Archive for 29 July 2008

Swedish Flower Power

It may be that the Dries Van Noten engineered floral collection for Spring 2008 has influenced a floral revival of sorts. Celia Birtwell has a small collection at Express, Liberty prints are still climbing the fashion charts…could we be looking at a full-on Laura Ashley revival anytime soon?

 

Dries van Noten Spring 08 rtw collectio

Dries van Noten Spring 08 rtw collectio

The floral theme has successfully “branched out” into many of the newly released textile and wallpaper collections, pushing aside the many seasons of stripes, dots and damasks that have dominated for quite a while. In mid-September Sandberg will be launching Gloria, a collection of nine patterns that features four very striking florals. Here’s a sneak peek at these new wallpapers.

Gloria

Gloria, above is a blossoming vine pattern available either as a full-color print,
as shown, or a tone-on-tone outline.

Boris

Boris is a stylized floral that borrows a bit from Arts & Crafts
and a bit from the ’70s in seemingly equal measur
e.

 

Francis

Francis is a striking single-color leaf pattern that feels ever-so-slightly retro.

 

Heidi

Definitely a statement wallpaper, Heidi fills the space with multi-colored blossoms. 

 

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29 July 2008 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

COM Disaster: Project Runway, Season 5, Episode 2

 

I watched this episode live, with Deb and was interesting to hear her take on it in real time. First, she complained and I completely agree, that there wasn’t any discussion about what qualifies as a “green” fabric. Lots of model/clients chose silk or a silk-hemp blend (hello teams Ugly Brown Fabric!) but what about those particular fabrics qualifies as “green.” It’s never clarified and it give the impression that anything from a “natural” fiber source can be considered green, which is completely misleading. For example, the tulle that Suede used in his winning design, what was that made of? Inquiring minds want to know! Even if they couldn’t have fit that info into the episode, Bravo could have posted the details on the “Rate the Runway” section of the site.

 

 

Suede’s dress from "The Grass is Greener” episode

Suede’s dress from "The Grass is Greener” episode

 

 

It was also interesting to how the clients as buyer’s resulted in so many of the same mistakes. Not buying enough fabric (there was more than one ultra-mini on that runway!)  Not buying appropriate fabric. Not buying fabric appropriate to the constraints of the challenge (satin is difficult to work with, especially on very tight time frames). These are all issues that any designer or workroom who deals with COM has had to face.

While I didn’t particularly like Suede’s design, as it looked very mall girl 1987 to me, I did appreciate how he took the generic cream silk and transformed it into something else. Kenley’s solution to the cream silk was also well-conceived, with minimal seaming that might pucker or pull, and using the inherent stiffness of the fabric to create the oversize collar. I also thought Terri’s design was well-done, although the navy fabric did nothing to flatter the model and Jennifer’s relaxed, full-skirted dress was a welcome change from all the hoochie-mama looks on the runway. As for the rest, the least said the better, because this challenge resulted in some seriously ugly garments. (I’m talking about you too, Mr. Team Ugly Brown Fabric, with your tacky, Bob Mackie-wannabe peacock dress.)

 

Kenley’s dress from “The Grass is Always Greener” episo

Kenley’s dress from “The Grass is Always Greener” episo

 

 

Terri’s dress from “The Grass is Always Greener”

Terri’s dress from “The Grass is Always Greener”

 

 

 

 

Jennifer’s dress from “The Grass is Always Greener”

Jennifer’s dress from “The Grass is Always Greener”

 

 

Jerrell’s dress from “The Grass is Always Greener”

Jerrell’s dress from “The Grass is Always Greener”

Oh, my team scored a big, fat zero this episode, but at least I didn’t lose any points. On my team for this week: Stella, Leanne and Jerrell, not because I think they’re the best designers, but because I think they can score me some points!

29 July 2008 at 1:45 pm Leave a comment

The Long View

The economy is shaky, expenses are up across the board, and it may seem like you’re at the mercy of forces beyond your control. But it’s YOUR business, so take charge and think strategically about what internal decisions you can make to position your company for ongoing success.

The first thing most of us think of is cutting costs, both within your operations and in terms of your price to clients. But before you make a cost-cutting decision think about how that decision may affect your business once the economy recovers. So go ahead and cut costs, but only if sure it won’t negatively impact your business later.

One time-tested way of cutting costs is to “make do and mend”, a phrase that was used frequently from the time of the Great Depression––and no, I’m not making a comparison ;)––all the way through WWII. Both money and materials were in short supply, so “make do and mend” was how businesses and households managed. 

I think this is great advice to apply to your marketing efforts. It may seem counterintuitive, but marketing during down cycles is a great way to get ahead. Many of your competitors may be slowing or stopping their marketing, which leaves the field wide open for you; and you may be able to get better rates from your marketing partners at this time.

Ideally, you’ve been tracking your marketing efforts and know which techniques work best for you. Take a closer look at those tactics that haven’t been as successful as you’d hoped. What can you do to fix or adjust them to increase leads and sales? If you can’t think of anything reasonable, now is the time to eliminate that concept and devote your time and money to those that work.

Take a few hours to review the techniques and tools that are working for you. Could your website use a new section or a new look? Is it time to add some new products or services? Should you change some of your key product benefit points to help close more sales?

It’s often said that marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s the support system for your business and needs to be kept running smoothly, every month, no matter what the economic forecast may be. Because like fashion, economies run in cycles, and though there will always be lean times and boom times, the goal for your business is the long view…and to be able to deal with all types of economic realities.

29 July 2008 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment


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