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16 July 2018

If you happen to work in fashion, you intend to work in fashion, or you just really love fashion, this post might make you just a little bit sad. Lately, there has been an avalanche of bad news when it comes to fashion and retail. As consumers or employees of these industries, we are in the odd position of being the sources, victims, and beneficiaries of these changes all at once.  Our relationship with the fashion industry? Well… the Facebook classification would be “It’s Complicated.” Brands themselves are trying hard to make sense of these tectonic movements, but I believe we as people must try to make sense of them too.

Here are some titles I came across just today:

How ‘Fashion’ Became a Bad Word
What’s Ailing America’s Fashion Darlings?
How Algorithms Are Threatening Fashion’s White-Collar Jobs
Influencer Ex Machina

Maybe reading just the titles alone won’t give you a full impression of what’s going on, so here’s a long (news) story short:

Fashion has fallen… well, out of fashion.

That’s it. Point blank. Fashion is no longer in vogue. How can I say that? Because evidence shows that we consumers are still spending money, but just not the way we used to. In the last year alone, the luxury market has experienced a 5% growth that has benefited not only them, but also digital upstart brands and direct-to-consumer companies. However, the cool kids of fashion from a couple of years back didn’t feel the same love. Brands like Narciso Rodrigues, Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Rag and Bone, and Opening Ceremony, once encouraged by the enthusiastic response in their heyday, have hyper-expanded using the old-fashioned department store business model of distribution and are now struggling to understand the shift in the market. They’re scrambling to cut their losses and reposition themselves. Brands like Everlane that praise themselves for basic clothing and price transparency are the new cool kids.  Blame us, fickle consumers. It’s now trendier to spend money on wellness than on fashion.

Well-paying fashion and social media influencing jobs are filled more by AI and less by humans.

After years of education, internships, and endless efforts to make the right connections, you are finally ready. And then you read the news: more and more companies use artificial intelligence to design clothes, and to serve as buyers and merchandise planners. Some of us grew up dreaming to get a job in fashion and a few lucky ones have actually made that dream come true. But for those still dreaming, what shape do those dreams take now with these fewer options?  While the fashion industry was one of the first to export the manufacturing jobs overseas, it’s the first we hear of losing its white-color jobs to computers. So far it looks like machines are there only to “augment and automate tasks” and I understand companies’ efforts to be as efficient as possible, but I am not looking forward to a future where an algorithm decides what I buy, what I wear, and how I wear it. No matter my feelings about social media influencers (I’ve never been a fan, but that’s for another post), I still doubt that replacing them with computer-generated models will make me feel any better.

Posted by Staff Writer at 02:58 AM
Our Views |

19 June 2018

Reformation is a company that made its mission to be environmentally conscious while making you oh so West Coast chic. Its long-awaited sample sale has started today and this is what we know:

1) If there is one New York sample sale worth traveling for on a day like today (temperatures above 90 degrees), certainly it is this one.

2) Pictures supplied by 260 Sample Sale show racks of summer dresses that could be on the list of 50 styles to buy right NOW.

3) We are riveted. With prices ranging from $20 for T-Shirts to $100 for long dresses there is little to feel guilty about. Have we mentioned they are trying to save the planet?


WHEN: 6/19 – 6/24; Tue (9-8), W-Th (10-7), F-Sat (10-8), Sun (10-5)

WHERE: 260SampleSale
150 Greene Street
New York, NY 10012


Posted by Staff Writer at 02:48 PM
Our Views |

11 June 2018

Like most of us, I too have reacted with shock and disbelief at the news of Kate Spade’s death. The brand’s ubiquitous presence in New York made me feel somehow connected to the woman who had envisioned and created it. The moment I read the news I felt a painful sense of loss—the kind you’d feel for a friend. That got me thinking: she could have been my friend, a woman I could have learned from only if I’d had the chance to meet her. I mean, we were almost the same age, both transplants in New York, living just a couple of blocks away from each other. It could have happened, right? I know it’s absurd but grief wields immense power and often plants in us crazy seedling ideas that often begin with that small but might word, “If…”

I had been carrying this sadness around for the last two days, not knowing what to do with it. Today I realized that I could use it as fuel to raise awareness about other women designers and founders of successful companies on my little megaphone here… and while we’re at it, talk about their upcoming sample sales too, of course.

Stacey Bendet of Alice + Olivia and her intricate esthetic are well known to New York shoppers. What started as a student’s search for the perfect pair of pants ended being a $200 million company of which Ms. Bendet is CEO and creative director. This year sample sale (we have pics!) presents a gorgeous colorful collection and we are certain the magical world of Alice + Olivia will draw a large crowd ; we hope that crowd will be less rowdy than it’s been in the past. As you might recall, last December a fight broke out at the Alice + Olivia sample sale that made headlines on “Page Six.” The Alice + Olivia Sample Sale starts today,  June 11th at 260 Fifth Avenue.

The La Perla name is synonymous with sexy so it might come as a surprise to you the fact that the company is over 60 years old. Ada Masotti, an Italian corset-maker, nicknamed “golden scissors” for her extraordinary talent, had dreamed to start her own company, and her dream became reality in 1954. Although the company is no longer managed by Ada’s family (they sold it in 2007), she should be acknowledged as a visionary that understood that lingerie is not only functional, but also fashionable and seductive. The good news for us, bargain aficionados, is that the company has new owners as of February, which means there is a good chance this is going to be a great sample sale. La Perla Sample Sale starts on June 12th and it is hosted by 260 Sample Sales at 260 Fifth Avenue.

The list continues. Pauline Nokios is the owner and creative director of Lilla P and Leo & Sage, their sample sale takes place at 32-34 Little West 12th Street, and it is starting on June 12th. Megha Mittal is the chairwoman and managing director of the German fashion luxury brand, Escada. The Escada sample sale will be hosted at Soiffer Haskin, 317 West 33rd Street starting June 9th. There are so many more incredible women with incredible stories behind these designer tags, so although our list of sample sales stops here, the exploration behind them doesn’t have to. Your legs might give out from shopping till you drop, but your fingers are nimble enough to Google more. Go forth, learn about these genius ladies, and may your closet overfloweth to honor them!

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Posted by Staff Writer at 06:30 AM
Our Views |

14 May 2018

The Marchesa Sample Sale: Anna Wintour's Post-Weinstein Comeback?

Do you remember when Miranda Priestly says this in The Devil Wear Prada?

‘This… stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

Well, The Devil Wears Prada is not as fictional as you may think it is. In fact, what Miranda says here is a quite accurate description of the fashion industry’s grip on our real world—sans Meryl Streep at the top of the food chain.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, everything we wear has been at one point selected by “Nuclear Wintour” or one of her acolytes. You are most likely familiar with the formidable Dame Anna Wintour, editor-in chief of Vogue, Condé Nast artistic director and editorial director and Met gala host. The woman is unstoppable and the shadow of her power stretches well beyond fashion into the  very fabric of our lives, skillfully manipulating not only what we wear, but who we like or dislike, who we vote for, who deserves our forgiveness and who doesn’t.

While I am not a personal fan of the unapologetically power-hungry Ms Wintour, I can’t help but admire her skills and, to be honest, simultaneously fear her influence. If you think you’ve escaped her influence, think again. Bargain hunting, sample sale shopping, and being the smartest consumer may give you a false sense of power; but the truth is your choices are not free from her influence either.

Take the upcoming Marchesa sample sale for example. The label was co-founded by Georgina Chapman, the wife of now “persona non grata” Mr. Weinstein who was instrumental in its success.  Ms. Wintour has been known through the years to promote Mr. Weinstein’s stars of his films on the cover pages of her magazine and by often featuring Marchesa frocks in its pages. She was responsible for giving the nod of approval to celebrities wearing the label to the Met gala—meaning she’s been responsible for making people like us want to look just like them.

When Hollywood was rocked by allegations against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, Anna skillfully distanced herself from her long-time friend and his behavior with a statement that read “Behavior like this is appalling and unacceptable,” but stood by his wife saying, “My heart goes out to them[victims], as well as to Georgina [Chapman] and the children.”

After an appropriate time for the dust to settle, Anna has started the rehabilitation of the Marchesa label using her recent guest appearance on the Colbert show to declare her support for Scarlet Johansson’s decision to wear Chapman’s label at the Met gala: “She wore it as a statement that Harvey Weinstein’s wife, who is partners in this company, shouldn’t be punished for the sins of her husband.”

Of course she supported Johansson. It was likely her idea! It’s well known that celebrities need Anna’s approval for what they wear at the gala, so we’ll safely assume Scarlet Johansson’s decision had something to do with Anna’s campaign to save the Marchesa label.

And here we are—many of us believing ourselves to be quite separated from celebrity culture—excitedly grabbing a dress during our lunch break at the Marchesa sample sale in preparation for the fifth wedding this season (ugh), naively thinking that our choice is dictated exclusively by our extraordinary sense of style and our limited budget. Oh, how wrong we are; the dress we picked, its color or style had at one point won Anna’s approval, and the power of the label (and its mere existence) depends on her willingness to support it.

That might make you feel powerless, but you can only be powerless if you lack awareness. With awareness, your action becomes less of an inevitable result and more of a conscious decision. So with that in mind, go browse the Marchesa sample sale knowing what your purchase means on a much larger scale. You make a statement with your dollar. In this case, it’s a statement of support for yet another woman who’s been screwed over by the patriarchy. All in all, I say that’s worth a swipe of my Amex.

Click here to read previous articles

Posted by Staff Writer at 01:16 AM
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