Wednesday, 25 March 2020 19:50

ChicGeek Comment COVID 19 The Bounceback?

fashion covid 19 tom ford said china bounced backThere will be life after COVID 19, but it’s guesswork to how much and how quickly it resumes to pre-virus levels. American designer, Tom Ford, told WWD today, “In China, for example, with our cosmetics, we’ve completely recovered. We’re back to 100 percent. And our ready-to-wear and accessories, which was down about 95 percent, it’s now back up to 50 percent.” 

That is in just over a month. The Chinese saw a spike in infections on 12th February.

Tom Ford has just 4 own brand stores in China. His beauty brand, in partnership with Estée Lauder, will be available more widely. Tom Ford Beauty was projected to turn over $1 billion in global sales by 2020.

Admittedly, the person who can afford Tom Ford might be slightly more immune to a downturn than others, but it’s more the attitude and feel good factored needed to buy an expensive handbag that is interesting here. It’s a strong bounce back and one many other luxury brands will be looking and hoping for. 

Tom Ford, while a big name, is relatively mid-sized in terms of luxury with very select (limited) distribution. The brand generates an estimated $500 million in yearly revenues for its men's and women's ready-to-wear and accessorises. But, he will be sat alongside, in retail terms, the best of the world’s brands and designers, so it shows the Chinese shopper is back out.

Italy, the worst-affected country in Europe, is starting to see the number of new cases of Coronavirus cases start to fall. The peak in the country was four days ago, on March 21, when 6,557 new cases of the virus were reported. Two days later the number was down to 4,789 and, although yesterday the number increased again to 5,249, that is still 20% below the peak.

A week after South Korea hit its peak, which was much lower than major European countries at just 851 cases on March 3, the number of new recorded cases had dropped by 87%.

In Germany, the peak number of new cases was on March 21 at 4,528 cases. Yesterday, 24th March, the number of new cases was down to 3,935, a drop of 17%.

While we have to take Chinese virus numbers with a pinch of salt, it might not be as bad as we think for the fashion business after all. A strong domestic consumer bounceback will be the catalyst the fashion industry needs.

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menswear product of the week casablanca printed jeanWhy should the shirt have all the fun? This is the question the jean is asking this season. A new label on the radar is Casablanca. Designed in Paris and made in Casablanca, it’s a bright and creative contemporary brand bestowed with the rich dual heritage of Casablanca’s French-Moroccan founder, Charaf Tajer. (He was previously associated co-founder of Parisian label Pigalle and is also a collaborator of Mr Virgil Abloh).

His tongue-in-cheek and playful aesthetic, and not so silly prices, makes this a brand to have fun with. This print has something of the sunshine Hockney/Luke Edward Hall vibes about and I love it. Wear these with everything!

Left & Below - Casablanca - Chambre Slim-Fit Printed Denim Jeans - £365 from MRPORTER

Not to be confused with the shoe brand, Casablanca 1942 - Read more here

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menswear product of the week casablanca printed jean

Label to know original madras trading company madras checksOriginal Madras Trading Company was founded by current owner Prasan Shah’s grandfather in the early 1970s when he arrived in New York from Madras with a trunk full of checks and other woven Indian textiles. He established an office on 38th Street in the New York garment district, and where they still trade from today.

While they continue to supply fabrics and garments to well-known other brands, this is the first season with their own eponymous range.

A little history lesson. The weaving of cotton cloth in South India was renowned for centuries prior to the British building a harbour in Madras - now called Chennai - in the 18th century, but it was this port and the British East India Company that led to textiles from Madras being traded throughout the modern world.  That is the origin of the Madras check.

Label to know original madras trading company madras checks

Originally and to this day the best Madras is woven by hand. This is a process that takes each individual weaver several hours per metre and results in no two lengths of cloth being identical. OMTC is a 3rd generation family business who have been weaving and producing Madras for 50 years in factories owned and operated by the family. 

TheChicGeek says, "Who doesn't like checks? These feel distinctively authentic and I particularly like the Indian influence in the styles, like the longer shirt lengths and hooded kaftan styles. For AW20, which I saw at January's Pitti Uomo, OMTC have the cutest checked quilted trousers. The brand is currently available at Trunk Clothiers in London." 

Label to know original madras trading company madras checks

Left - Original Madras Trading Company Cotton Madras Button Down Shirt - £125 from Trunk Clothiers 

www.omtcnyc.com 

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fashion covid 19 cancel orders manufacturing

This is a disaster. This will probably be the biggest recession the world has ever seen and fashion and retail is going to get hit hard. What the global spread of coronavirus (COVID 19) shows us is how interdependent our economies have become and what a fragile house of cards it all was in the first place. Those cards are disappearing quickly and the entire thing is coming crashing down.

Fashion brands and companies are in freefall and the current mindset is to cancel everything. Fashion had a problem with unsold inventory well before this. As the industry got bigger and the need for huge quantities to make a profit increased, unsold merchandise and how to get rid of it was a headache for the majority of brands, high-street or ‘luxury’.

It has been reported that garment factories in Bangladesh have now had orders worth more than US$2 billion cancelled by brands and retailers because of the global coronavirus crisis. Orders for nearly 650 million garments, worth a total of US$2.04 billion have been cancelled, impacting on 738 factories and about 1.42 million workers, according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

Just as the Chinese factories start production again, Europe and US are mostly in lockdown with many shops closed and retailers cancelling orders.

Primark is using a force majeure clause in its contracts to cancel its orders, the Times newspaper said. “We are deeply saddened that this will clearly have an effect throughout our entire supply chain,” Primark Chief Executive Officer Paul Marchant told the newspaper.

While much of the SS20 season would have been made despite the reported disturbances in the supply chain from China at the beginning of the year, it’s not too late to cancel high summer stock or the waves of drops, brands, who don’t want to hold much stock, have become used to. Primark has no online sales, so all that stock will be stuck in stores and warehouses.

“We have large quantities of existing stock in our stores, our depots and in transit, that is paid for and if we do not take this action now we will be taking delivery of stock that we simply can’t sell. This is unprecedented action for unprecedented and frankly unimaginable times,” said Marchant.

Marks & Spencer has recently cancelled £100m in clothing orders.

This is the retail equivalent of cutting off limbs to save the vital organs. Brands don’t know how long this is going to last and what shape they and consumers will be in at the end of it. They need to save cashflow. Fashion feels particularly unimportant right now and will be awash with huge discounts to clear stock in the near future, and that’s in an already saturated market. Brands cancelling orders will impact manufacturing countries hard, but this isn’t a frivolous decision, this is a battle for survival. 

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tried tested review five dot botanics eye serum face serumFive Dot Botanics only use 5 ingredients in any product they make, focusing on high-quality, plant-based ingredients. Everything is vegan certified and palm oil free. 

Founded by partners Zaffrin and Brian O'Sullivan, the London-based company only launched in the middle of 2019 and hopes to capitalise on the desire for ‘clean beauty’.

Five Dot Botanics launches with 5 products: Facial serum, Restorative Mask, Face Mist, Face Oil and Eye Serum.


Left - Five Dot Botanics - Green Coffee + Cacay Nourishing Facial Serum, £38, Full Bright – Horse Chestnut + Caffeine Renewal Eye Serum, £30

TheChicGeek says, “I like the simplicity behind this. The majority of people are blinded by ingredient lists, me included. Who really has the time to analyse and Google everything? Trust is very important. This concept instils trust.

I tried two of the products: the facial serum and the eye serum. The ‘Green Coffee + Cacay Nourishing Facial Serum’ has a very light scent and aims to tackle inflammation, reduce wrinkles and give intensive nourishment. Cold-pressed green coffee beans are said to deliver three times more antioxidants than green tea, calming puffy and congested skin. Amazonian cacay nut oil contains high levels of vitamins E, F and A which revitalise and soften the skin, reducing fine lines, while safflower oil stimulates skin regeneration, clearing blemishes and reducing scars. This has a good consistency for an oily serum. Many brands say 2-3 drops and it’s never enough to fully move around the face. This does that, no problem. It feels nourishing, not too greasy and quickly absorbs.

The ‘Horse Chestnut + Caffeine Renewal Eye Serum’ comes in a metal rollerball and has been designed to reduce dark eye circles and bags. Active horse chestnut extract provides anti-inflammatory benefits and absorbs UV rays. It might be easier to roll this onto the palm of you hand and pat the delicate eye area rather than using direct. 

I really like the branding here and the coated labelling, it looks classy. Five ingredients is great, but does this not paint themselves into a creative and chemical corner? Is five enough for some products? And why only five? I look forward to trying more products from these guys though."

Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Five Dot Botanics for review

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Friday, 20 March 2020 17:48

Splash or Cash? The Greek Key Underpants

Versace greek key underwear black gold pantsVersace underwear, thanks to its signature use of the ancient Greek key design, has become one of the most recognisable brands across social media and in other images.

A little light history if you will. This decorative border is also called a meander or meandros. It recalls the twisting and turning path of the Maeander River in southwestern Turkey and is the labyrinth in linear form. It is thought to symbolise infinity and unity.

These, let’s call it an ‘homage’, from River Island, could fool even the biggest designer underwear fan. While the Versace Medusa head has been replaced by a bee - clearly these will be popular in Manchester - the rest looks almost identical and nobody on Instagram would ever know!

Versace greek key underwear black gold pants

Left - River Island - Black Printed Waistband Briefs 3 Pack - £15

Right - Versace - Logo Low-Rise Stretch-Cotton Briefs - £45 from matchesfashion.com

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