31 January 2019

Can Silicon Valley survivor Julie Wainwright’s luxury consignment company, the RealReal, save retail? BRISBANE, Calif. - Here is where high-end Marie-Kondo'd clothes go now - not to die, but to enter their collective half-life, in a chilly 200,000-square-foot warehouse about eight miles south of San Francisco.

Posted by Bindra at 06:54 AM
News: Fashion, Beauty and Retail |

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
Fashion: Trends, Style, and Business , Our Views and Opinions , Trends |

27 November 2017

Holiday Shopping is Hard—Don't Shoot The Sales Associate

Let’s face it: nobody sees sales associates as heroes. With the exception of Shopgirl, few movies feature a protagonist who lives this life. And yet… so many of us find ourselves working in sales—even if it was never the end goal.

Maybe you’re one such person. Maybe you thought you’d make it as an actress, but you decided to work a day job behind the counter just to pay the rent in the meantime. And then 10 years go by. You still identify as an actress, but it’s been years since you went on an audition.

This is a true story of a woman named Martha, whom I met years ago when I worked at the beauty counter of a NYC department store. Martha’s story is not unique. I encountered countless stories like hers. And yet… these stories are never portrayed on the big screen. Like an elephant in the room, they’re the stories most commonly lived but never discussed.

And then there are the people who decide to reenter the workforce, and think that the seasonal retail gig is their way in. They never foresee how brutal retail during the holiday season can be. So as the holidays approach… have some empathy for these sales associates and their unexamined lives. With the economy and consumer confidence on the rise, large retailers are excited for you to visit them online, but they’re desperate to get you in their stores, in the flesh. They’re also prepping their employment ads promising temporary sales positions that may eventually turn into permanent ones, but most only have enough bandwidth to focus on the near future—enough extra hands and smiles to handle the stressed-out holiday shoppers. Those seasonal employees will most likely be giving up time spent with family and friends to be in the store and earn that paycheck. Don’t forget their stories either.

As a TSC reader, you are probably a bargain connoisseur by now and you know better than to be anywhere near a mall on Black Friday or the week before Christmas. But we still encourage you to go visit the stores when you can and feel the glorious energy of the holiday frenzy. And when that frenzy turns to chaos in those brand name stores, sample sales are a breath of fresh air from it all. As always, we’ve got suggestions on that front.

Though there are plenty of clothing and shoe sample sales in New York this week, we must focus on home merchandise as we’ve stumbled upon the trifecta of sample sales that shouldn’t be missed. Trends quickly come and go in fashion, but tableware purchases are… forever? Considering how expensive they are, that’s how the saying should go, right? Here are three European brands synonymous with quality and luxury:

  • Baccarat Crystal is a French based company, located in Baccarat.
  • Waterford Crystal is named after the city of WaterfordIreland, with production in different European cities.
  • Lalique is also French and proudly carries the name of its founder, a renowned glassmaker and jeweller René Lalique.

A well-thought-out purchase at any of these sample sales could be enough to make your house feel more like a home… or tiny NY apartment more like a castle.

The Baccarat Sample Sale brings tableware, decorative pieces, lighting collections and a large selection of jewelry at 80% off.

The Lalique Sample Sale will feature select pieces from their interior design, decorative objects, jewelry and fragrance collections.

The Waterford Sample Sale has a wide array of formal and casual dinnerware and giftware, crystal stemware, flatware, lighting, collectible figurines and holiday items all discounted from 50-75% off.

Start decking your halls. Happy shopping.

Posted by Staff Writer at 12:15 AM
Our Views and Opinions |

6 November 2017

Dear Retail, Millennials Don't Like You. Sorry. Move On.

Reading trade magazines is like following a never-ending rom-com… that never resolves. The retail industry is obsessed with generation Z and millennials, but those kids won’t give them the time of day. And it’s not like millennials are spitefully trying to play hard-to-get… they’re just genuinely not interested. I’m not saying disinterest in general is typical of millennials. I have two in my family and they abound with passion and talent in a variety of realms. But… I don’t think I would take them shopping with me any time soon. They are not really interested in shopping or fashion; they spend most of their money on travel and way too much on Uber. While I understand that they are an emerging consumer group and that they hold a buying power that is worth over $2 trillion globally, I still don’t understand why they’re the only consumer group everybody is wooing.

The funny thing is that as time goes on, retail becomes more and more desperate to be liked by millennials. They invest millions of dollars in research to come up with breakthrough discoveries like:

“Younger consumers feel better about their finances compared to last year and are planning to up their holiday shopping spend. At the same time, they have lower incomes than older consumers, so it is more important for them to score a deal,” according to this article in WWD.

And by “breakthrough,” I mean “definitely not breakthrough.” While the article has some good advice like stressing “the importance of seamless shopping on a mobile device,” most of it just common sense, and by no means specific to millennials. The retail industry is simply looking to the future, and like any hot protagonist, it won’t give up trying to decipher the mysteries of this elusive group of young shoppers who like Etsy and secondhand apparel. And in the heat of their unrequited love, I feel they are ignoring people who actually do love fashion and shopping. Cough—like us—cough.

Fear not, dear shopping extraordinaire; TSC will never ignore you! In fact, we’re more tuned into you than ever before. With the changing season, we know there are some certain priorities on your shopping list and we want to help check those bad boys off.

Winter jacket? Check! No really—check the SAM sample sale. I lived in my SAM last winter.

Shoes? Look to fashion role model, the Duchess of Cambridge, and follow her lead. We all know how much she loves her L.K. Bennett nude pumps. For all Cinderellas reading, here is your sample sale.

Shopping by brand instead? This sample sale features Pierre Balmain, Frankie Morello, Tod’s, Boutique Moschino, Hache, Ter et Bantine, and Miu Miu.

Shopping just for the joy of shopping? There’s the obsessive fashionista the younger generations are missing. Peruse ALL the sample sales you like!

In our rom-com—between TSC and YOU—that’s happily ever after! The end. 😉

Posted by Staff Writer at 08:35 AM
Our Views and Opinions |

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