Category Archives: Fashion

NYC Stores: From Reality to Virtual and Back Again

Shopping for clothing has never been easier or more choice-oriented.  Do you want to actually go into a real store, or would you like to browse various outfits from the comfort of your couch?  In other words, if you’re in New York (or other fashion capitals around the world) what is your preference:  online or inhouse?

While online American clothing purchases are on the increase (27% in 2018 compared to 20.7% in 2015), these figures still suggest people are choosing to go into a store and try on the clothing.  It seems that figures are increasing but that people still want to actually put on a piece of clothing to see how it looks and feels.

So where is New York in all of this? Well, Black Friday figures for 2018 instore sales dropped by 7 percent with online sales increasing by 24 percent.  Still, evidence is showing that both options are attractive to shoppers and for different reasons. Therefore, the ultimate answer might be  just that; to keep both online and instore clothing stores stocked.  In New York some stores are getting their heads around that concept.

One example of this is direct-to-consumer brand Wardrobe NYC. Originally launched in 2017 exclusively as an online store, the luxury clothing store founded by Christine Centenera and Josh Goot just opened a pop-up in Soho. Its plan is to remain open temporarily – just until March 24 – and will offer customers all three of the brand’s existing collections: Tailored, Sport and Street.  The concept behind the firm’s anti-fast fashion  brand is the production, manufacture and sale of apparel in a streamlined way to simplify choosing everyday clothing.

It seems that according to a recent Forbes article:

“The current consensus in the retail industry is that, despite falling instore sales, 2019 will not mark the death of the physical store. Instead, it will coexist happily with a digital ecosystem.”

It’s time for clothing stores in the world’s fashion capitals to keep abreast of changes and adapt accordingly.

For Retail Therapy, January in New York Makes the Best (Budgetary) Sense

It seems like January is the time to come to New York.  At least according to British journalist Graham Boynton who writes in The Daily Mail.  Even though one might initially be put off by the weather there at this time of year, actually the skies can be bright blue and one would thus be able to take a beautiful stroll around Central Park.

As for the rest of the time, January really does seem to be the time to travel to New York.  With cheaper flights thanks to companies like Aer Lingus (offering substantial discounts on flights to the US, reducing prices on 3 million seats), and British Airways (£386 return) what better time to use those savings than with New York’s January sales?

The madness of December (Christmas and New Year’s) has abated and the streets and stores are pretty calm.  For retailers this is great as stores are desperately trying to lure customers in rather than sit home by the fireplace.  There are bargains galore in all the traditional haunts like Barneys, Bloomingdales and Madison Avenue.  Even if you don’t want to brave the weather you can enjoy the sales online from the comfort of your (reduce price) hotel room. There are many name brands that will pick up returns the next day if it’s not quite to your liking.

Of course, if you are going to travel to New York for some bargain hunting, be sure to take advantage of Broadway Week (Jan 16- Feb 14) which offers two-for-one ticket deals for many of the major shows.   And restaurants that are usually packed to the brim in December suddenly become very readily available for bookings and possible discounts too.



A Legal Alien? An English (Shop) in New York

tiesWho can forget that 1980s pop song in which Sting sang, “I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien, I’m an Englishman in New York.” Well it appears that now, almost four decades later, the oh-so-English store Drake’s is making its first presence in the Big Apple.

Drake’s – founded in 1977 by Michael Drake in London’s East End – sells its high end home-made scarves, ties, shawls and plaids to “high fashion boutiques and conservative tailoring houses,” throughout the European world. But now, it is coming to America.

It’s starting conservatively with a temporary store in NYC for an initial six months, and then, depending on sales, will be extended. Located at the old sandwich store, Olive’s, 120 Prince Street will now be the home to something quite different!

In other related news, Sears has just launched Showcase at Sears in order to bring in both European and Latin American brands to the American market. Many of these are for the first time. Zatchels and Hawes & Curtis are among the brands engaging in this. According to Apparel President at Sears Holdings, David Pastrana, what this is doing is giving Sears’ members: “access to fresh international trends, styles and fashions at an affordable price – and only found at Sears.”

New York Malls

mallClose to a decade-and-a-half following the 9/11 abhorrent attacks, the World Trade Center mall is set to open.  With an investment of $1.4 billion from mega property developer company Westfield, the center features 365,000 square feet of retail space. Of course this is great for the NY economy, since it is anticipated that almost 15 million travelers will visit the region next year, mainly to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the 1 World Trade Center Observatory.  Indeed, as Public Relations Manager for Aldo Footwear Company, Marine Jegard noted: “A lot of people are coming here every day. It’s the location of the future.”  And as the American Westfield’s COO, William Hecht noted: “The World Trade Center is a symbol of hope, opportunity, progress and perseverance.” Furthermore, Brookfield Place – which underwent a $300 million renovation at the World Financial Center – opened in March 2015 and is also adding to a thriving New York economy.

In other mall news in the region, the sale of the North Franklin Township mall was just completed.  Kohan Retail Investment Group purchased the 16th largest mall in southwestern Pennsylvania, making it the proprietor of 19 malls now throughout a variety of American states.  It was sold for $20 million.  According to their website: “Malls are evolving, and as time goes on they are no longer just a tent to house box stores and chains, but more local small- and medium-sized businesses of all stripes. arge spaces offer opportunity for fundraising events, festivals, farmers’ markets, miniature golf, dancing, concerts, banquets, theatre, and virtually any social gathering all under one roof with protection from the elements.”

Recently Courtney Reagan spoke about how today’s mall is trying to “ proof its stores,” by prioritizing anchor stores like Sears and J.C. Penny.  In addition, they are shifting the balance toward the opening of stores that Amazon can’t take over, focusing on industries such as: education, fitness, food, medicine and religious tenants. For example, 10 years ago, food and beverage made up a mere 5% of the mall’s retailers but today that has expanded to 30%.

So there are a lot of changes in the world of New York malls.  Mall shopping is evolving and New York is following suit.


Retail Education

The Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) New York recently hosted a discussion in conjunction with Dress for Success.® Business leaders and those in the retail industry discussed these issues as part one of a seven-part series of events at the end of last year. Career planning, maximization of career opportunities in Manhattan’s SoHo district were also the subject of the discussion.

Unseasonal Highs in Weather Impact Shopping Sales

fashionSince winter seems not to have arrived at its set time, department stores such as Macys and Nordstroms are feeling the burn. When they normally have shoppers lining up to try on their insulated boots and thermal coats, now the stores are empty. In the first half of December for example, Planalytics found that sales of women’s boots dropped by a staggering 24 percent in New York.

Because truthfully, who wants to be trying on winter attire in 65 degree heat?

Indeed, as CEO at The Gap, Art Peck pointed out, “October was the warmest October ever.” And he should know as The Gap reported a 3 percent decline in net sales in the third quarter.

However, this phenomenon has not spread to other consumer shopping patterns. At the start of the holiday shopping season in November, it was said that there was “enough momentum in the economy for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next week for the first time in nearly a decade.”

According to a US economist at Capital Economics, Steve Murphy, “it dismisses any concerns of a potential slump in household spending after some weakness in the last few months. Not that there is much doubt any more, but this supports the case for a rate hike by the Fed next week.” Even though there was a drop in consumer spending in September and October, now things are looking up, partly due to improved income prospects.

In addition to this, attitudes of consumers to buying major household items, “were the strongest since 2005,” although automobile purchasing-attitude did not follow suit.

These figures indicate that the Fed will raise its benchmark form near zero, something that hasn’t occurred since June 2006.

New York Business: Men’s Fashion Week

fashion-menFashion Week in New York has always focused on women. Now that is changing. A couple of weeks ago witnessed the first ever Men’s Fashion Week, featuring Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and many other big names in the industry.

While there has been menswear on show in the past at the New York Fashion Week, the city has never encountered a show dedicated solely to menswear. Although this has happened in other countries, most notably in Europe. But for the opportunity in New York, men’s fashionwear companies are excited at this unprecedented opportunity. Indeed, it was a phenomenal time for people to the lesser-known companies to get publicity for their clothing.

The reason the event took place is mainly due to the growing number of interest in selling fashion to men, such as the fact that according to NPD Group, clothing sales hit $60 billion plus in 2013 in America.