Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tommy Hilfiger Not Relaxing

So what's going on with Tommy Hilfiger USA? Sources say things are pretty heated over there with some high level position movements to go with their strategic shift.

Furthermore, there seems to be some indication that they will be bringing over slimmer (bye bye baggy), sexier European garments to replace the monsters currently in their own US channels. This is certainly an encouraging signal of where they see themselves in the years ahead.

It's more obvious now that APAX is serious about improving the label and was not just looking for a quick turn when they bought Tommy Hilfiger. The only question is What will they do with all those old, ugly "relaxed-fit" jeans? Give 'em to the clowns I say.

More Falling Prices...Mid-Mart, not Wal-Mart

According to WWD's Emile Marsh, the French RWD Jeans label will lower their price point to broaden their appeal. Jeans prices will come down from the initial retail price range of <$178 - 237> to <$107 - 142>.

If you go to Paris and check out their flagship store shoot me an email and let me know how they are looking. As you may know, my current interest is seeing how premium denim labels who lower their price points will turn out. Check my past posts here and here.

WWD Article

Thursday, February 09, 2006

W. Australia: Toss Your Jeans or Drop Out of School

Just stumbled upon an article that may burst your veins. I AM SHAKING WITH DISBELIEF.

CANBERRA (Reuters) - An Australian state plans to ban students from wearing denim because it is linked with having a good time.

'It is associated with weekend wear, with recreational time. It's just unacceptable at schools and we are trying to lift the standards,' a spokesman for Western Australia state Education Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich said.
The ban on denim in Western Australia's secondary schools will be imposed from 2007.

This ban is establishing a state-imposed-norm: schools cannot be associated with having a good time.

Passionate educators are trying everything in their abilities to make learning fun for students. School administrators in the U.S. host dances, shows, talks, plays, have year books--all in the hope of making the learning experience a positively memorable one. This plan counters those efforts and may only create student contempt for education as an institution.

This restriction is to be imposed on the students during a crucial stage in their lives. It is during this period that they consider the very real possibility of eventually dropping out of school. To take away any of the small liberties they enjoy, albeit trivial to those looking from the otherside of the school fence (can you remember?), can be dangerous.

And yes, fashion choice is a liberty that citizens of free nations possess.

Rag & Bone Designers Receive Recognition..uh oh?

Last week the triple threat team of Rag & Bone received $25,000 at Class of 2006 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award. The event, held at New York's Barney, celebrates emerging designers by funding their exposure during Fashion Week.

With the money, Rag & Bone's Marcus Wainwright, David Neville, and Nathan Bogle put together a great show to showcase their next season's styles. Wainwright tells the Fashion Wire Daily, "We never envisioned ourselves as a runway type of brand. This is our first real show and the money made it possible, really."

Past winners of this recognition include Zac Posen, Doo.Ri and Proenza Schouler.

Seems like RB is going mainstream in the direction of Evisu. I can hear the uproar in the underground fashion quarter. I personally would have liked them to remain an obscure company that makes great garments. But this is business. More power to them.

Monday, February 06, 2006

RB's Design Direction

Quick blurb--Nathan Bogle, Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of the Rag & Bone designing team told the Fashion Wire Daily (FWD) that they will continue with the “contemporary yet classic" style approach to their sportswear line.

More on this as I dig up additional info.

Rag & Bone Website

Update (2/6/06): Here's what the FWD had to say about Rag & Bone's runway show in Chelsea (New York City)-- "Indeed, in signature Rag & Bone fashion, there was plenty of very fitted denim, including some contrast-piped women’s jeans for which the term “skinny” would be a gross understatement, as these were cut more more like leggings than pants."

They will also look to use materials meant for keeping warm without adding bulk.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Denim Evolution

The New York Times ran a story today that reflects the heightened level of attention consumers are giving their jeans. Shoppers are not just scrutinizing their $150 garments more carefully. Trips to the tailor for new jeans are now common enough that both of my tailors are considering equipment upgrades to accommodate jeans alterations.

Not too long ago Earnest Sewn opened the doors to their NYC concept store where one can custom make a pair of jeans by expert hands. With a salivating selection of fabric, trims, style, fit/cut, your jeans can be as unique as a pair of bespoke suit slacks. But of course, we're a long way from Saville Row.

But gone may be the days when a girl can just "throw on any pair of jeans" when she doesn't want to spend half the day finding the right dress just to have dinner and hit the clubs afterwards. In our age of fancy trims and comfortable, durable fabric, the best jeans will carry professionals from a day of client meetings to the night with a hot date. So the right jeans is important. In many circles the jeans and jacket outfit has become the accepted work suit.

Is this a fad or will it join timeless fashion icons like the pin stripe suit? Many non-believers will probably scoff, but I think denim is going to be further hardwired into our fashion, like it or not.

I can also hear denim-heads from the underground/street fashion community alienating me for advocating a meticulous approach to jeans. In my defense I'll say: an easy and casual approach to wearing jeans works on weekends. I still subscribe to the streetwear attitude. But many lifestyles require us to remove the tee and don a white collar. Denim has saved my ass from the $200 JC Penny suit that doesn't breathe properly.

That's why I always emphasize on the fit. Your jeans are nice but do they fit you? When I put on a slim fitting blazer, it won't do if the hems of my bootcuts don't strike my boots just so. Not quite the same attention we give our tailored Armanis, but are we that far?

We've come a long way from the dusty time of miners in Levis.

New York Times Article (may require free registration; use bugmenot)

Check out what others are saying about the State of the Fashion Union. Via Almost Girl and Fashion Tribes.