News from you 6/22/2007

Welcome to another edition of News From You, an eclection of news, be it commercial, the weird, arcane, and the downright useless -of interest to F-I infovores. Feel free to pass your news along. Regarding commercial notices (vested parties), if you’re one of my designers or allied member of the community (meaning, you’ve bought my book), I’ll announce your commercial notices such as openings, launches (including websites), news and press pieces. All other commercial parties should review submission guidelines. I credit all sources, be sure to include your web address if you want a link. Lastly, you may remain anonymous but you have to tell me.

Today’s first entry is from Miracle who submits a link to an online resource for the care label artwork we all need -free! Be sure to bookmark this one. Below are samples of the sort of care label icons you’ll find there.

Marie Eve Demers announces she’s finally launched her site designed to help UK designers marketing kidswear.
Macy’s is launching a fashion incubator at their State Street store in Chicago. I’d heard rumors Windy City fashionistas had been breaking ranks with the AIBI (seems I’m not the only one who thinks AIBI is too insular –among other things). With the backing of Mayor Daley, hopefully Macy’s will be playing well with others.
Oxanna writes:

For anyone who’s looking to design a Spring 2008 line, has a contest called “Collection 1.0”, open to individual fashion designers, or a team of designers, from the US or abroad. The deadline has been extended to September 1, 2007. Looks interesting, but two things I noticed:

  1. The 4 samples sent to blaec should be “US size 4 or equivalent”, whatever that means. Might put a kink in things if your median size isn’t a “size 4”.
  2. “blaec will have an exclusive right to sell the collection pieces; blaec’s exclusive right will end on May 31, 2008.” I think I’d want to be pretty clear on what this means…because of this, it might not be a good idea for a DE? Something to think about.

See contest rules and information.

Trash the Dress. Good grief. Even NPR’s Talk of the Nation aired a mention of it yesterday.
Speaking of wedding gowns, Sally sends a link to something truly weird. Toilet paper wedding gowns. Her friend who sent her the link (Inez Foose) says “When you think about it, one usually wears their gown only once, so why not make it disposable. Ideal for someone who expects a crappy marriage.” Ha ha ha ha ha. For those in the throes of task avoidance, the 2007 contest for best gown runs from May 1 to July 31, 2007 so it’s not to late to enter.
Gianfranco Ferre, iconic fashion designer has died. WWD
Лазарев Виктор (don’t ask me to pronounce that) sent me a very intriguing link to her (?) site.

I asked Rita for some help (Rita is Russian and a great pattern maker and tech designer if you need one). Rita says:

This is a website that contains the following:

  • Fashion magazines on CDs with patterns.
  • Custom patterns can be ordered via E-mail with measurements provided.
  • Offers a patternmaking CAD system at reasonable price.

I had fun viewing this, thank you for forwarding. This is very good comparing where they were when I left Russia. I personally believe in manual patternmaking on paper, with rulers, on table etc. not to mention how much fun it is – Why let the computers have all the fun???? I let the computer do grading and marking. May be I am just getting old?

The English version of the site informs me the product is called CAD LEKO. By phone, Rita said she was impressed with what she’s seen so far. She says it’s a commercial grade product at a remarkably low price. She says it’s set up exactly the way she was trained in Russia, per divisions of the body (I do that too). It’s priced at 17,000 rubles. In dollars, it costs less than $700. Check it out.
An article from the NY Times on a radical new kind of shoe.

Skins Footwear intends to break the shoe in two, giving it an outer part, including the sole and upper, which he calls a “skin,” and a removable inner part, which he calls the “bone.” “The bone is the constant fit and feel,” he says. “Then there’s this blank canvas for you to express yourself with the skins.”

The idea is that a shopper will buy a bone, for about $60, and several skins, which will range from $125 to $300. People will shift from one skin to the next, depending on what they’re doing, much the way they can with other kinds of apparel.

Back in Skinny Jeans (blog) has done an unofficial sizing survey of designer jeans sizing. The survey is similar to the “study” I mentioned in Jeans Sizing, Problems and Recommendations but probably more valid. Feeling gentle that day, I refrained from commenting on the myriad vanity sizing mythinformation I also found there.
Daniel sends a link to What happens in Vegas…

Ever wonder where that great shirt at your favourite local clothing store came from? Here’s a hint: it’s somewhere you wouldn’t expect, and Céline Dion, Barry Manilow and Wayne Newton live down the street. Because if it isn’t from a massive chain retailer such as Banana Republic or a high-end designer-goods store like Harry Rosen, chances are good it came from Las Vegas. Or, more precisely, the twice-annual Magic Marketplace, the largest apparel and accessories show in North America.

Miracle’s in love with a new website. Vintage Lingerie
Connie Steinberg sends a link she found on Sew-What’s-New, saying it may interest budding DEs. It’s an interview with a woman who explains her journey into coat manufacturing.
Charming Autumn Best sends an email saying she wants to submit a “blog” to my “page”. She says they “are currently looking for hip, creative, and fashion-savvy young thrifters to make up the 2007-2008 Savers/ Value Village Redesigners team”. Targeted at teens, more info is here.
Ali’s site, Retail Dish continues to dish the good and bad on the buying and paying habits of boutique store owners.

So far we are up to 1889 postings for 709 stores on the site. Please help spread the word by emailing people in the industry. Also, you can take a look at the list of the worst stores on the site by checking out the store rankings page.

Before I’d take paper from a new account, I’d definitely look them up here first. Read the reviews carefully, some ratings are artificially high. One particular store owner logged in repeatedly giving herself the highest score possible. Her protests aside, one of our DEs was burnt pretty badly by this store and had to get the sheriff to collect their goods.
Jinjer’s blogging. Not much up yet but she’s a new mom and stretching her legs.
Shauna Smith is one of my most favoritest people in the Austin apparel scene. If you’re in the area, she’s your first stop for lessons or even product development resources. Shauna worked in LA for 13 years making patterns before she opened her sewing and pattern lessons studio in Austin. Specifically, she writes announcing her new summer sewing seminar series. Hey, that was 4 S’s.
Kysha (notice how she manages to get a mention in every single issue of News From You? It can’t hurt her page ranking…, maybe others should take advantage of it) writes to tell me about a new kind of eco-label material. It’s corn based. She says she hasn’t ordered from them yet but she got a sample pack and the quality looked good.
Eric Wilhelm sends the latest Instructables. I can never resist these. This week, featured are how to make Caffeinated Jello Shots, How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube and How to Speed Weave Your Own Chainmail.
JC Sprowls apologizes in advance for enabling or encouraging the competition out there over the acquisition of menswear equipment at auction. He sends two links saying that between them, “there is a nifty setup for a very affordable entry price.”
Lastly, Jason (an employee at TukaTech) wrote an article explaining the difficulties of product development among those going off shore. Obviously, he’s advocating the usage of e-fitting 3D software to test fit virtual prototypes (which TukaTech sells). When we spoke at SPESA, I argued with him that I didn’t need something like this and he concurred that I may not but that my clients wouldn’t have the same facility to envision a potential difficulty I was describing unless they could see it on screen, so I have to give him that although I still can’t use it since my customers are unlikely to show up. Still, the article has some interesting points even if you’re not in the market for 3D software. He says in part:

Let’s review some facts that are the present reality of the Industry

  • Average markdown in retail is 31%, (too big a number to ignore)
  • Average labor cost from exporting countries is between 8% to 12%, (too small a number to panic) even if there is a saving of 25% labor it will be 2% to 3% of the total selling price, can we use them for other processes.
  • Average cost of importing goods is 8% for QC, commissions, travel, sourcing executives,
    (I could have made it in the country where we sell for almost the same COST but faster, lowering the risk of markdown)

  • Average cycle time from concept to consumer is 150 days.(This is the problem area that needs to be addressed.)
  • Average time taken for the Concept to develop through Tech Packs to Approval is 90 days.
    (Before globalization it was definitely faster, though not cheaper to do it in-house.)

  • Average cost of a acquiring a sample in USA is running at $400 to $1,200 depending upon the garment and the label. (We really need the help of the exporter in cheaper labor countries.)
  • The number of units per style are down and will continue to decrease, this will add work load to develop more new styles to maintain volume of business.

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  1. Ayanna says:

    I stumbled upon trash the dress website about a month ago. I actually like the pics, they are quite artistic. I personally think that the extravagant expense of wedding dresses worn for approximately 4 to 6 hours and photographed excessively should be given an ironic twist at the end of your wedding photo album. Besides, a daughter is going to seriously think you are off your rocker if you want her to wear that dress 20 to 25 years later due to dramatic changes in fashion/style/materials/etc.

  2. Yahzi Rose says:

    Retail Dish is great, an excellent way to annonymously share information we could all use. It would be nice if she added categories for what the stores sell.

    Thanks for the WholeZest link. I find it interesting that these virtual tradeshow children’s apparel sites are being launched. I’m wondering if buyers will or already do use them. Are there any for the adult market and has anyone used them?

    LOL, Kathleen that wasn’t my intention but you’re right I get great traffic from FI!

  3. Daniel Lee says:

    From personal experience I can tell you that LOTS and LOTS of people use “virtual showrooms”. Online sales have really taken off in the last 2 years or so. The problem with virtual showrooms is that:
    1. People may steal your ideas/designs (happens regardless of having an online showroom)
    2. If you are a buyer, you can never tell 100% the quality of merchandise by viewing pictures online.

    With that said, virtual showrooms are being embraced for lots of reasons. One of the main reasons is that, not many people want to travel to more than one show a year to find new lines.

  4. Marie-Christine says:

    Oh, that Leko thing! Don’t recommend it without taking a closer look. A major problem, for instance, is that there is NO way to adjust cup size!! At all, even if you order a custom pattern without doing the mass CD designs. Imagine what that does for the people who’re most likely to look for custom patterns. You get that lovely pattern, and you’re adjusting it to your bust like it was some big4 reject you got on sale at Joanne’s. Sigh.
    There might be more flaws along those lines, but I didn’t go further in my explorations. In the US, these patterns are mostly sold by, they have a whole international retail chain like that. It’s really a shame, it’d be so convenient if it worked…

  5. Kim says:

    I have also seen the trash the dress website. The photos are creative and definitely artistic. It has become simply outrageous, the cost of the wedding dresses and all the ‘bits’ that must accompany.

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