Posts Tagged ‘sales’

Retail Suicide

December 23, 2017

It’s a known fact that fashion retail is in the crapper right now. Sales are off, markdowns rule and companies are more interested in analytics than creativity. As I strolled through the mainstream shops, seeking gifts for a fashionable almost 18-year-old, I was dumbfounded by how dumb retailers really are.

Store after store was filled with lackluster merchandise, less than enthusiastic employees, and signs announcing high percentages off, and “buy one get one” schemes. I literally saw the same items in every single store, with nobody bold enough to put their own spin on them.

After spending decades in the fashion world, as a designer and retail design executive, let me “woman-splain” to you how it works.

Teams of designers labor to create a collection that the merchants or buyers purchase for the stores. Financial plans are considered, as are prior successes. Fast forward to line review, when the designers show the buyers what they created, based on these requirements. In a perfect world, there was a collaboration of creativity and business acumen, meeting somewhere in the middle to create an assortment that would delight and inspire the customer. In the real world, especially when business is tough, analysis paralysis takes over and the product often gets so watered down that the message is lost. I am willing to bet that most of the product decisions this year were belabored, re-assessed and reworked many times to get to this place, at great emotional expense to the teams. Experienced and talented designers have in many cases been replaced by less experienced workers who shop and interpret what’s already out there. This had to have been the case at many stores where the exact same item appeared at all. Organizations like the Gap have done away with their high-level design talent, in favor of merchants partnering with Google analytics.
The result; same old same old products, and markdowns galore.
Don’t even get me started on the store environments. Other than a little music, there is nothing compelling about any of them. Don’t ask me about the morale of the staff, as only one person approached me in the eight stores I entered.

Come Monday morning, or in this particular case, Tuesday, the teams will gather to rehash the holiday sales. Some will blame the weather, some will blame where Christmas fell on the calendar this year, and some will blame marketing for picking the wrong the shade of red for the sale banners. The reality is that they all need to take a good hard look into the mirror and blame themselves. Shame on you for not creating an environment that draws people in and makes them feel festive and inspired. Shame on you for not stepping out and creating a product assortment that is compelling and proprietary to your brand. Shame on you for either not hiring real creative talent or even worse, for squelching it.

Gone are the days when collections were created with a brand in mind, and a desire to stand out in the sea of sameness. Gone are the days when we felt it in our gut that something was the next big thing. Gone are the days when shopping was an experience, not a chore. If the tactile and interactive experience isn’t pleasant, I might as well let my fingers do the walking and let Amazon bring it to my door, quickly and free of charge.

Retail is dead, and it is a result of suicide provoked by fashion executives who lack the vision to nurture and develop original and inventive thoughts.

photo: Glasshouse Images


Borrow From the Boys

December 11, 2014

We are just starting to dig into our fall wardrobes, just as stores are feverishly marking  down winter attire to make room for spring merchandise.

If that feels a little escalated, think about this: designers are showing their “pre-fall” collections, which will ship into stores in mid to late 2015. The good news is, that there are trends for next season that you can start gearing up for now; often at 30% off!
Designers are borrowing from the boys next season, with many showing classic menswear elements with quirky new proportions and luxe fabrications.



Gucci showed grey flannel trousers, cropped above the ankle, with a bejeweled version of a crew neck sweater and shirt. It’s topped with a chic camel coat and worn with tricolored high heeled oxfords.

Nab it now: A classic camel coat, and a shetland or cashmere sweater. Bonus points for finding cropped trousers.


Gucci also showed a Fairisle sweater over slim ankle skimming tweed pants.

Nab it now: It is prime time for this type of sweater, which tends to make it’s appearance near the holidays. Pick one up on sale and love it even more next fall.

Michael_Kors_08_1366Michael Kors plays black and white polka dots off of cropped trousers in a salt and pepper donegal. Love the saddle shoes and crisp white shirt!

Nab it now: You can never have too many white shirts, so finding the perfect one on the sale rack is a coup. That polka dot sweater might be kicking around somewhere, so be on the lookout.

Michael_Kors_19_1366Kors kept the classic sweater and shirt look going, this time pairing it with crisp denim with a wide cuff. That (faux) fur jacket pulls it all together and makes it look new.

Nab it now: Again, look for the classics, including button down shirts and crew neck sweaters. Camel or grey seem like winning shades to pick up. If you stumble on a great faux fur jacket in a retro-modern silhouette, grab it!


Gucci also showed pulled together denim, although more distressed than Kors. The patterned sweater and shirt combo under a piped peacoat brings richness and  texture into the mix.

Nab it now: Outerwear will be at major discounts soon, and you can’t go wrong with a chic take on a peacoat. Be on the lookout for non-Christmas-y versions of patterned sweaters.


How great does this outfit look from Rebecca Taylor? An oversized, chunky sweater and a new riff on the jean jacket top a lacy feminine skirt.
Nab it now: Holiday skirts in lace, feathers or other interesting textures will be going on sale any minute now. Pick one up to pair back to a longer, chunky knit sweater, which you might just find out there too!

Oxford shoes, especially two toned versions seem to be great finishing touches. Keep your eyes peeled for some to update your look right now.

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One More One Day Sale

December 25, 2013

Screen shot 2013-12-25 at 3.40.38 PMIt’s Christmas Day, and we are relaxing at home. Gifts have been opened, and wrapping paper remains have beeb packed away for recycling. I stopped to check my email, and  I am shocked to see that I am STILL being inundated with messages from retailers, hoping upon hope that I still have some shopping left in me to help them push their numbers into the positive zone. I’d like to send them back a message:
Dear Retailer,

Get a grip dudes, it’s over. Move on. You’re starting to look pathetic.

Merry Christmas to you too!

The sales began before Thanksgiving, and those”special one day only” Black Friday specials lingered throughout the month. Customers were bombarded with emails, and anything and everything they could do to buy our business was shamelessly done. Christmas has become a giant end of the year sale, which looks like it will extend into the New Year.

I cringe when I see the seasonal Facebook postings where people are offended that the term “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by the more politically correct “Happy Holidays!” Clearly, the whole Christmas spirit has gone awry in more ways than one. Call it what you will, but what began as a religious celebration for Christians, has evolved into a bargain basement shopping frenzy for all cultures.

So, if you will excuse me, I am going to step off my soap box and go off with my family to celebrate the day as Jews worldwide have done for decades: We’re off to the movies followed by Chinese food!

I  hope you all have a Happy Holiday, a Merry Christmas, and if it suits you, Jolly Bargain Hunting on the internet!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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