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Jeremy Langmead leaves Esquire for Mr Porter

The Esquire editor, Jeremy Langmead, is to leave after three-and-a-half years to take a new role at the online menswear website Mr Porter.

Langmead, who has edited the National Magazine Company-owned monthly since March 2007, will be replaced on an interim basis by deputy editor Dan Davies.

He has been hired by Net-a-Porter Group to take the new position of editor-in-chief of online retail site Mr Porter.

Esquire was one of the shining lights of NatMag’s mixed bag of circulation figures in the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulation report, with sales up 10.3% year-on-year in the first six months of 2010.

“I’ve loved working at Esquire for the past three years and have felt extremely proud to be at the helm of such an exciting, creative and innovative brand,” said Langmead. “I am sad to go but I leave Esquire knowing that it is in the capable hands of a passionate, brilliant and hard-working team. I am confident that it has a great future and will grow from strength to strength.”

Davies will take on the role of acting editor from 8 October until a replacement for Langmead is found.

Source: The Guardian

Asos to cut kidswear

When most fashion businesses were struggling with the recession, internet phenomenon ASOS evolved from a company duplicating celebrity-inspired products to a trend-setting label bought by celebrities such as Rihanna and Kate Hudson. Effectively selling to its key demographic – a generation that expects a quick online experience, affordable prices and easy purchases as a matter of course – ASOS gained the ability to empty our bank accounts each month.

As Kate Carter put it: “At the current rate of growth, we will be living in the People’s Republic of Asos by 2020.”

However, news today has shown that even ASOS are not immune to the harsh business environment and have made the decision to cut its kidswear label – Little ASOS – at the end of the year. ASOS, which sold kidswear brands including Ralph Lauren and Little Joules alongside its own-label collection, said it would drop the category to allow them to focus on growing its adult business.

ASOS product and trading director Rob Bready confirmed to Drapers magazine: “As part of a continued focus on building the adult fashion area of the business, ASOS will cease trading its kidswear division at the end of 2010.

This will enable the company to focus its resources of both the team and infrastructure into the key growth areas – trend-led product for a fashion-driven customer between 18-34 years old.”

ASOS debuted kidswear on its site in 2008 but the branded market has since suffered declines at the expense of fast-growing own-label kidswear offers, particularly from the value sector and supermarkets.

New York Fashion Week to feature first plus-size only runway show

US website OneStopPlus.com, a web-mall for plus-size women, will produce the first ever plus-size only runway show during New York Fashion Week on 15 September.

To be staged at The Atrium in Frederick P Rose Hall at the Lincoln Centre, famed curvy models, such as Lizzie Miller, Tocarra Jones and Emme, will walk the runway in the brands Spring 2011 collection.

Stephanie Sobel, President of OneStopPlus.com said, “The recent confluence of events and energy within the plus-size movement makes this the perfect time for OneStopPlus.com to debut at New York Fashion Week. Top plus-size models like Crystal Renn and Lizzie Miller in Italian Vogue, French Elle, Glamour, Marie Claire, and others, validate that this is the magic moment for plus sizes.”

OneStopPlus.com is a pioneer in the ever-changing fashion industry, proving that the 62% of American women who are plus-size can also experience the high-fashion lifestyle.

Zahir Babvani, VP of Design of OneStopPlus.com says, “This show is a collaborative effort to provide the extraordinary community of plus-size American women with the uncompromising style that they have always deserved but never received. It’s about inclusion and fashion democracy: fashion risk-taking and empowerment. No more seeing what you can’t have; this is a fashion party that invites and inspires everyone.”

The Future Imperfect

Promoting themselves as the newest trend blog, The Future Imperfect, run by Luis Rubí and Davinia Arias, see fashion as painting a blank canvas.

“Starting from there,” they say, “we have built this site, The Future Imperfect, where we are going to develop and explain, from the very beginning to the very end, our vision of future concepts, perceptions and ideas. Here you will find a place to understand and adapt to yourself, the canvas you paint every morning.”

While the trend predictions aren’t probably the most accurate – or closer to season then most forecasting sites – The Future Imperfect is actually a really cool styling blog. Personally, I think they should focus more on this as the couple clearly have a very unique, individual style, which has so-far seen plenty of layering and contrasting materials and patterns.

The Secret Arcade

A new concept in online shopping, The Secret Arcade showcases a selection of independent British e-tailers under one virtual roof.

Inspired by 19th century Parisian shopping arcades, mother and daughter team Samantha and Denise Allan – creators behind award-winning site The Shop Floor Project – have designed a new website based around how we shop in “real-life”. Designed to look like a virtual tour, seven passageways lead off from the main entrance, taking visitors past an array of shop windows, from antiques children’s furniture, a modern haberdashers and a row of perfumeries.

The website was created to make visible niche e-tailers who are generally lost in the vastness of the internet. The creators say, “The Secret Arcade is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on those special shops and offers online shoppers a unique experience to unearth hidden little gems without having to trawl through hundreds of soulless directories.”

Each week The Secret Arcade News section will focus on one of the shops and recent news regarding events running up to Christmas – you can sign up to the blog here or read the press catalogue

I Like My Style

At work today I was sent an e-mail about the newest social networking phenomenon ilikemystyle.net. For those of you lucky enough to have access to WGSN, check out the report: http://www.wgsn.com/members/youth-market/bitesize/ym2010aug10_092637

User generated, ilikemystyle connects those who, as they put it, “share a passion for fashion and style; for the beautiful and the ugly; the chic and the ridiculous”. The individual uploads images of themselves in various outfits which can then be tagged with information about the product, such as where it was bought, the designer, the fabric type and the time of purchase etc. Each image is then logged and archived into the network allowing others to look, like and comment on it. It’s Facebook for the fashion lover.

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The Guardian launches online fashion store

I read on Drapers that newspaper group, the Guardian News & Media, has launched an online fashion store. Guardianfashionstore.co.uk links the newspaper’s fashion editorial content and allows Guardian and Observer readers to browse over 150,000 products, featuring 2,000 brands and retailers including All Saints, Whistles, French Connection and Browns.

I decided to go on and have a look around; it might have talked me into spending £30 for an umbrella. But it’s a Lulu Guiness bird cage umbrella! Ok, I have no self control.

Anyway, I thought the idea was quite clever, when readers want to buy a product they’re linked to the retailer or brand’s website to complete the transaction, so nothing is really done through The Guardian, other than browsing. The site has been created in partnership with LynkU.com, a fashion shopping search engine which displays products for online and bricks-and-mortar retailers. It’s a good idea if it will promote independent labels and give the opportunity to new British designers to sell their work.

Rachel Dixon, life & style editor for guardian.co.uk, said: “I’m really excited about our fantastic new fashion store, which stocks fashion and beauty products from hundreds of great labels – from exclusive designers right down to familiar high street names. Now readers can buy the products recommended by our writers with the click of a mouse, or read about the latest trend and find the look in store in moments.”

Net-A-Porter head office relocates to Westfield

According to Retail Week, luxury fashion etailer Net-A-Porter is to move its head office to shopping centre Westfield London.

The retailer, which runs the online shops (and website of torture to every poor fashion student) Net-A-Porter.com and fashion outlet website theOutnet.com, will occupy a unit located above the Luxury Village.

Net-A-Porter chairman Natalie Massenet said: “We are very excited about the possibilities presented by our office move to Westfield London. It is a fitting location and a substantial space that will allow us to increase our organizational capacity and make real headway towards achieving our growth goals.”

Footfall at Westfield has exceeded expectations, pulling in 22 million shoppers; one of which was me when I visited the centre in November 2008 (it opened in October). I thought it was amazing; to those who haven’t visited I really recommend it just because it’s incredible to see the designer boutiques and high street labels together in one building. One minute you could be admiring Mui Mui, a minute later you could travel up the escalators and be in Topshop. I love it, and I genuinely believe it’s only in Britain where high street and high end would combine together.

Flannels adds fuel to Grazia promotion debate

Designer mini chain Flannels has inflamed the debate about out-of-season promotional activity after it launched a 25%-off promotion with women’s glossy Grazia, just one week after York indie Sarah Coggles ran a similar 30%-off campaign with the magazine.

Flannels, which stocks brands including Paul Smith London, Luke and Vivienne Westwood and has 11 full-price multi-brand stores in key shopping locations such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham, took part in a wider Grazia promotion this week, joining high street stores such as Warehouse and Wallis in offering readers a 25% discount between October 13-21. In addition to offering the discount in its shops, it also gave shoppers a code to use on its website.

Last week, Sarah Coggles was lambasted by rival indies for offering 30% off more than 200 brands on its website, which the indies said had damaged the sector and harmed their own sales. Several indies remained incandescent that two of the leading multi-brand indies were discounting so early in the autumn season, particularly via their websites.

According to Drapers, Grazia does not charge retailers and brands to take part in its promotions. Instead, it uses them to drive newsstand sales of its magazine, which has a weekly circulation of about 228,700 copies.

Jan Shutt, owner of Sunday Bestin Rawtenstall, Lancashire, said she could understand the temptation of taking what was effectively a free full-page ad in Grazia, but added: “Where does this all end? This might be a quick fix for some retailers but it could change the shape of retailing forever. Why would anyone buy anything from a store if it can be bought cheaper online?”

Rhona Blades, co-owner of five-store north-east indie Jules B, added: “Everybody has to think cleverly but this is just wrong. This kind of behaviour is leading the industry nowhere.”

However, the attitude of some indies to the discount strategies had softened this week. One rival to Flannels said: “It’s a minefield out there and retailers have to take a realistic view. Each retailer needs to do whatever they need to do to keep their business healthy. No multi-brand retailer would choose to discount because the margins are so small, but the mild weather just isn’t shifting stock.”

Sarah Coggles angers rivals over Grazia promotion

Found on Drapers, designer independent Sarah Coggles has angered its market rivals after launching a 30%-off promotion across its Coggles.com website in women’s glossy magazine Grazia.

Premium indies including Sunday Best in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, Newcastle upon Tyne-based Jules B and Emporio Clothing in Worcester, have lambasted Sarah Coggles owner Mark Bage for offering the discount on more than 200 brands – including Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and Nicole Farhi – for two weeks until October 12.

The trio of indies baulked at the level of the discount, and the high-profile ad and cover line – Grazia sells about 228,700 copies a week. They claimed the promotion hit their bottom lines and reduced customer demand for new season autumn product.

Indies generally do not discount outside of the traditional Sale periods during the year, but they have seen their market share eroded by recent heavy discounting by multiple department stores.

“I was horrified to see this from a reputable retailer,” said Rhona Blades, co-owner of Jules B, which sells brands including Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and Twenty8Twelve. “It’s an approach that is bad for the industry and the repercussions have been phenomenal. Sarah Coggles has offended colleagues in the industry.”

Bage defended the move and Sarah Coggles’ reputation as a retailer with a strong track record where promotional activity is concerned. “We rarely do promotions and that hasn’t changed,” said Bage. “We had to break one of our own rules and it was a one-off. I thought long and hard about it and came to the conclusion that if any other indie was in my shoes and Grazia said ‘you can go on the front cover’, they wouldn’t have turned it down.”

Paula Jauncey, owner of Emporio Clothing in Worcester, which sells Paul Smith and Joseph, said: “It was cavalier and we are furious. Customers have started bargaining with us and the designer ethos then becomes market trader.”

It is understood that a number of brands involved in the promotion asked to be withdrawn from it following calls from angry stockists.

The boss of one brand involved said: “Part of me feels ‘good on him’, and the other part understands why people are irate as it’s not ideal to set a precedent. It’s a gamble unless you’re a massive department store and you can get away with it.”

Sunday Best owner Jan Shutt added: “There is a gentlemen’s agreement when it comes to RRP. It’s good to make a stand to address this.”

Oh dear. Yes, this practise is unethical but on the plus side, discounted designer clothes anyone?