Monday, 21 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
Thursday, 17 December 2009
The North Face, Fashionista reads, has filed suit in a US court, accusing a teenager of piracy for selling a line of clothing under the brand name The South Butt. This isn't piracy, says the lad, it's satire. According to BrandChannel,
"Many of the world's most prominent brands are satirized in similar fashion on a regular basis, often by substituting irreverent language within the brand's trademark colors and logos. ...
Legal or not, the question remains, does being mocked really hurt a brand? Clearly not all cases are the same. ...
In most cases, these parodies are harmless. The Coca-Cola and McDonald's brands are certainly not losing business over their respective (many) satires. The North Face case, however, may be different as the brand is not a global heavyweight. But the brand does have every right to protect itself.
Now The North Face needs to determine exactly what is, and isn't, a threat to its brand. Otherwise it may end up being the butt of South Butt's joke".Fashionista wonders whether it isn't the fact that The North Face takes its image so seriously that makes it so ripe for parody; perhaps if it appeared to appreciate the joke its appeal as a target for parody would diminish. Maybe, says Modeliste, but isn't it the fact that The North Face takes itself, its products and its image so seriously the thing that makes it most appealing to its most enthusiastic customers?
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
However, having been chatting to her friends at Datonomy, she was shocked to hear of some of the dangers that can greet the unwary internet shopper. For instance, last year the United States had a payment processor breach that the Washington Post described as "[possibly] the largest ever", with reportedly over 130 million credit and debit card details stolen.
It seems that retailers can be a particular target for computer hackers due to the sensitive customer information they carry. Retailers generally retain card information if they later need to refund a transaction, but they may hold a variety of additional items of personal customer information if, for example, the customer has signed up to a mailing list to see all the shiny new products or has a store card for bonus points, airmiles or whatever. Not only is losing lots of customer information incredibly embarrassing for retailers, but it may lead to legal claims, particularly if proper compliance procedures were not followed, and may even harm their share price.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
And today the 'Fashion Summit' takes place at the Copenhagen Opera House. Organised by NICE, the summit is an educational project created for, and in collaboration with the Nordic fashion industry, its aim is to motivate and assist companies to integrate sustainability and social responsibility in their business practices. Fashionista is impressed to learn that the plan is for attendees to walk away with a 10-year action plan and a Nordic Code of Conduct for the Nordic fashion industry and hopes that plan and Code of Conduct will be published on the internet for all to see.
Escada UK has been sold to the Mittal family (best known for their successes in the steel industry), who in November also rescued the German parent company, Escada AG, by snapping it up at auction.
Fashionista is delighted to hear that according to reports Megha Mittal, the daughter-in-law of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, is optimistic as to Escada's future:
“Despite recent difficulties, Escada has the potential to re-define its place in the world of luxury brands and become synonymous with fine quality and elegance…"The recent difficulties to which Megha alludes include the German arm of the brand filing for bankruptcy protection in August this year, and the UK arm making a loss for the past 3 years.
A-list fans of the brand (including, Fashionista is told, Katie Holmes and Hilary Swank), will of course, be thrilled, as will all 44 members of the Escada UK staff - they have had their jobs safeguarded in the deal. Those who may not be so pleased are the creditors – pre-packs have a notorious reputation for leaving them out in the cold. KPMG (Escada's administrators in the UK) were quick to deny this though, stating (according to Drapers) that, “Given the inseparable nature of Escada UK and Escada AG, the offer from Mittal Trust represented the best deal for creditors of Escada UK.”
How will the PBR affect the fashion industry she wonders? Will retailers have to cope with a decrease in consumer spending due to an increase in the rate of VAT over and above that currently proposed for the end of the year? Will the owners and investors in fashion businesses be hit with a higher rate of capital gains tax? And, as many people suspect, will those high-earners in certain unnamed industries (dare Fashionista say the word?) be hit with a tax on bonuses, and will this in turn lead to a decrease in spending on luxury items?
Fashionista may not know the answers to these questions now, but she knows where she will be able to find the most up to date information on the PBR and its effects - the Olswang Budget Blog, where Olswang's tax group will be reporting on the PBR and providing their comments on what the Chancellor has up his fiscal sleeves.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
On 3 November 2009, Drapers reported that Lulu Guiness had formed a 50:50 joint venture with First Eastern to expand the brand into Asia and on 27 November 2009, Retail Week announced that Cath Kidston had begun the search for an investment partner with local expertise as it too ramps up its international presence. Louis Vuitton has also been getting in on the act with reports in Drapers on 4 December 2009 of the opening in Macau's One Central retail and residential development as part of its planned expansion and Drapers reported that Debenhams is to open its first store in Vietnam as part of its expansion plans.
Fashionista hopes that these retailers are getting good advice as it can be difficult getting to grips with the local requirements of a new country. In most parts of Asia, like many other countries, the only way to set up a business is to find a local partner and set up business as a joint venture. Clearly, finding the right partner is key as there will be a number of areas in which you will have to depend upon your partner and, as in all relationships, trust therefore plays a vital role.
Its hardly surprising that when the economy at home becomes challenging that international expansion (particularly into emerging markets) becomes a key focus. Fashionista's bedtime has reading is the Global Retail Development Index 2009 which is published annually by ATKearney. and was interested to see that a number of the top 30 countries which should be "on the radar" of any retailer looking to expand internationally are Asian. This is supported by the International Monetary Fund which has forecast that Asian markets will see a modest recovery by 2010, boosted by stronger export demand and stimulus spending.
Of course, expansion into Asia is nothing new and over the last few years more and more retailers have been testing the waters - but given the recent spate of news items it looks like Asia is back in "vogue" again - much like those shoulder pads! And Modeliste is just itching to go an explore - complete with a designer backpack for all her trophy purchases . . . . . .
Monday, 7 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
Not so for some clothing brands it seems. They, on the other hand, want to look "old". Especially the newer brands. Fashionista has often wondered what random dates on t-shirts mean. For example, "Hollister 1922"? Well, in Hollister's case (Abercrombie & Fitch's sister-brand), it apparently means nothing. According to the BBC website, the Hollister brand was establish in 2000, and the brand's "history" of John Hollister senior - an adventurous traveller who set up the Hollister brand on his return to the US after a brief stint in the Dutch East Indies - is also fictional.
So why go to such extreme lengths? and what are the effects and implications of portraying a fake brand history as the truth? How much do consumers really care?
Fashionista suspects that this depends on who the consumers are. Does this come back to the issue of age? or does it come down to a price tag? do you have to pay for the truth?
A BBC article suggests that Hollister fans are unlikely to care, or they're not likely to feel misled or disgruntled by the falsification of facts. Fashionista wonders whether this is because Hollister products (at fairly standard high street prices) are aimed at a younger audience who may give more attention to the look of a brand rather than to what is behind it.
Compare this to how puchasers of high end luxury goods would feel if they were sold their (real not counterfeit) "It-bag" together with a fake story of brand conception and history? Fashionista suspects that this consumer would feel misled or disgruntled, and may abandon the brand. When a fashionista buys a luxury product, she is buying "into" that brand and what it represents. So, for her to then find out that what she has been sold is a lie, well doesn't that somehow tarnish what she has just bought into?
In terms of effects on the brand: new brands which suggest long-ago establishement are trying to create better images of themselves for consumers. Longevity, especially in the current economic climate, suggests an ability to withstand all sorts of problems, trials and tribulations. It suggest success. Beating the competition. Quality. Value. All attributes which older brands have spent many years (and resources) cultivating. Fashionistas often have their favourite brand and will continue to add to their collection out of loyalty for the brand. And so, the question for brands to consider is this: if the story customers are being sold is fake - even if the product is not - are those customers likely to come back for more?
Friday, 27 November 2009
The interview started with a discussion about the relationship between fashion designers and fashion journalists. Scottish-born Saunders, who seems to have a very positive relationship with the media (given that British Vogue featured one of his designs on the cover only a few months after his graduate show from Central Saint Martins) talked about the importance of being aware of the perception being created around his designs and understanding his customer. Although its a creative business, Saunders thought that designers still needed to be aware that they are selling a product to a customer (and clearly the media can influence this perception).
Fashionista's ears pricked up when Saunders revealed that he is launching his first transactional website in just two weeks' time and was interested to hear his thoughts on the internet in general i.e. "it gets rid of elitism and makes everything available to everyone". For young designers, Saunders thought that the internet provided an invaluable way to develop a business "without getting into masses of debt, like having a shop without the overheads" which enables designers to stay independent for longer without having to give away valuable shares in their business.
In terms of high street tie-ups, Saunders confirmed that he had never gotten the impression that it was a "dumbing down" thing and thought it was about making the product accessible.
Fashionista thought it was heartwarming to hear that there is no feeling of competition amongst Saunders and his fellow London designers and Saunders attributed this comaraderie to the fact that most are colleagues from Central Saint Martin days and the fact that all share the same passion for what they are doing and are sufficiently different to not feel like that are competing directly.
This left Fashionista feeling all warm and fuzzy - or perhaps that was down to the glasses of champagne afterwards?
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Both consumers and brand owners tend to distance themselves from exploitation at production level. The former -- whose role as consumers is to consume -- may be motivated to join the occasion boycott or sign a petition or two, but their default position is somewhere among the clothes-racks, looking for that perfect fit. Brand owners point to the fact that their own corporate policies do not condone exploitation (it would be surprising if any did) and that far-off suppliers who systematically mistreat or abuse their employees are in breach of their policies. However, they observe that it is difficult for them to monitor and enforce industrial policies. Laura leaves readers to ponder on this: if sweatshop allegations are not enough to damage brands or decrease sales, what incentives do brands have to change conditions on factory floors?
Says Fashionista, history shows that the biggest impact on consumer purchasing patterns has been made by pressure groups who use a potent cocktail of high publicity, intimidation and the shame factor. This is why furs, once a staple for every caveman and later a to-die-for accessory, are now confined largely to the mothballed wardrobes of some vintage grannies and the props cupboards of theatrical companies. Paradoxically, one of the things that has fuelled the sweatshop culture has been our departure from hand-made, labour-intensive clothes made from natural substances (remember woolly knitted jumpers, anyone?) to the massive over-supply of cheap synthetics in an increasingly cut-throat market with wafer-thin profit margins.
Friday, 20 November 2009
One of the most enthralling interviews was Paula Reed's interview with Diane Von Furstenberg and Harold Tillman during which DVF likened trading in the current climate to "surfing a tsunami" although given that DVF has had "a very good year" it seems that DVF might be just as good at surfing as she is at designing. As DVF put it she "had no idea that the stupid little [wrap] dress was going to pay for everything in her life".
From one fashion legend to another, Paula Reed interviewed the iconic Barbara Hulanicki, BIBA founder. Fashionista found it interesting that Barbara's view was that designers don't get enough instruction on the business side and this was an issue that was echoed over and over by many of the speakers.
Amongst the other highlights for Fashionista were:
* the "controversial" statement by Lyle and Scot managing director, Derrick Campbell, who claimed to have taken the decision to burn £1 million worth of overstock rather than see it discounted. A statement that clearly went down well with the subsequent panel of discounters, M and M direct, Cocosa and Vente-Privee!So with worn-out heel tips and a severe case of fashion envy, Fashionista left the two day event feeling wiser and extremely interested to see if some of the predictions of those in the know come true over the next year. If they do, it sounds like everyone should hold on tightly to their Balenciaga as we might be in for a bumpy ride!
* Paula Reed's interview with Joseph Velosa, CEO of Matthew Williamson, which touched on the positive aspects of a high street tie-up (a view not shared by all the guests). Joseph maintained that as long as you clearly identify the customer for each line then there is no detriment to the brand as a whole. A very topical discussion given the recent Jimmy Choo/H&M collaboration.
* Lauretta Roberts' interview with Joseph Wan (CEO of Harvey Nichols) and Touker Suleyman (owner of Ghost, Hawes & Curtis and Low Profile). Unfortunately, it seems that most people shared their view that next year will be even more challenging for retailers unless retailers can "adapt" and perhaps if they listen to Nick Robertson (CEO of ASOS) that on-line is the place to get growth at the moment.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
"The SKECHERS collection will feature a younger, more flattering fit than traditional medical apparel. Through innovative silhouettes, prints and fabrications, the line will utilize ready-to-wear trends in basics like scrubs, pants, jackets and tees. Branded designer accents will include SKECHERS logo buttons, flag labels, jacquard ribbons, and zipper pulls. The SKECHERS medical apparel line will be available in a wide range of sizes".
"Unfortunately, just ceasing publication of this ad cannot undo the damage already done, or "unring the bell." In our view, the ad has imprinted a negative image of nursing on those who saw it, potentially including health care decision-makers and career seekers, at a time of critical shortage. Persons who associate nursing with sex are unlikely to see it as worthy of being their career or of receiving significant public or private resources. They are unlikely to realize, for instance, that many thousands of nurses with doctoral-level education in nursing work on the cutting edge of health care research. Nor are they likely to realize that nurses save or improve countless lives every day through their difficult, highly-skilled work. It is imperative for global health that we not only halt this kind of damage to the nursing image, but also start reversing the damage by helping to create a more positive image".
Monday, 9 November 2009
Mothers4Children supports charitable organisations that have developed successful programs and services that benefit children in need, providing practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people. The charity's mission is to better the lives of all children, "because ALL children deserve love and a great start in life".
The hostesses (who are also the charity's patrons) hope to raise funds for Mothers4Children by selling coveted items owned by their celebrity friends, whose help they have enlisted to man the stalls. Fashionista Elizabeth Hurley will be one of the 45 stallholders, together with David Walliams and Natalie Imbruglia, who will be selling donated possessions for the greater good.
Fashionista is, of course, familiar with the notion of celebrity endorsement. But this is en masse and, effectively, a garage sale. It is less polished, more authentic.
Fashionista suspects that people will flock to the first floor of the car park, eager to part with the £5 entrance fee, if only to catch a glimpse into the lives of the celebrities and their wares. With items such as a Prada dress from Jemima Khan and Balenciaga boots from Gwyneth Paltrow, Fashionista suspects* that she won't need to step foot within Selfridges' doors on Sunday to experience the glamour of the brands normally only available inside.
(* - of course, this is only a suspicion; Selfridges' lure is likely to be too great for Fashionista to avoid...).
Saturday, 7 November 2009
"The game includes more than 10,000 clothing items, shoes and accessories, which invite endless creative possibilities."Not really, Fashionista thinks. with only 16 in-game designer labels to choose from, she imagines that most of the time between recharging the battery will be taken up in agonising which of the select 16 comes closest to her mood of the moment. Presumably, though, there's a business angle here: the owners of the 16 labels will surely be paying handsomely for the privilege of their inclusion -- and even more handsomely for the privilege of excluding some of their most bitter rivals.
Friday, 6 November 2009
Not that she would ever be judgmental about anything as personal and as subjective as fashion, Fashionista can't help wondering whether this is really a cleverly-crafted bit of band promotion masquerading as a fashion launch. To put it another way, she asks two questions: (i) would King of Leon's fans buy the clothing if it were completely unconnected with the band and (ii) would those fans buy any other items of apparel and accessories that were associated with the name of the group even if they looked quite unlike those of Surface to Air? If the answers are 'yes' and 'yes' respectively, Fashionista will volunteer to help the band carry its money to the bank ...
Thursday, 5 November 2009
After seeing its sales take a bit of a battering in North America and China, Avon has been refocusing on sales to the cash-strapped by (i) promoting lower-priced products, and (ii) heavily targeting Latin America, where, the company says, people spend a high proportion of their income on beauty products.
Bucking recent market trends towards spending vast sums on online advertising, Avon says it is to hire more sales reps, even while cutting 1,200 other jobs over the next four years. Says the article in BrandChannel, "It sounds like a plan that puts the focus on one-on-one customer interaction, which was what built the brand, rather than a broader blanketing of media messages".
Friday, 30 October 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Ms Price, Fashionista recalls, signed a three-year deal with Asda in 2006 to produce a lingerie range, receiving a reported £1.5 million for her efforts. The word in the high Street is that this range has not been selling well -- despite heavy discounting -- but the trigger for termination, according to the Daily Mirror, was the poor publicity surrounding the lovely lady since her break-up with husband Peter Andre and her subsequent romance with a "cross-dressing cage fighter", Alex Reid. Apparently this outcome suits both sides. According to OneIndia:
"Asda said: "No one's contract is set in stone as we constantly evolve ranges depending what our customers want to see in store." Meanwhile, Katie's camp said: "The contract had come to its natural end. We're currently in negotiations for a new deal for her lingerie range"."Fashionista is happy that both sides are so relaxed about the outcome, but she also feels a little cheated. Since Katie Price didn't appear in her divorce proceedings and litigation with Asda does not look likely, she still doesn't know what Katie would choose to wear in court.
Further details may be perused from BrandRepublic, OneIndia and STV TV.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
This is tremendously tempting, says Fashionista, but there's one thing she keeps wondering about. If she buys the S&K intellectual assets, can she take them back again if they don't fit ...
Thursday, 22 October 2009
You have to begin with a 'B' to play this game it seems, since the two favourites to capture the brand are rival menswear specialists Berwin & Berwin and Baird Group (though Baumler's UK agent Jason Gerrard is also believed to have expressed an interest).
Though continental Europe is Baumler's stronghold, it has 100 stockists in the UK and a turnover of about EUR90m (£80m). An important factor in determining how much the business will fetch is whether the brand's new owner acquires it as a means of securing its UK goodwill or as a springboard for developing its mainland market.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
The new approach to heritage controls has been trailed by the Government for a number of years but put off on several occasions. The Government's intention is to streamline the large amount of guidance and policy currently circulating for heritage sites - which includes listed buildings, buildings in conservation areas, archaeological areas and artefacts and similar things such as scheduled monuments. The new short form policy will replace some pretty bulky policies which are now over 15 years old.
If so, this will represent a departure from current practice with its separate treatment of listed buildings, conservation areas, other types of historic asset and archaeology.
Fashionista welcomes any move to keep a little variety on the high street and hopes that the new policy will encourage retailers to explore new options for their stores without being put off by the planning hurdles traditionally associated with listed buildings.
Friday, 16 October 2009
What actually happened here was that, as long ago as 1994, Diesel licensed its distributor, Difsa, to market its footwear in Spain, Portugal and Andorra. Difsa in turn licensed another company, Flexi, under an agreement that let Flexi conduct 'market tests' on Diesel shoes and to make shoes to its own design in order to do so in order that the shoes, if successfully tested, could be offered to Diesel for distribution or for the ‘assignment of the manufacturing licence’. Flexi in turn licensed yet another company, Cosmos, to make and sell shoes, bags and belts bearing the Diesel trade mark. The effect of this seems to have been that Cosmos could make and sell Diesel brand shoes without the express approval of any kind from Difsa or Diesel.
When Diesel found Makro selling shoes which bore Diesel trade marks and which Makro obtained from two other companies which bought them from Cosmos, it said "hey, these aren't Diesels" and sued both for trade mark and copyright history. Makro said, "hold on there -- you must surely have implicitly agreed to the use of your trade marks on these shoes, so you can't very well invoke your trade mark rights against us now: they've been 'exhausted'".
For legal buffs, the sad story can be read here in Case C-324/08 Makro Zelfbedieningsgroothandel and Others.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
In a week when much has been made in the news of the first online broadcast of a football game, Fashionista finds the drama of a live online Paris runway show much more newsworthy. Will the time come when all designers show their collections in asceptic studios simply for online broadcast with the all powerful buyers making their choices from pick lists at remote locations? This might be cheaper and more time efficient but Fashionista hopes this does not happen as online viewing simply lacks the drama and atmosphere of being present at a runway show.
Monday, 5 October 2009
And apparently its not just Fashionista's appetite that has been revived recently, investors and stockbrokers are recovering their risk appetite (although lets hope the pin stripe and braces look remains in recession). As a result the stock market is apparently enjoying an 11 month high and equity investors are sure to be perusing the fashion world for a suitable investment piece of their own. They should not be disappointed. If rumours are to be believed New Look (Fashionista's occasional high street saviour for a last minute Friday night outfit fix) are currently considering a flotation of their shares on the stock market (otherwise known as an Initial Public Offering or IPO).
Not the top strategy choice for a large proportion of companies given the increased compliance requirements and increased time and costs pressures. There's also the increased answerability to public shareholders and who knows what those shareholders might say? So while we are enslaved by the new Spring/Summer 2010 collection, New Look could find themselves a slave to their shareholders. Might Lily Allen be finding a different collaborator all of a sudden?
Its not the first time New Look have considered this option as a flotation was considered in 2007. New Look may find they are setting a different kind of trend as other companies who fared well in the economic downturn follow suit and may also look to an IPO to fill a much needed gap in investment requirements. Who knows, much like shoulder pads, maybe this will fare better for them second time around…..
For two days some of the top names in the industry will be under one roof providing their insights into some of the key business-critical topics, such as "how to drive traffic to your high street and on-line store", "growing your share of reduced consumer spend" and "social neworking: how much resource to spend on it".
The event provides an amazing opportunity to learn from some of the most successful retailers and designers around and the speaker list reads like a dazzling "who's who" of the most influential people in the retail sector, including Sir Stuart Rose (Marks & Spencer), Phil Wrigley (New Look), Nick Robertson (ASOS), Andy Rogers (Reiss), Sarah Curran (My Wardrobe), Diane Von Furstenberg and Maria Grachvogel to name just a very few.
Fashionista can barely contain herself at the thought of on-stage interviews, panel discussions and Q&As with some of the world's best known (and Fashionista's favourites) designers, e-commerce giants, indies and multiple retailers.
So a beyond excited Fashionista will be trying to beg, steal or borrow a ticket and suggests that any fashionista worth their Jimmy Choos does the same! For more information, register at http://www.fashionsummit.co.uk/ - Fashionista hopes to see you there.
Friday, 2 October 2009
For those fortunately placed retailers, even if they do not have their own on-line presence, they can still dip their toe in the water (virtually, of course) and become part of a "virtual high street" that the New West End Company plans to launch in November. These particular streets of London will be replicated so that shoppers can stroll through computer simulations of them, click into their favourite stores and see what is being sold and for how much – all from the comfort of their armchairs. Unfortunately it doesn’t enable Fashionista to make actual purchases from the site, but it will hopefully minimise the amount of time Fashionista has to spend shuffling her way through the overcrowded streets of the West End searching for that last perfect gift for Auntie Flo.
The virtual West End will apparently be so life-like that the virtual streets will have virtual buses running down them – (does that mean Fashionista can still be virtually run over whilst being distracted by the gorgeous xmas window displays?) and it will even show the real weather (which Fashionista could have lived without to be honest!).
M&S, Liberty, American Apparel and John Lewis have already signed up to participate and it is thought by some that it could transform online shopping given that shoppers will be able to browse an entire high street, rather than having to go to the individual stores website (as reported in the Times 28 September 2009).
Fashionista is still not totally convinced that shoppers would not just prefer to skip the pain of xmas shopping altogether by sticking to those stores who have transactional websites so they do not have to venture out of their homes at all (step forward Scrooge!). However, for those shoppers who still love to pound the pavement, are planning a trip to London from overseas or who want to shop in a particular store which doesn't yet have an on-line presence, Fashionista thinks it sounds like a virtually perfect idea.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
To be registered a mark must be distinctive and that was the downfall for !. The CFI concluded that ! is not distinctive and the shopping public would see ! "as mere laudatory advertising, or as an eye-catching gimmick, and not as an indication of the commercial origin of those goods."
In addition, and the final blow for this application, was the finding that Joop! had failed to persuade the court that its use of ! had been such as to make ! distinctive for its products and no one else's. All Joop! had submitted was three photographs of jeans carrying some sort of label with a !. Not good enough and could try harder was the report . . . . . (!).
So, no monopoly in ! for Joop!, or at least not for now.
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Having worked in Paris for John Galliano and Kenzo, and in the US for Tommy Hilfiger and Daryl K, Jenden joined forces with Diane von Furstenburg: his self styled icon and brand - preferring to see her in Dior menswear on a Harley Davison, than in couture. Now designing for both DvF and his eponymous brand, Jenden was asked how he manages to keep the two brands separate.
Fashionista mused: this must surely be a difficulty faced by any designer having to wear two design hats, whether in the case of Jenden, seeking to design for two separate high end brands; or whether in the case of designers such as Matthew Williamson, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney, who have designed for both high end brands and high street stores. How do designers recreate the signature styles associated with their names without blurring the distinction between brands?
For Jenden, the two brands are easy to separate. His designs for his Nathan Jenden brand tell his story and, whilst he loves working for DvF, his DvF designs tell Diane's story. "A collection should feel like a part of life" Jenden explained, and so, a DvF "Lawrence of Arabia" themed collection was based on a holiday Diane took in Oman. Fashionista suspects that the job may be harder for luxury brand designers who agree to create a range for a high street store. They have the difficult job of showcasing their brand to a different audience at a reduced price level, whilst not diminishing the value of their brand - which justifies the price tags that the main collections can demand.
Ultimately: times are good for Nathan Jenden. Maybe its the thought behind the designs that is a winning formula. The prints, the colours, the styles: they are tailored for his market to ensure that garments are going to suit whoever tries them on. But the most important thing? Remembering that fashion is about attitude; about being fun, upbeat and not too serious - it is not really about clothes.
An enlightening "behind the scenes" look into the life and work of such a busy man, and Fashionista is already looking forward to the next FBC meeting...
Friday, 25 September 2009
So what is Freerange? To use Nicola and Angela's own words, "it is a fresh faced fashion retailer offering a range of ethically sourced, stylish clothing and lifestyle products for men and women who care about the world around them, strive for a better one and to still want to look fabulous".
When asked by Fashionista to describe Freerange, Angela said that the aim was to prove that the words 'fashion' and 'eco friendly' truly do go together by establishing a personal shopping experience against a backdrop of eco friendly, ethical and stylish clothing.
A year on, the business is already well established locally and its online store is improving by the season - this means that you don't have to live nearby to visit. Freerange prides itself on dealing with companies who produce good looking, wearable, covetable collections whilst ensuring any impact on the environment is as minimal as possible - including amongst others Ciel, Bailey, Amana, Kuyichi, People Tree, Stewart and Brown, Lowie and Ivana Basilotta.
Angela and Nicola are not alone in the fashion world to find that relationships with suppliers can be trying - and in a recession perhaps more so. But on a positive note it is heartening to learn that some suppliers have been really supportive to this fledgling business.
So as we hear more news about green shoots - and even green fields - from the financial commentators, Fashionista is glad to hear that on the high street there is some positive news and something to celebrate. Hopefully, the story of Freerange's first happy year will encourage others to be brave and not only enter the wonderful world of fashion retailing but also encourage all fashionistas to embrace ethically sourced fashion.
Not all Manny's quips appear in the written version of his paper, but he has kindly sent it to Fashionista so she can share it with her friends who couldn't be there on the big day. You can read it here. If you want to be kept informed of next year's Handbags at Dawn, email Fashionista here.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
This particular Fashionista waxed lyrical on the essential topic of brand clearance: what it is; why it is important; and how best to clear a brand. Hopefully the message rang out loud and "clear" (sorry) that brand clearance is vital for fashion houses to protect their brands, and to minimise and manage the risk of opposition to use and objections to the registrability of a brand as a trade mark. Wouldn't it be awful to spend huge amounts of time, effort and money developing, launching and marketing a brand (without clearing it) only to find out somewhere down the line that another party owns rights to the same or a similar mark and may, at worst, force you to rebrand?
Highlights of the day included:
- a fantastic opening by Manny Silverman, who was able to provide industry insider knowledge on where IP fits in within the fashion industry, and delivered the important message of appreciating a brand and its value as an asset in order to fully benefit from the globalisation of the fashion industry;
- Daniel Ryan, approaching IP valuation from a refreshingly original perspective - breaking down valuation for each type of intellectual property right as it relates to the fashion industry, and highlighting the financial returns that IP rights can allow a company to generate;
- Christopher Stothers and Stephanie McAviney, discussing the use of selective distribution networks by brands to maintain an aura of luxury, together with a synopsis of a case which Fashionista has already blogged about: the Copad / "Christian Dior corset" case, and examining the limitations of such agreements and whether or not English courts are likely to extend protection already afforded to brand owners; and
- Fashionista's friend Melissa Morgia, who provided an insight into the role and rights of a celebrity as a designer, brand endorser and model, in an age where such role extensions are becoming increasingly prevalent.
All this and much more, seamlessly overseen by the most talented of chairmen, Jeremy Phillips - always armed with taxing questions, ready to keep the presenters on their toes!
All in all, the day was a great success and fashion IP lawyers and industry insiders no doubt walked away considerably wiser.