Make Way for Alexa Chung!

Alexa Chung | Photo: Zackery Michael

Alexa Chung | Photo: Zackery Michael

I’m not making something that has got a crazy high price point. I want to make sure its something that is speaking to just everyone on the street.” ~ Alexa Chung

Exclusive news via The Business of Fashion: British television personality and model Alexa Chung will be launching her own design label in May 2017. Chung will step into the role of creative director at the helm of Alexachung, a contemporary-priced ready-to-wear line. After working on successful collaborations with clothing brands AG Jeans and Madewell, Chung has garnered the confidence to create her own label: “I just wanted the freedom to sort of make my own world, without someone else’s brand’s brief to stick to.” 

Known as a fashion icon and a style guru, I can tell that Alexa Chung loves fashion and creative pursuits. I enjoy her interviews with Vogue UK, “The Future of Fashion,” and her fashion voice hits a real chord with women in Britain and beyond. At 32, she represents the future of fashion in many ways – with her charm and wit, you have the feeling that she will indeed make her own world with her fashion line. Fashion is evolving and I get the sense that Alexa Chung’s curiosity, combined with her sense of style, will keep her finger on the pulse of what sells. Considering that her collaborations with AG Jeans and Madewell sold out after their debuts, I think she can do it.

 

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Time for American Stores to Diss the Discount?

printable-clearance-sale-sign “Amongst American retailers, discounting has become so common that it’s a challenge to walk past specialty stores like J.Crew and Gap, or traditional department stores like Macy’s or JCPenney, without seeing red sale signs.” ~ The Business of Fashion

Apparently, American retailers have jumped in too far with the constant discounting. And though it appears to be a win for the customer,  it’s actually unhealthy for the retail industry itself, “shrinking profit margin and diminishing brand value, making the path back to growth more difficult,” says The Business of Fashion. It’s especially hard in the United States, where European stores like H&M and Zara are eating into its market share. In addition, the discounting model in Europe is much different from the United States. “It’s almost like a drug,” says Tiffany Hogan, a retail analyst for Kantar Retail. “We’re on this 40 percent off drug that we pulse every weekend or even more frequently. What happens when you take away your promotions? Your shopper just kind of melts away because you know that you’ve trained them to come back on that 40 percent off day.” Many retailers are opening outlet stores to get out of this vicious cycle and to create off-price stores without upsetting the old brand models.

But what does all of this mean for the future of the American retail market? Discounting in and of itself is not a bad thing, right? But the future model for Amercan retailers may have more to do with promoting loyalty programs and creating a unique shopping experience and promoting benefits for its customers – and away from the price slashing.

 

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Brie’s Lucky No. 18

Brie

Brie and her mother Nancy, on Brie’s wedding day!

When I moved to New Jersey from Manhattan 16 years ago, I was struck by the reality that I would have to shop in a mall to get most of my clothes. I do have a beautiful mall near my house and I have gotten used to this kind of shopping. But I seriously miss the boutique shops and the intimate style of shopping that I found in the city – I have missed it all these years. That is why I smiled when I met Brie Tammaro, who with her mother, Nancy, own an elegant shop, No. 18 Boutique, in my town of Summit. I knew I wanted to hear Brie’s story and what it means to be a boutique owner in a town where the mall is just 10-minutes away. Says Brie  …

I was always interested in fashion. I think fashion picks you. From the time I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a business woman in fashion. I used to set up shop in my house and invite my parents. I lived and died by fashion magazines and I couldn’t read them fast enough. Initially I wanted to be a fashion designer but after working several summers at Calypso St. Barth in the Hamptons with founder Christiane Celle (when it was a small boutique) I witness her business savvy firsthand and knew that I needed to incorporate the business perspective in whatever I did. I first attended Skidmore and got an undergraduate degree in business and management, then worked 4 years, and followed that by deciding to go back to graduate school and get my master’s degree in design at Parsons, the New School of Design …

I honed my expertise in the fashion industry for years working on the wholesale side of the business in Manhattan with Moschino, Blumarine and Catherine Malandrino. I earned my way with long hours and hard work. But eventually, I burned out and started to lose my sense of joy – which I thought could never happen. So I took a break  …

When I was ready to start again, I returned to an idea that my mom and I had about owning our own shop. My mom is my best friend and I knew that the time was now to give it a try (I had the contacts and the experience). My mom and I both returned to Summit and started to look for the right space in town. Eventually, we found a perfect spot that needed a lot of work but was just the right size. We opened No. 18 Boutique in November 2014, and have been growing since … Continue reading

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Who What Wear Comes to Target in 2016

Katherine Power (left) and Hillary Kerr | Source: Courtesy

C0-founders of Who What Wear – Katherine Power (left) and Hillary Kerr | Source: Courtesy

A sketch of Who What Wear's Target collection | Source: Courtesy

A sketch of Who What Wear’s Target collection | Source: Courtesy

Exciting news from The Business of Fashion: two of my favorite fashion destinations will be joining forces in 2016 – Target and Who What Wear. Beginning February 2016, Target will introduce a fashion line under the name Who What Wear. The inaugural collection will include nearly 70 pieces, priced from $14.99 to $49.99. The collection will be ongoing, with four seasonal collections delivered to 800 Target stores during the first week of every month. Although not every store will carry the entire range, all items will be available at Target.com and WhoWhatWear.com. The collection will include denim, day dress, party dresses, knits, sweaters, jackets, blazers and accessories. “We’ve wanted to do a line at Target probably since we started the company in 2006,” says Katherine Power, co-founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Clique Media Group, whose properties include WhoWhatWear.com, Byrdie.com and MyDomaine.com. Says Power, ““We’re operating at the intersection of fashion, media and e-commerce.”

Who What Wear launched in 2006, almost ten years ago, as an email newsletter with a goal to help consumers shop the looks of their favorite celebrities. It has become a community for inspiration and style and fashion direction and a social media success story. I tune into Who What Wear for my daily boost of editorial content. And now, Target will be taking its focus on style to new levels with this launch. I can’t wait. I’m buying it!

 

 

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I’m not buying that!

P1000049 3Apparently, ‘uber-cool’ retailer, Abercrombie and Fitch, is losing sales and is on a mission to win back business. The Business of Fashion reports that sales have been sluggish and the brand is under pressure to change its management and “shift its namesake brand to appeal to an older audience.” (The Business of Fashion). I wonder if it has something to do with lingering backlash from Abercrombie’s CEO Mark Jeffries’ remarks last May, stating why his clothes are not meant for larger women: “We go after the cool kids … A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” ~ Mark Jeffries

It may or may not have anything to do with this. And Abercrombie and Fitch sales may do well, skewed to an older demographic. But I like to think that consumers may remember, and if they don’t, well … I’m not buying that!

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