This research topic has been one of the most impactful and important topics to continue to discuss in the industry. I first heard about the garment district and the issues of overseas production when I watched a documentary on HBO called, “Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags”. This documentary told the story of an iconic district in the fashion capitol of the world and how it is barely holding on to exist due to the influx of overseas apparel production. I learned that over eighty percent of production is “Made in China” vs anywhere else in the world. Many brands known for their “American” appearance, are manufactured overseas because of the low cost of production. For example, a pair of Ralph Lauren jeans can cost anywhere from $100 - $200, but to manufacture the pattern in China and the fabric in India, etc. It costs just under 1/3 of the jeans retail value. So of course it makes sense for a business to find the lower cost of production to sell at a higher demand because the value in return is greater.
There are a few government agencies that protect the garment industry. The most notable ones are the CPSC and the FTC. The CPSC is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the FTC is the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The CPSC regulates the sale and manufacture of thousands of different consumer products. They are held responsible for banning any products that can be deemed as dangerous to consumers. The FTC is every designer and business own’s best friend. This government agency’s mission is to protect the consumer and the brand from trusts.
I think having government legislation and agencies, has protected the garment industry - but it has not helped in maintaining the industry in the U.S. Such supportive and non-profit organizations like “Save the Garment Center” have played the role as activists to promote american manufacturing. They have taken the lead in starting the conversation of developing “Made in America” goods. They have been effective in the U.S. thus far, due to their feature in the HBO documentary and their continuous protests in New York City. The following video shows this protest of fashion supporters, designers, executives and politicians all joining together for a great cause http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MkoOniGbw.
The most effective organization overseas is the CNGA, which is the China National Garment Association. The CNGA supports over 100,000 manufacturers and about 10 million employees in the Chinese garment industry. Just those numbers, say enough of why they are sustainable organization in the garment industry worldwide.
The only advantage of overseas production to the consumer, is that you are sometimes paying less. A shirt “Made in China” can be similar to a shirt “Made in Italy”…but the quality is different and usually not what the brand says they are selling. NBC did a great cover of going to Grand Central Station and asking random strangers to check the labels of their clothing. Everything from belts to jeans, to “Abercrombie” t-shirts were “Made in China”. The reporter spoke to a German couple who said they come to the U.S. to buy “American” brands. They all laughed when the reporter said they flew to American to buy a product from China. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/MadeInAmerica/made-america-clothes-clothing-made-usa/story?id=13108258
To conclude, I think these businesses who have violated some laws, and have created false product are still in business because we the consumers, are still buying in to them. There were a few articles where I read that companies overseas are running illegal factories “under the table” without designers and executives even knowing a single thing that goes on in their production. If we are supportive to good quality, to creating jobs in our countries, we should probably start showing our support by joining such organizations like “Save the Garment District” or just shopping for brands with authentic manufacturing.
I LOVE this song, LOVE this video. xoxo
I wanted to start out by saying that I am a vegetarian and have been for over fifteen years. So this topic is one that I am very passionate about because I support the movement of protecting animals and banning fur. After spending the day researching various articles and discussions on this topic, there were a few headlines that caught my attention.
West Hollywood, CA has become the first city in the nation to ban the sale of fur apparel. This is so interesting and ironic, because of the town. Many celebrities and socialites live in West Hollywood and are in the public for supporting fur or protesting it. Such celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, etc. are known for displaying their fur obsession. This particular ban targets many high end retailers who made a lot of profit selling fur to such clients. I was proud to see that this ban has been effective and will hopefully continue throughout the nation and the world.
One of the most supportive anti-fur designers is Marc Bouwer. He has created a business and shown numerous collections with faux fur. The peta organization partnered with Bouwer during fashion week to showcase his collection of faux fur. Many celebrities attended his show in support of his stance with peta. His main argument is that today, with so much technology you do not need to use real fur to show a design. When you look through his collection, you see luxe and glamour in the faux product that looks identical to real fur.
Like I stated in the beginning, I’m a vegetarian. Even before then, I was never supportive of using fur for clothing. My grandmother grew up in the generation where fur was glamourous and seen on so many women. She collected fur and wanted to carry it on from generation to generation. But I never saw the beauty in the product. It’s sad reading through the peta website and looking at videos of how fur products are made after innocent animals are killed. It just isn’t worth losing a life for, just for a “look”. I would love to create a collection that is organic, eco-friendly and animal-free! With so much innovation, it is definitely do- able!
Visit www.peta.org for more information and to show your support!!
Crowd sourcing is a very controversial practice in the fashion industry. For the past couple of years, it has gained a popularity amongst fashionistas. Such sites like Threadless and Etsy have been mentioned at least once in every blog…and with high regards. This new way to promote creativity, small businesses and also easy funding has lead to both good and bad opportunities.
The public has reacted with outpouring of donations for crowd funding sites supporting charities, volunteer work and more. Everyone has that friend who becomes a sponsor in a marathon and rallies on their social media network to gain funds to be able to participate in charitable functions. Then we have the fashion blogger turned designer for a month, when they design a few ideas and sell them on Threadless. Threadless sells custom designed t-shirts, sweaters and even phone cases.
I personally like Etsy because of the easy access to unique items and also the user-friendly business start up system it has. I started selling a few headpieces after a friend asked me to design for his wedding. After receiving feedback from his wedding party that I should start a business, one of the first sites that came up on my research was Etsy.This site has over 800,000 businesses. Some are just as successful as a small flagship store.
Even though I think crowd sourcing is beneficial to small businesses. I do think it is hurting the fashion industry. Before, you had start up designers work from scratch and have to network in order to find someone to sell their product. Now anyone can start a business online and make a few dollars just as fast. This loses the passion and dedication a designer has for fashion. Anyone can “pretend” to be a designer and sell a t-shrt on Shapeways versus having a recent fashion grad student from Parsons work hard to design and create their own materials.
I don’t think crowd sourcing is a gimmick or a great marketing strategy. I just think it is a new trend and practice for this generation of the industry. Ever since smart phones came out, we have turned into a fast paced society. So crowd sourcing has turned into this eighty miles per hour fashion idea that is thought of and then created and then sold so fast. It will be interesting to see how this will effect retail and established brands.
When I think about branding and a fashion business that has been successful and also failed a few times, I think of Jennifer Lopez. Lopez began her career in the late 1990s as a dancer/actress and pursued a music career which then skyrocketed in business ventures. She is currently number twelve of the top grossing celebrities and is number thirty-eight of Forbes’ most powerful women. Jennifer Lopez was one of the first and most successful celebrity turned fashion mogul to launch in the millenium. Her business first began with the launch of J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez which was suppose to be a small clothing line that would “do well” over the holidays. That brand expanded into a full lifestyle brand in 2001 and then the following year Lopez made a genius move of launching her first perfume, “Glow”.
Jennifer Lopez’s target market from the beginning was young and older women - mainly hispanic and urban. Her market and influence expanded as did her popularity in the entertainment industry. To this day she is one of the most powerful and highest paid Latin Americans in the world. When her clothing line first launched, the line was accessible in department stores which appealed to most middle class Americans. Lopez’ perfume line, music, movies began to appeal to all markets including men. In 2012, she partnered with then husband Marc Anthony to launch correlating collections with Kohl’s department stores. This collection is one of Kohl’s highest and most successful brands to date.
It is obvious that Jennifer Lopez started to develop her brand when she saw there really wasn’t a “celebrity designer” in the market that was doing really well. We’ve heard of Kathy Ireland, Martha Stewart, etc who all developed successful brands. But there was really no clothing brand by a celebrity that was able to grown and target a wide range of markets like Jennifer Lopez has been able to. She saw there was time to make profit on her success from movies, music and most recently judging on American idol.
Creating products and developing an image is what I think Jennifer Lopez exemplifies at its best. She has created successful businesses after a few failed attempts. There has been celebrity followers who have done well, like Justin Timberlake and Gwen Stefani. But they have not reached the profit and continued success at the level of the Jennifer Lopez collection.
Photo by George Chinsee
Marc Jacobs is leaving Louis Vuitton as plans take shape for an eventual public offering for the Marc Jacobs brand.
The applause that rang out this morning from the vast tent in the Cour Carrée of the Louvre signaled the end of Jacobs’ tenure as creative director for the storied French house and the official beginning of Jacobs’ IPO preparation. For More
Fashion runs the economy. It is smart to think about the comparison of the fashion industry vs the government’s role in the economy. We spend money when the economy is at its best, we spend less when the economy is suffering. These practices are evident in everyday activities like shopping, going to the movies, traveling, etc. You can notice the effect of the government in the economy when we are in stores and see discounts in the window displays instead of full priced merchandise.
Fashion is good for the economy as we spend more, more job opportunities are created. Consumer’s invest in this billion dollar industry like tycoons invest in oil. A great example would be the success and failure of fragrance companies. Jennifer Lopez was one of the first celebrity designers to launch a successful fragrance line. Then there were followers like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and actress Kate Walsh - who’s fragrance line hardly made a presence in the industry. So fashion is good for the economy because it’s an ongoing roller coaster of opportunity.
Fashion cycles are similar to recession cycles because they correlate with each other. World events, politics, money, etc. all influence the economy and are state in recession. Think about the past three years when there was the foreclosure crisis in the US and a lot of Americans lost their homes, jobs and the prices of goods like milk skyrocketed. That effected the economy and we were close to a recession. Fashion businesses were not able to manufacture as fast as usual because consumers were not shopping. Retailers saw the lowest numbers in the holiday season that they ever have seen.
I believe I am a consumer entrepreneur because I research fashion and love to breathe it. Shopping to me is not able spending money, but by living a new cycle every season. I spend money on fashion because I love to be exposed to new innovations and I feel it’s a way for me to show support to the industry as long as it keeps giving back to me with new creativity.