Friday, 25 November 2016 01:22

ChicGeek Comment Fashion Black Friday

Black Friday Retail CommentI’m a believer that Black Friday is a good way for fashion retailers to get rid of stuff. Let’s be honest, if you haven’t got rid of most of this season’s fashion by the end of November it’s probably going into the sale anyway. Rather than wait until after the Christmas glut and the fatigue that takes the shine off most of these items, it’s a fresh and early sale that can still make the current season look alluring and new-ish. A late mid-season, maybe?

Left - Somewhere in the world there is a sale on

For an important season it is very short. It really only has between September and November to shift fashion. By the time you get to December fashion is dead and it’s all about Christmas. Many brands, now, deliver their new season in November, so again, another reason to mark down on Black Friday and ride the hysteria of, mostly, internet sales.

For some reason, unbeknownst to me, many retailers still think the clock strikes September and we all crave polo necks and thick tweed coats. Autumn is warm, now. Maybe a few more layers, but the idea that it nosedives to below zero the minute summer is over seems old-fashioned or stupid and people don’t want to plan or buy ahead, they want to wear now.

Men like discounts and a bargain and I think there’s enough time between Black Friday and Boxing Day to probably get the sale driven person twice. 

Black Friday may not work for all types of retailers. but, for fashion retailers, it’s another sales opportunity basket to put their eggs in and they need as much help as they can get at the moment.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016 15:01

ChicGeek Comment The Future of Luxury Watches

The Future of Luxury WatchesSomething occurred to me the other day with regards to the watch business. Much like the oil industry which continues to pump out millions of barrels of oil, despite the price falling, in order to fend off or weaken the burgeoning fracking industry, (it’s a lost cause, btw, but what other options are there?) the watch industry is doing much the same thing: pumping out large volumes of product at all different price levels trying to keep themselves desirable and relevant.

Left - Are luxury watches sinking for good?

The smartwatch was a catalyst, and while it hasn’t really dented the traditional watch market, it was already under threat from people using their phones to tell the time and the slightly old-fashioned, pompous and alienating approach many Swiss brands/makers have.

Global Blue’s latest data for the third quarter of 2016 show global spending on watches is down -32%. The UK aside, which is experiencing a blip due to the weakness of the pound, Global Blue’s latest year-to-date data shows that the W&J (Watches & Jewellery) category has been hardest hit by the global luxury spending slowdown. 

The reasons they give are: Chinese are buying fewer watches due to the conspicuous consumption crackdown, higher import duties are a major deterrent, as is the dual effect of less attractive product and lack of price differentials. Plus the landscape is dramatically different now that global shoppers are deterred from visiting Europe due to the persistent perception of reduced safety and threat of terrorism.

Like all industries that experience rapid growth it will inevitably lose momentum and stall. They are trying to offer something special, but in volume, which is an oxymoron. They are also not very transparent at helping consumers know what they are buying and paying big bucks for.

They’ve opened huge flagships to showcase their brands in insulation, so as not to be contaminated by any others, but it’s not sustainable. Recently, Mike France, co-founder of internet watch retailer Christopher Ward, said, when talking about mono-brand watch stores, the “Regent Street model cannot be economically viable”. He said: “Ultimately they will die. Some of them will remain, but most of them will die. At the moment stores are flags for the brands; most of them lose a fortune.”

The volumes the industry are churning out are unsustainable too and has taken the 'luxury' halo off the industry. They are in a damned if they do and damned if they don’t situation. 

Lots of consumers are turned off by the prices and are turning towards the ‘pre owned watches’ or 'second hand watches' market for something different or if they still want a status symbol-type brand at a price that they can afford and justify.

I’ve also heard branded/licensed watches in the mid-market are struggling and many brands and fashion companies which don’t specialise in this area are leaving the category all together.

Luxury watches are at a crossroads. Will we look back in a few years and find it funny that people used to wear lumps of mechanical metal on their wrists? Only time will tell.

 

OOTD CMMN SWDN Style MenswearTheChicGeek finishes his picks of the best of the AW16 collections with CMMN SWDN. (See all the season's others here).

It's all about the cropped suit with cargo details and a strong Chelsea boot. A new, relaxed way to wear coordinating pieces, team it with a simple knit. It's the suit of the season.

Credits - Full outfit CMMN SWDN

Shot by Robin Forster on Olympus PEN

See video & more images below

OOTD Chic Geek Common SwedenGrey Cropped Men's Suit OOTDGrey Suit Menswear OOTD Chic GeekCMMN SWDN Chelsea Boots Red OxbloodThe Chic Geek menswear grooming fashionMenswear Style Icon The Chic Geek OOTD

Monday, 21 November 2016 12:52

ChicGeek Comment Personality Publishing

Personality Publishing Bruce Weber Carine RoitfeldTraditional print publishers are having problems, we all know that. Seeing their traditional revenue streams shrink, and not replaced by the digital, has made many disappear or radically reduce their cost bases.

Left - Page from Carine Roitfeld's CRFashionBook by Bruce Weber

The future of publishers, and brands in general, is personality and while publishers have long had columnists and featured writers and contributors, it was all under the umbrella of a trusted masthead. 

Hearst recently announced is will host Carine Roitfeld's CRFashionBook.com on its publishing platform, MediaOS, and oversee distribution and digital advertising. Business of Fashion reports that while all editorial content for both print and digital channels will continue to be produced by CR Fashion Book’s own editorial staff under editor-in-chief Roitfeld, Hearst will take on the task of monetising the title's digital and social media content and syndicate it across Hearst Magazines' digital portfolio.

Hearst has a similar agreement with Lenny, the newsletter launched by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner in 2015: LennyLetter.com is hosted by MediaOS and Hearst has exclusive rights to monetise the content, which is also syndicated across its portfolio of sites.

Even if the content is produced by a team it is under the name of a personality. These personalities wouldn’t work for a traditional publisher or give as much of themselves if they did, so this is a good way for publishers to tap this market.

As a blogger, I could be called biased towards this type of publishing, but it’s the future. Anonymous posts without the confidence and voice of a single individual with experience and knowledge just don’t resonate. People want to know who they are listening to. Opinion formers with an opinion is the future and publishers are finally waking up to it.

American Apparel Death of the hipsterAm I premature or too late, but does the closure of American Apparel signal the beginning of the end of the hipster?

Left - American Apparel is disappearing from British high-streets

This Terry Richardson-type wank fantasy of sports socks and short shorts, with a dash of the ethically made, didn’t quite make it. It had potential. It rode that early wave of ethical consumerism and sold items people need and use in volume. Basics.

Death of the hipster socks american apparelIt shoulda/coulda been a Gap for hipsters, but thought itself too cool for that and in the process shot themselves in the foot. If you didn’t wear gold meggings and a towelling headband you weren’t going to quite cut it in an average branch of American Apparel. 

Right - Ironic? Were you cool enough to wear these?

You can aim for hipsters, but, ultimately, you want everybody, something that Uniqlo seems to have mastered. And, if you're charging a premium you need to remind consumers what the extra is for, in this case, it was made in the USA. Selling basics is a tough job, these days, as it is so price sensitive. Retailers, like Gap, are struggling to reinvent themselves in this post-hipster market. Maybe they should adopt the best bits of American Apparel and add some contemporary sex appeal to their image.

American Apparel was like one of those scowling cool kids who doesn’t say much, looks the part, but you realise, quite quickly, they have nothing to say.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 14:24

Five Streetwear Labels To Know Now

Streetwear Geek adidasStreetwear is all the rage and it seems as though everyone is trying to create their own clothing line these days. Even so, there are still plenty of streetwear designers that are making some of the most fashionable clothes this side of the catwalk and you'd be amiss not to take advantage of these exciting creators. Here are a few of the brands that you should be paying attention to if you're not already:

Palace


It felt as though this British skateboard label came out of nowhere in 2010 to quickly become one of the hottest streetwear brands on the market. Known as much for its irreverent sense of humour as it is for it incredible clothes, Palace has gone from a flash in the pan to a fashion mainstay. Palace will also be doing a new collaboration with Adidas this year, complete with fresh new shoes and a range of other apparel and accessories.

Supreme


Supreme is one of the most iconic and respected skate brands out there and they continue to kill it today. The legendary box logo is a badge of honor and the company continues to put out incredibly fresh clothes year after year. It was recently revealed that the latest collaboration for Supreme would be with the legendary thrash-metal band Slayer in a collection that will include jackets, sweaters, shirts, and more based around some of the band's classic albums.

Skateboard Geek labels to knowStussy


Stussy is another classic street brand that has managed to remain hip and relevant throughout the years. The brand was founded back in 1980 and it's hard to believe a 36-year-old label can stay as fashionable and with-the-times as Stussy is today. With a wide range of T-shirts, sweats, jackets, and more the name is one of the most recognised and beloved in street fashion and is a must-have for anyone trying to rock the style.

Mishka


Mishka has been a hot name in the NYC underground fashion scene for some time now, but their irreverent riffs on pop culture combined with cutting edge street style has made them popular throughout the world as well. The streetwear company and record label was founded in 2003 and continues to be wildly popular in the hip-hop community with its eyeball logo keeping watch over New York's streets.

Gosha Rubchinskiy

The 32-year-old Russian designer has taken the fashion world by storm, and if 2015 was when Gosha made a name for himself then 2016 is when he really took off. Rubchinskiy opened the Vetements SS16 show and shot this year's holiday campaign for Topman. His takes on classic American '90s street style is both ironic and original and the designer has established himself as one of the preeminent streewear stylists of today. Even better, Gosha's clothes are remarkably affordable for a label with such a high profile, thanks to his emphasis on being accessible to the youth trying to buy them.