for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

M + F Girbaud Advertise for Peace


French label Marithè + François Girbaud are no strangers to creating controversial advertising campaigns, and having previously focussed on religion and war, the design duo have decided to use their new season’s adverts to promote a future of hope and peace for children in war-torn areas. Teenagers from Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan and Rwanda are shown in the photographs wearing adult-sized pieces from the s/s 2007 collection whilst happily sewing seeds into fields.

The images portray the designers’ partnership with Seeds of Peace, a non-profit organization that aims to educate and empower young people from regions of conflict to develop empathy, respect and peace among the next generation of leaders. As their newly-appointed official sponsor, Marithé+François Girbaud will also design a special line of SoP clothing which will only be available on the website, with 100% of proceeds
benefiting Seeds of Peace.

A worthy cause to promote, lets hope the campaign – which is due to get lots of exposure thanks to it featuring in glossy magazines and on billboards throughout the world – makes more people take stock of the importance of peace for the next generation.

Filed under: ads that caught my eye, good, products with a purpose,

Designer Handbags at Extreme Prices

The Sunday Times reports on the frenzied demand for designer handbags by ’status-conscious women’, which has led to extreme levels of ostentation, enabling companies now to produce- and sell- such ridiculous creations as the Louis Vuitton Tribute Patchwork bag, priced at £23,484! The paper compares the price to that of a new Mercedes C 180 K Coupe SE, and finds the bag to be nearly £3,000 more expensive! And LV are not the only company taking prices to such extremes, Fendi are offering a bag made from chinchilla and sable costing £20,000, whilst the £10,000 mark is covered by several labels.

Apparently this price hike is not restricted to the extreme offerings, according to the Sunday Times “Selfridges, the department store chain, reports that the average price tag on designer handbags at its shops has risen by 55% to about £850 since 2005”. It’s a worrying phenomenon, but whilst brands can find insecure women willing to reduce themselves to debt and hunger for such items, the prices will keep on rising.

Read – A Handbag? That will be £23,484

Filed under: Luxury

London Loves a Dominatrix

With a goth revival apparent for A/W 07, a dark mood was in evidence at the London shows, where victoriana mixed with a heavy dose of S&M dominatrix. Collections entirely in black were shown by more than a few designers, with crushed velvets and silk fabrications mixed agressively with leather, rubber and PVC. A style favoured last season by Brit darlings Gareth Pugh and Giles, the dark vixen is making a welcome return this year.

Corpse brides floated down the runways at Gardem and Victim, whilst Nathan Jenden put an 80s pop twist on the victoriana shapes. Elsewhere latex bodysuits covered arms and legs- shown under even the brightest clothing collections (Manish Arora), and for those more demure designers, black tights added a sombre touch. With designers taking such an aggresive stance, it’s time to put away the girlie dresses and let women reclaim their power.Gareth_pughJens_laugesen


Nathan_jenden2images= Gareth Pugh, Jens Laugesen, Christopher Kane, Gardem, Nathen Jenden, Unconditional

Filed under: Luxury,

London Fashion Week: Gavin Douglas brings back the Glamour

A show that has received surprisingly little press yet was loved by fashion.psfk (ie me) brought glamour back to LFW on Friday, as last year’s Fashion Fringe winner Gavin Douglas took over the BFC tent. Entitled Queens of the Ocean, the collection referenced post-war luxury travel, showing beautifully cut 1940s-inspired shapes in sumptuous silks and satins, saturated with shimmering black and rich jewel tones.Gdouglas2Gdouglas

Douglas’ first solo catwalk showcased the designer’s clever fusion of historical interpretation and modern sensibility, with swathes of fabric wrapping elegantly around tailored silhouettes. Clearly referencing the era of Dior’s New Look with peaked shoulders, hourglass shaping and emphasis on nipped-in waists, the clothes were softened through the fluidity of the fabrics chosen, then given a subversive twist with aggressive rib-like gathered pleats and killer platform heels.Gdouglas6Gdouglas4

Sexy, sophisticated, and aspirational, the collection cleverly reinterprets and updates wearable glamour, a style which, considering the current proliferation of fur and hats both on and off the catwalks seems to be the direction of choice for many. Watch out for Gavin Douglas’ name in the future.

Filed under: Luxury,

The New Face of Retail?

Marketing at Retail has a great article by David Polinchock (CEO of Brand Experience Lab), describing his experience of brands that are utilising product knowledge as a key driver for in-store sales, and hiring/ educating their staff accordingly.

“We stopped at Napapijri, where the salesperson there could tell us everything about the store and the brand. She knew when it started, its history, where the materials came from, and just about anything else you could think to ask. She took us from item to item. Not trying to sell, but educating us about their products. And they do have cool stuff! But it wasn’t
just a one-time fluke. We’ve been there now three or four times, and each visit has been the same, but with different salespeople. They showed us the product books that they use to study from — and they were proud to show us these books. Have your employees ever been proud to show off their training materials? I mean, think about that. Employees proud to show off their product knowledge!”

Not only does he highlight some very cool experiential oppportunities being offered (a walk-in freezer at Burton where you can test the warmth of their jackets, Diesel Denim Gallery’s washing guidance and laundry service), the points raised are definitely worth taking note of-

“We spend so much time trying to figure out how to create great experiences for our guests, but many times we don’t even think about the employees. And if they’re not feeling elated and excited first, your guests never will”

read The New Face of Retail?

Filed under: brand extensions,

Marc Jacobs for the Masses

A Financial Times article looks at the current global expansion of the Marc Jacobs empire- and mentions that due to the success of his Marc Jacobs and Marc diffusion ranges, the company is now planning to produce a much lower-priced third line. Described by Marc’s business partner, Robert Duffy, as an alternative to the mass-market promotional tool of designer and high-street collaborations, the line would be an inexpensive offering aimed at enhancing brand recognition.

After the craziness of the crowds at the opening of his first London store last week, and the glowing reports from both of Marc’s recent catwalk shows it hardly looks as though the brand needs help with promotion over here, but with his clothes currently well out of most people’s price range, will a move into lower-priced collections do wonders for the brand dissemination or cheapen their whole image? Duffy argues that they have stayed away from mass-market collaborations as they don’t want to promote another brand, but maybe this duality has been the reason recent collaborations have worked without destroying designer’s credibility? An interesting one to watch.

read- Fashion label cuts pattern to grow

Filed under: brand extensions,

Lily Allen’s New Look

Not content with the multiple designer collaborations aiming to reinvent the high-street this year, companies are also desperate to build relationships with key music stars of the future. First Pete Doherty helps out his mates t-shirt label by fronting the Goi Goi ad campaign, then the queen of reinvention, Madonna, announces her assault on the market with her ‘M by Madonna’ range for H&M, due next month.

LilyNow we have news of a collaboration between Topshop rival New Look and Britpop darling Lily Allen. Due to hit stores in May, the capsule collection of dresses, footwear and accessories will be called  the ‘Lily Loves’ range and New Look bosses are hoping to emulate the ‘quirky’ dress sense of the Brit-nominated singer whose trademark look consists of ballgowns, trainers and chunky gold jewellery. A clever move as she is certainly a rising star who radiates cool, and with Giles Deacon also in their stable for 2007, New Look seems set to give the rest of the high street a run for its money. Lucky us!

via catwalk queen

Filed under: brand extensions,

London fashion Week: Manish Arora’s Final Frontier

As a huge crowd packed into the BFC tent, Manish Arora took us on an amazing trip through space with intricately embellished outfits on android models. Latex bodystockings, painted heads, and the most amazing make-up seen so far could not distract from the fantastical clothing on display.ManishManish2

Shapes were simple; boxy shifts and swing jackets gave a nod to the ’60s, yet the outfits were anything but. Arora played with all forms of fabric embellishment showing multi-coloured garments with padded appliqued astronauts, robots, and mechanical circuits, rich metallic embroidery and mirrored sequins, bold, swirling geometric and 80’s style computer-graphic prints, cleverly reinvented three-dimensional weaves that mocked traditional patterns, and even toy cars and mechanical pieces sewn on to the rich silks and velvets. Manish3Manish4

At some points the collection seemed more film costume than fashion catwalk, yet there was still something eminently wearable about the pieces. The skill that each one of these garments took to produce added a level of luxury and quality to a dramatic and theatrical collection. To me, this visual feast is exactly what the catwalk should be about, and judging from the audience response I am not alone!

Filed under: creative ideas

London Fashion Week: House of Holland Mocks the Models

Having made a name for themselves at last season’s LFW as the designer’s choice of attire on the runway, House of Holland’s first catwalk collection yesterday was a brilliantly satirical collection of slogan tees and dresses. Slogans playing on the names of famous models were printed on oversize t-shirts in neon- bright colour combinations and skin-tight mini-dresses that clearly referenced 90s rave culture, whilst multi-coloured DM-style boots and over-the-knee socks reinforced the mood. With obvious inspiration from Katharine Hamnett, these outfits forego politics for humour- with fantastic results.Hoh3Hoh2_1

An amazingly simple collection from a design duo with a very limited history, this collection brings a new dimension into the fashion world that is bypassed by most catwalk designers; the clever use of text as a main focus. By elevating what is typically reserved for streetwear and mass-market to high fashion, the House of Holland boys are blurring the boundaries of designerwear. Whether you think this is a good or bad thing, it definitely makes for a light-hearted change from this season’s sombre and serious clothing.


Filed under: creative ideas

The Coolhunter goes Street Stalking

The Coolhunter site has added an interesting new feature to their site that they describe as ” ‘Project Runway’ meets ‘This is Your Life’ – in under two minutes”.

Clearly influenced by the success of so many on- the-street fashion sites (facehunter, the sartorialist, Tokyo Street Style etc), the new section, called Street Stalker takes the idea from these one step further by realising that these people with unique and creative style sense may well have something interesting to say. Photos are accompanied by a brief q&a with the subject where the reader can find out about their background, inspirations, beliefs and passions. Great tool for young fashion brands and multiples to utilise.

check out Street Stalker

Filed under: stuff on the streets