Thursday, December 22, 2005

Doha Success Brings Us...a DOCUMENT!

Now that I've had some time to digest what transpired in Hong Kong's multi-laterial Doha trade meetings...

Well let's start with my favorite Doha quote, from Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorin: "This has been a very important conference...we have a document." Yes this is what our society has come to. Back to the point.

This important document outlines several important agreements made by the 149 countries who participated in the WTO talks. Agreements in brief:
  • Cotton subsidies would be eliminated by developed countries in 2006
  • Agricultural export subsidies will end by 2013
  • Least developed countries (LDCs), including many African cotton producing countries, will have duty and quota free access to markets in developed countries, like the U.S.
  • General good feeling towards lower trade barriers...thus setting up the framework for the next meeting

But of course, much of this may be thrown out the window by the U.S. congress if nothing is signed before President Bush's Trade Promotion Authority expires and is not renewed come July, 2007. Keep your eyes peeled.

Doha Document from WTO (# WT/MIN(05)/W/3/Rev.2)

True Religion Store Whaaa?

Did anybody catch this? Apparently True Religion opened a 900-sq-ft. store in California's Manhattan Beach. Stores in New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas are in the works according to WWD.

If you're in the area you should drop by to help them reach their $1 million sales projection for '06. Don't forget to buy one size smaller than usual 'cause your wallet's going to be much, much skinnier.

Store Link
Nectar for the Goddesses

The $180 jeans maker Agave Nectar from California will laugh a women's line early next year. Don't expect to pick these babies up in their usual channels. While you can buy the men's line via 400 retailers like Barneys and Nordstrom, the women's jeans will be quite exclusive. Your best bet will be in specialty shops in Cali.

Like the men's line, the women garments will focus on cut and fabric. Wholesale price will be around $90.

Friday, December 16, 2005

For those of you who have been holding your breath for the latest round of Doha talks in Hong Kong: we have news. US Trade Rep. Rob Portman said the US would allow duty free cotton from four countries in Africa.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Cotton Prices Going Up?

Earlier this year, we read of the WTO declaring that government subsidies given to domestic cotton farmers were illegal because it depressed cotton prices for world-wide producers.

Today, WWD reports:

The removal of trade-distorting subsidies by wealthy countries may increase world market prices for cotton and other agricultural commodities by as much as 15 percent, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization said Wednesday. Link

Now we know which side of the WTO fence you're on.

(And yes I know I link to WWD wayyyyy too often, but that just shows a dearth of quality denim industry news out there. That's one of the reasons I started this blog...)
Bloomingdale's Devotion to Denim

Seems like Bloomy's going to buy a lot of jeans to fill the now 4,000 sq. ft. devoted to premium denim here on 59th Street in NY. According to Lauren D. at WWD, the department store carries 15 to 20 premium brands of denim.

Think of what you may find during a markdown...

You know, this just more support that $200 jeans are going to be around for a while. The question is what will the industry do when every designer joins the game and the field is not big enough? How many Bloomy's are there to carry the brands?

My opinion: to survive the premium jean game, you need to diversify your marketing and merchandising efforts across different distinct brands in the same market. This will guard you against the fickleness of Bloomy et al's customers. You are, afterall, in the high fashion world now. Are you a maker who can take that risk?

What Young New Yorkers Think of Abercrombie

Do you like Abercrombie & Fitch? To highlight the completion of their flagship store on Fifth Avenue here in New York, New York Magazine polled a group of city kids (13-16 yr. olds) to see what they think of the shopping mall brand.

It is somewhat as an eye-opener for me as the suburb brand is still popular for its relative quality/style combination in some of my circles.

Favorite quote: “I heard it targets gay men.”

Pre-press Release

I got a scoop on a new designer in the high-end denim world. Can't tell you too much about it yet, except that WWD will go to press with an interview soon.

Why do you care? From what I heard so far this new player may very well emerge with the next Seven or True Religion. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Governator Making Sweatshops Sweat in California

Back in July, we listened to California gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's formation of an enforcement unit called the Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC, aka Triple E-C), which was meant to crackdown on garment workshops that are in violation of labor and tax laws.

With a $6.5 million budget the Triple E-C's enforcement efforts involves raids assisted by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, which enforces California's wage-and-hour laws; California's OSHA, which enforces workplace safety-and-health regulations; the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage-and-Hour Division; and the Employment Development Department, tax branch, which enforces payroll-tax provisions.

Today, WWD has an article filled with narratives following up on that news. Link

Monday, December 05, 2005

Gone Public: People's Liberation

You may remember that about seven months ago a brand called Antik Denim was taken public by denim giant Mr. Paul Guez via a reverse merger transaction. Now DNR reports that his son, Daniel "Danny" Guez, has followed suit by folding the parent companies of denim-based lines William Rast and People's Liberation into a public company and changing its name to People’s Liberation, Inc.

So what does this all mean? Guez Jr. says that the $7.2M raised will be used toward "buying inventory and hiring the personnel we need to really grow." You can look forward to a stronger brand presence and consciousness as People’s Liberation dukes it out with True Religion and the other premium denim brands (I already have scouts on Canal Street on the look out for knock-offs).