for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

ADIDAS BUYS UP WEARABLE TECH COMPANY

textronicsAccording to my sources Adidas international have just aquired Textronics, a leader in the development of wearable textile sensors – in particular heart-monitoring sportswear which is sold under the brand name NuMetrex. The purchase may be an indicator that the sportwear market is ready for wearable monitoring to go mainstream, and Adidas may be the first ones to do it…

Filed under: brand extensions, industry news, products with a purpose, ,

Vionnet loses Kokosalaki and gains ‘Artistic Advisor’

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After less than a year at the helm of the newly relaunched brand, Sophia Kokosalaki has parted ways with the House of Vionnet. The announcement comes as no great surprise, infact it has been expected ever since Diesel’s purchase of the Greek designer’s brand in January this year. Interestingly though, Arnaud de Lummen, Vionnet’s chief executive officer has decided not just to replace Kokolasaki but to seemingly reinvent the creative role needed.

According to fashionwiredaily, rather than filling the Creative Director shoes, Marc Audibet (previously a designer at Hermes, Ferragamo and Prada) will take on the newly created title of Artistic Advisor. And after only two seasons on the catwalk, the fashion house is turning its back on Paris Fashion Week and returning to the traditional atelier model of appointment showcases which will be unveiled during the more exclusive Haute Couture Week.

What this all means is as yet unclear, but implies a shift by the brand to position itself away from fast fashion and plant its feet in the luxury prestige market. And with a namesake who is globally recognised for introducing bias cut to the fashion world, the company should find ample opportunity in emerging luxury markets- if they get the package right.

Filed under: industry news,

UK Retailers in Vanity Sizing Scandal

Whilst no-one is averse to a little flattery, you still know that the shop assistants’ opinions are a not-so-cleverly disguised sales pitch. But what about when it’s the clothes themselves that are lying to you? The Times launched a study to find out just how reliable UK clothing sizing was- and found some pretty outrageous lies across the high street.  Whilst this increase in ‘vanity sizing‘ is no great surprise, it is interesting to see just how far companies have been stretching the truth, across both womens and mens trousers.

According to the report French Connection understated the waist size of their jeans the most, with a 5.5 inch discrepancy in men’s sizes and up to 4 inches in womens, whilst Zara, Topshop, H&M and Gap were all also caught telling porky-pies. Although playing to vanity by convincing customers they are thinner may seem like a clever sales ploy, in an era of brand transparency surely lying can only harm your reputation.

Revealed: the jeans that tell a sizeable lie– The Times

Filed under: industry news,

Jean Muir’s final farewell

It’s a sad sad day for fashion- this friday Jean Muir, a bastion of British brands and one of the last true ‘dressmakers’ will shut shop forever.

Launched in 1966, the label may not be known for it’s exciting innovations or celebrity following, but truly represented the iconic style of the elegant English lady. Her elegant, classic minimalism proved to have a staying power that most designers could only dream of, and led a brand that became identifiable through its intelligent, sophisticated and loyal clientele.

The Guardian reports on scenes of frantic (yet polite) purchasing from these faithful followers as the company offers a final sale at the Conduit Street store. “There is something very British about her clothes in that they are
understated and chic. I’ve been a fan for over 25 years,” said shopper
Elizabeth Morgan, clutching an armful of clothes.

In a time when fashion companies are desparate to gain a foothold in the baby boomer market it seems crazy to let a brand with such loyalty disappear, but the fact that the company is choosing to close rather than sell on the name and face the possibility of sullying its reputation is testament to the true British class that it encapsulates. As Henry Leukert, who was Jean Muir’s husband and has run the company since her death in 1995 said “It is sad, but I believe this is the way Jean would have wanted it…I believe there is virtue in quitting while we are ahead and keeping her name untarnished.”

Anyone hoping to grab a piece of fashion history should head down to 48 Conduit Street before friday!

Jean Muir

Filed under: industry news

Weinstein buys All-American Brand Halston

Harvey Weinstein has bought the iconic American brand Halston, reports WWD. Making perfectly clear that the venture has nothing to do with the Marchesa brand designed by his girlfriend Georgina Chapman, Weinstein claims that he has been looking for a brand to invest in as the next move for his company for a while and “In Halston, we found that brand that relates to the kind of movies that we make”.

With Tamara Mellon on board to help turn the ailing company around, they aim to restore the brand to the success of its glory times when the namesake designer was at the helm. “We plan to really respect the DNA of the brand and bring it forward,” she said, adding “that’s really where everybody has gone wrong with Halston over the years”.

It was Mellon who brought the brand to Weinstein’s attention, explaining she felt attracted to Halston because “the history of the brand is so incredible. He was one of the greatest American designers of the last century. His clothes are still modern today. And everything that surrounded his life was so glamorous”. Weinstein apparently thinks so highly of the designer that he plans to turn the Halston story into a documentary- i’m sure timed perfectly to coincide with the big brand relaunch. “I find his life incredible. I don’t think people know the extent of how talented and way ahead of his time he was and there is great drama on the business of the story, too, and a lesson about how people lose things”. An interesting move for a movie mogul, I for one am expecting big things from this pairing and look forward to seeing what they can do for the future of the Halston label.

Filed under: creative ideas, industry news,

Fashionising- Are you doing it yet?

Fashionising is another new social networking site on the block, this one being aimed at fashion lovers and those working in the fashion industry. The Australian founders describe the meaning of their made-up title as ‘to socialise fashionably’, which perfectly sums up the aim of their site- where a fashion diary, lifestyle blog, discussion forums, cliques (because fashionistas like to be exclusive and elitist!), and a portfolio section for aspiring models are all on offer for members.

In their own words- ‘Because “social networking” is no longer just a way to make friends, Fashionising is happy to take things a step further and recognise that there’s more value to be had: more contributions by members, more job opportunities, more promotion of upcoming fashion, more support for people’s passions.’

check out fashionising, currently in beta and due for full release in April

via MoMB

Filed under: industry news, life online

psfk at Premier Vision

I popped over to Paris the other week for fashion.psfk to check out the world’s biggest fabric show, Premier Vision, and see what exciting new developments were on offer from the European mills for S/S 2008.

The major directions for the season, shown in the garishly bright central forum, were accompanied by a pompously flowery, rather unintelligible explanation (see the first photo), the gist of which is that we can expect to see a futuristic mood in textiles with plenty of unexpected luxury mixes and performance treatments.

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One thing’s for sure- next year is all about high sheen. Metallic yarns, plastic treated fabrics and waxy coatings dominated the trend forum in an array of silvered glistening grey tones. Lurex and cellophane yarns created light-weight plastic looks, and elegantly fluid liquid jerseys were juxtaposed by wax-stiffened sheers, whilst an abundance of rubberised and latex finishes showed that the S&M dominatrix look that started on the S/S 07 catwalks intends to be around for at least a year.

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Interestingly, the use of performance treatments on fashion fabrics has led to the creation of lots of luxurious-looking fabrications with unexpected handles- what you expect to be soft and slinky has a harsh and cold texture thanks to waxed and rubberised treatments. Bonded mixes such as the lace and latex shown below, lightweight Chloe- inspired crochets, and small-scale geometric weaves are also key for 2008.

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Overall, mills seem to be taking their lead from the luxe sportswear seen on the catwalks and are finally getting creative, with innovative finishes and effects producing sophisticated and sensual results. A luxurious, glistening future awaits.

Filed under: industry news,

The Skinny Model Debate- What about the Men?

In the IHT Susy Menkes reviews the menswear shows from Paris last week and highlights how the current issue of skinny models in the fashion industry is just as prevalent for men as it is for women, with stick thin models and and ultra-skinny tailoring offered from the majority of designers.

“In all the discussion of size-0 models, the skinny male has been left out of the equation. Yet the transformation of the ideal masculine physique, at least in the fashion world, has been as radical as for the female.

Perhaps because Hollywood male stars do not diet as drastically as the women, the effect is less obvious. But on the runways young and thin is king.”

Men seem to have been ignored during the recent global debate, but Ms Menkes makes some important points with this article, aware- as most of us are- that weight issues and eating disorders are not problems reserved solely for young girls.  Oh, and she includes her fabulously succinct catwalk reviews that are well worth reading!

read the full article here

Filed under: industry news, ,

THE DEBATE RAGES ON

So the fashion pack have moved on to their next destination, and as the papers fill with opinions on the skinny model debate it seems that Milan has played a PR trump card purely by coincidence- having a collection from a plus size label opening the shows. Size 14 and 16 models walked the catwalk for the Elena Miro fashion show on Saturday, a fashion week staple which got a lot more exposure than usual thanks to the current press fascination with body size. Not that the skinniness of models is a new topic of controversy (remember heroin chic?!) or anything particularly news-worthy, yet journalists are leading with these issues, which begs the question- is this just another ploy for newspapers to attract readers, and if so who are the real winners here?

Observer article on Elena Miro show

Times article on size debate

Elena Miro

Filed under: industry news,

SHOUT OUT FOR LONDON

London Fashion Week is in full swing, although it doesn’t feel much like it. Show coordinators have been trying to cover up the empty seats as much as possible, but there’s no denying the fact that London is still struggling to attract global attention. Maybe that’s why the younger designers are trying to make such a loud noise with their aggressive warrior women- strong masculine tailoring, animal prints and bold 80s cocktail dresses are showing up everywhere. Key to this look are the abundance of quiffs around- taking influence from the doyenne that is Susy Menkes, catwalks are competing for the accolade of the highest hairstyle. Those in the running so far include Unconditional, Danielle Scutt at Fashion East, and Esther Franklin at On|Off. Well, it always helps to use your head- and in fashion they take that literally!

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Filed under: industry news, ,

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