I don't know why in this sector, the fast fashion sector, the retailer would opt to not be aggressive," he said. "Why are you even playing if you are not going to be aggressive in a market?"

Still, there are plenty of women that are just a size 6 or a size 8, but in Zara, they are large and extra large.

"If [a size 8 is] trying on an extra large -- imagine us," Wilson said. "We are going in there with our MacGyver eye – like, 'how can we make this work.'"

Tucker and Wilson have found some innovative ways to make the clothes at Zara work for them, by turning a skirt into a tube top, and even finding ways into the smaller sizes, like buying the store's tops because they are more likely to fit than a bottom.

They say that the brands' petite-sized clothing is no match for their quest for the perfect find.

"I still love Zara as a brand," Tucker said. "To be perfectly honest, if the options they have are still trendy, it is still a place to go look. I love their handbags and shoes. I still have a place somewhere in my heart for Zara."

When contacted by ABC News, a representative for Zara said that the retailer's "expansion pace in the U.S. market remains as planned, with several new openings scheduled for next year." The representative did not comment on ABC News' queries on sizing considerations within the U.S.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug282012

Designer Debuts $290 Paper Lunch Bag

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Fashion shows are always an excuse for excess, and a new offering from designer Jil Sander has that description in the bag: it's a paper lunch bag that costs nearly 300 bucks.

The Daily Mail unveiled pictures of the bag, which comes in peanut brown or jet black.

If the bag's stitched seams, coated paper and designer logo aren't rich enough for your tastes, Sander also offers a black leather lunch bag for $630.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr112012

Converse Lures 'Rebel Consumer' with Musicians

Converse(NEW YORK) -- Converse sneakers are the shoes that have set the beat for several generations over. Rock stars from Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones to Nirvana and Justin Bieber have all rocked out in Chuck Taylors.

Made of canvas and rubber, the century-old American brand's shoes have epitomized countercultural cool for decades.

"They really haven't changed in 103 years. They're basically the same exact shoe," said Converse archivist Sam Smallidge.

Watch the full story on ABC's Nightline Wednesday at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT

First stitched outside of Boston in 1908, Converse was born as a basketball shoe, though it quickly outgrew its place in the sportswear market and the Chuck Taylor emerged as a piece of American pop culture.

Even in these tough economic times, sales have been on the rise.

"I think everybody on the earth, it seems like, has had a pair of these at one point in time," said Converse CEO and President Jim Calhoun.

However, in the last decade, Converse found itself struggling, filing for bankruptcy and failing to compete in a saturated sports market.

"I think we tried to go down a sports performance path when there were other brands, frankly, that were spending more money and were better at it than us," Calhoun said.

Ironically, it was Nike, one of the biggest sports performance companies in the world, that bought up and bailed out Converse. Calhoun said the company now sells about 200,000 pairs of Chuck Taylors each day around the world.

"That's the best-selling shoe of all time and continues to really be our iconic product," he said.

But the shoe that once boasted a "Made in the USA" stamp isn't made in America anymore. To cut costs, the company moved its U.S.-based plant overseas to countries like Vietnam and Indonesia, where reports of worker abuse surfaced last summer. Factory employees claimed their bosses slapped, kicked and verbally abused them. When asked about the reports, Calhoun called the incidents "unfortunate" and "unacceptable."

While Calhoun said the company has made progress on fixing the problem, Converse's critics say the company is still falling short in rectifying factory workers' complaints.

"We don't take a passive approach. We don't wait for the problems. We proactively monitor our factories," Calhoun said. "But I'd be less than sincere if I said no problem will ever happen again."

Despite the controversies and financial problems, the company is now betting its future on a return to its musical roots. Converse began inviting musicians, including Pharrell and most recently the Gorillaz, to cut original tracks to build social buzz around the brand. They've also built an empire on special shoe collaborations with U2's The Edge, Metallica and Lupe Fiasco. The goal is to win back that "rebel consumer" of hard-to-woo hipsters.

Converse also recently built a 5,200-square-foot state-of-the-art recording studio in Brooklyn called Rubber Tracks.

"The idea around the studio was to build a place to say thank you, thank you to all the artists who have done all this great work in our shoes over the years, and a way for us to give back to the community," said Converse Chief Marketing Officer Geoff Cottrill.

So far, 150 up-start acts, short on cash with big dreams, have been invited to record on Converse's dime.  The recording sessions are free for these garage bands and bedroom musicians, but the artists are invited to post their music on the Converse Facebook pages, which boast 47 million fans, making Converse one of the most significant apparel in social media.

"We're not measuring every single band that comes in here and how many shoes they're going to sell," Cottrill said. "We truly believe in the idea of doing good things for our consumers. Good things will happen to us in return."

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

Monday
Feb062012

Jason Wu for Target Apparel Sells Out in Hours

Marc Stamas/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Mere hours after Target released designer Jason Wu’s limited-edition collection in-store and online Sunday, the fashion line was sold out.

“The collection became available shortly after midnight online, and was sold out within a few hours,” said Joshua Thomas, a spokesman for Target. “The feedback from consumers has been overwhelming positive. …Jason Wu is a fashion darling and his collection is very wearable by a variety of body types and styles.”

Thomas added that out of the 1,800 Target stores nationwide, 1,200 of those stores carried Wu’s collection and many were, “sold out or running low.”

Shoppers in some locations waited hours before the stores opened to get a chance to buy the apparel, while others raced to several stores only to find empty racks.

Target launched Wu’s Capsule Collection with clothing items priced at $60 or less. This follows the mass retailer’s enormous success with getting other high-fashion designers, most recently Missoni, on board to offer affordable collections to the masses.

Wu famously designed the white evening gown First Lady Michelle Obama wore to the presidential inaugural ball in 2009. The gown is now on display in a Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C.

His Target collection is made up of 53 pieces including dresses, skirts, tops, short, bags, and scarves. 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.

While some items are still available on Target’s website, Thomas said items from Wu’s clothing line would not be restocked. Products will continue to trickle through stores and online as shipments are either delayed or people return items, he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb052012

Jason Wu to 'Target' Fashion for the Masses

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While football fans are gearing up for the Super Bowl, fashion fans may be heading to Target Sunday, where designer Jason Wu is unveiling an affordable Parisian-inspired line that features delicate blouses, pleated skirts, handbags and clutches.

While luxury department stores can sell Jason Wu items for almost $5000, Target is selling almost 60 items, including women’s clothing and accessories, for under $60.

The collection became available Sunday morning, and already many of the items are sold out online.

According to a Target news release, “the collection’s Parisian inspiration is found in Wu’s exclusive muse for Target, Milu, a mischievous, illustrated black cat that will be found on a t-shirt, tote bag and silk scarf, as well as in the collection’s marketing campaign.”

First Lady Michelle Obama and actress Blake Lively are fans of Wu’s designs.

“His lines are so beautiful. He’s so classic and elegant and really timeless. He has such iconic shapes,” said Lively.

Actress Chlore Moretz was among Wu’s celebrity pals who stopped by the launch party at Skylight SOHO in New York.

“I do shop at Target. Duh! Tar-zhay. That’s what happens. What’s up. That little dog sells me every time,” said Moretz.

“I just think it’s awesome it’s going to be affordable. So I’m re-naming Super Bowl Sunday ‘Jason Wu for Target Day,’” said actress Emily Rossum, who attended the launch party dressed in pieces from Wu’s Target collection.

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

Thursday
Nov172011

High Heels for a Down Economy?

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When the economy heads south women’s heels go north.

A look back at decades of shoe fashion research reveals that high heels soared during the worst recessions. “Usually in an economic downturn, heels go up and stay up as consumers turn to more flamboyant fashions as a means of fantasy and escape,” says Dr. Trevor Davis, a consumer products expert with IBM Global Services.

From the depression in the 1930s to the oil crisis in the 70s, and the dot com crash in 2000, high heels replaced flats and low, thick heels.

But once again, this recession is different.

A computer-based analysis of the last four years of social media posts shows discussions of increasing heel height peeked near the end of 2009, and declined after that. “Key trend-watching bloggers between 2008 and 2009 wrote consistently about heels from five to eight inches,” says an IBM summary of its research.  “By mid 2011 they were writing about the return of the kitchen heel and the perfect flat from Jimmy Choo and Louboutin.”

While heels on many women’s shoes are still high, the social networking analysis suggests a change in trend.

“This time something different is happening,” says Dr. Davis about the current economic problems many shoppers face. “Perhaps a mood of long term austerity is evolving among consumers sparking a desire to reduce ostentation in everyday settings.”

IBM says its new research, “highlights the predictive capacities of social media analysis as a source of valuable insights” for businesses interested in market trends and planning future products.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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