By Rosemary Westwood - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 0 Comments
Bangladesh disaster raises tough questions about cheap clothes
Before last week, Loblaw’s Joe Fresh was known mostly as a hot spot for cheap, stylish clothing. Few customers likely cared how the clothes were made. That all changed with the deadly collapse of an eight-storey factory complex used by the retailer in Bangladesh. Nearly 400 people are dead, and the owners of the complex—and the factories within it—that was reportedly built without proper permits, have been arrested on charges of negligence. Bangladesh’s government has vowed to inspect every manufacturer in the country.
By David Agren - Monday, January 14, 2013 at 9:48 AM - 0 Comments
Slim, stylish, and—in case of an emergency—a shield
Colombian fashion designer Miguel Caballero dresses world leaders, the rich and famous and even royalty, with his slim and stylish bulletproof garments. Now the man known as the Armani of bulletproofing wants to outfit a new and unlikely clientele: schoolchildren. Capitalizing on the fears of parents after the slaying of 20 first graders in Newtown, Conn., Caballero recently launched a new line of children’s clothing under the MC Kids label. It includes bulletproof T-shirts durable enough resist a Mini-Uzi, reinforced puffer jackets that weigh only five pounds, and a backpack that doubles as a shield.
Caballero says he’s no opportunist, just responding to demand—albeit reluctantly. Over the years, he’s received repeated requests for kids’ clothing from clients in Asia and the Middle East, but always refused, “because I believe that minors should not be part of the conflict.” But the Bogotá-based designer does big business in dangerous places, including his native Colombia, where former president Álvaro Uribe wore bulletproof guayabera shirts, and Mexico, where he opened an outlet in the capital’s posh Polanco neighbourhood. Now he has America’s parents lining up.
By Anne Kingston - Monday, January 14, 2013 at 9:33 AM - 0 Comments
The casual clothing brand is extending into the upscale market
Fashion’s mania for mixing “high” and “low”—evident in Sharon Stone’s pairing of a white Gap button-down shirt with a Vera Wang skirt at the 1998 Oscars—has become business reality with the Gap Inc.’s $130-million purchase of upscale women’s retailer Intermix Holdco Inc. The partnership furrowed a few Botoxed brows, but generally was viewed as win-win—an extension of the Gap’s move into the multi-brand, premium arena initiated with its 2010 purchase of Piperlime.com. It gives the Gap a needed toehold in the luxury market for overseas expansion, as well as access to the fashion-forward savvy necessary to compete against Zara and H&M. The plan is to expand Intermix, which will be run by existing management, well beyond its 28 North American stores. We won’t ever see an Intermix next to every Gap, but bank on seeing its high-end patina deployed for the masses who shop at the mothership.
By Rosemary Counter - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 1:40 AM - 0 Comments
The working man’s department store rebrands itself to chase a female demographic
Indifferent shoppers might not notice, but look up: Mark’s Work Wearhouse, the massive Calgary-based clothing retailer best known for it’s firm grasp on the working-male market, is now just Mark’s.
“Research showed that although the name grew us into an enormously successful business, it was limiting our growth,” says Wendy Bennison, vice-president of operations. After 35 years, 380 stores and counting, and a $166-million price tag when Canadian Tire bought it in 2001, Mark’s is rethinking its identity. “The words ‘work’ and ‘wearhouse’ over our door were creating misconceptions about the brand,” says Bennison.
The massive reinvention is now in “full rollout mode.” It began in a 26,000-sq.-foot flagship store in Edmonton, proved similarly successful in Winnipeg and Ottawa, and is moving further into Ontario this fall with 60 updated stores. One of the largest rebrands in the Canadian retail landscape in years, it includes store redesigns, new merchandise, a national marketing campaign and the name change.
By Gustavo Vieira - Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9:50 AM - 0 Comments
The ill-looking, underage models who have been setting the standard of beauty in fashion…
The ill-looking, underage models who have been setting the standard of beauty in fashion magazines for decades have been banned from the pages of none other than Vogue magazines.
Starting in June, the 19 editors of Vogue fashion magazine worldwide have agreed to work only with “healthy” models. The pact also includes banning models under the age of 16. Editors will ID models to ensure they are older than 16 and will make the call whether a model appears to have an eating disorder.
From the New York Times blog, On the Runway:
In a somewhat unusual announcement, unusual in that the magazines are wading into a controversial issue, the Condé Nast International chairman, Jonathan Newhouse, said on Thursday, “Vogue editors around the world want the magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the well-being of their readers.”
For decades, fashion magazines have been criticized for upholding an unrealistic standard of beauty, and even more so with the widespread use of digital retouching that often results in images of models and celebrities that have no basis in reality. While Vogue editors like Anna Wintour, of the American edition, and Franca Sozzani, of Italy, have participated in recent efforts by the Council of Fashion Designers of America to promote healthier behavior in the modeling industry, the magazines have not typically issued their own standards.
By Emma Teitel - Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 12:05 PM - 0 Comments
Models will now have to provide proof they are in good health
Israel may not be the first country to express concern about malnutrition in the fashion industry, but it is the first to actually outlaw it. Last week, the Knesset passed a law that prohibits the employment of underweight fashion models and demands that all models seeking work in the Israeli fashion industry provide their employers with a recent medical report confirming they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards.
And that’s not all: according to the new law, any ad made for the Israeli market that uses photos in which models have been digitally altered to look thinner must include a disclaimer indicating the alteration. Supporters of the new law say they want to raise self-esteem among young women in Israel, where approximately two per cent of girls between 14 and 18 suffer from severe eating disorders.
Adi Barkan is an unlikely supporter of his country’s new law. As a well-known modelling agent, he says he’s seen numerous girls starve themselves to achieve an unrealistic industry standard. “They look like dead girls,” he says. He estimated in The Huffington Post that about 150 Israeli models would be prohibited from working under the new legislation.
By Julia Belluz - Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
A blog launched by Calgarian Imran Amed has become a must-read for fashion industry executives
When Imran Amed, a Harvard Business School graduate and former management consultant with McKinsey & Company, saw a gap in reportage about the fashion industry, he decided to launch a website called The Business of Fashion. “Most of what I was reading online focused on the individual—what they wore, what they liked—or there was commentary on what celebrities were wearing,” says the London, U.K.-based Calgarian. “There was nothing about the industry itself.”
Now Amed—who grew up on a steady diet of CBC’s Fashion File—has become the self-styled Tim Blanks for the digital generation. Some 90,000 people follow his Twitter posts, which are also republished on the New York Times website and Style.com. He has more than 100,000 monthly visitors to his website, including the executives of some of the world’s biggest luxury goods companies. Nadja Swarovski, creative director of the billion-dollar crystal company, is a follower, and so is Oscar de la Renta CEO Alex Bolen, Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet, and the chairman of Condé Nast International, Jonathan Newhouse.