While I've exited Manhattan, I still
am actively engaged in the fashion
industry. Sadly theres been a plethora
of massive layoffs in the last weeks
including the theoretical retail icon
of J. Crew. Being slightly removed
from the morass has added clarity.
Now that I'm not so deep into it, I'm
able to step back and see some of the
challenges from a new vantage point.
The problem isn't the economy. Rather
it's all due to problems that our industry
itself created. You reap what you sew.
When's the last time you truly wanted
something new? To put it another way,
when did you don something old and
it looked unfashionable? Beyond basics
replenishment or subtle updating there's
little to no reason to buy something new.
The fashion industry is stuck in a rut and
hence has dragged us all down with it.
Things have changed since the days
when socialite Mona Williams Bismarck
(right) sobbed for three days post news
that Cristobal Balenciaga was retiring.
Today we're all BORED to tears.
More or less?
Many of us still thrill at the idea of
a new frock or pair of shoes. Yet at
this point given nothing seems new,
we have more than enough to wear.
Most have refocused on reorganizing
our massive walk in closets rather
than adding to the mound. Hence
thrift stores and resale shops are
chock full of castoffs that are still
in fashion. Often the only exciting
discovery is when someone bags a
fabulous vintage piece that suddenly
seems new again. DEJA VU?!
More for less?
For some quality trumps quantity.
If one invests in the proper togs,
there's little reason for anything
new. For others more is more and
happily apparel has only gotten
cheaper. Frankly most retailers are
literally giving it away. And while
some prefer too much of the same
thing, most of us have had enough.
No matter how low they go... we
may not be willing to go there.
When is somebody going to give
us a reason to buy something new?The bigger, the better?
The fact that everything seems to have
gotten smaller while most of us have
gotten larger doesn't help. In the quest
to modernize - even the most stalwart
fashion brands have simply gotten too
skimpy. Most of the big money is held
in the hands of fat cats like me. Yet if
or when we opt to indulge in updating
our wardrobes, the last thing we want
reinforced is our over indulgences. If
these struggling fashion brands simply
sized the situation up, they might make
some cash! Expand your business now!
For fashion victims like most of us
Boomers, times like these are rather
confusing. Our bodies have already
failed us so why are our beloved
designers abusing us with neglect?
One of the primary reasons that the
handbag and shoe business is so
strong is EVERYONE can wear
them. Hence when nothing fits...
the shoe does. Yet recently there
has been little news afoot. Thus it's
no wonder that there's nary a sole
in most shoe salons. STEP IT UP!
Please help yourself
Somehow, some way our fashion crisis
is going to have to fix itself. I doubt if
prices can go any lower given that every
village in the middle of a jungle seems
to have an apparel factory. And slowly
the natives are getting restless and...
raising their prices. Meanwhile brands
like Express are so desperate that they're
converting some of their mall locations
into "outlets." Slowly consumers have
figured out that if they simply wait...
they can have whatever they want for
next to nothing. Talk about rock bottom!
Is that all there is?
Frankly nobody seems to have a clue
nor the answer. Somebody is going to
have to do something that blows our
collective minds. It's happened before.
Whatever, whenever, however, only
a seismic shift is going to awaken us
from our stylistic coma. We've moved
on to better things. And so we travel,
dine, redecorate, and downsize. Could
it be that we boomers have reached an
end to our fashion cycle? Having been
there, worn that, only something truly
NEW is going to get our attention!