Today’s Fashion Headlines: December 31, 2012

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Top Gift from 2012?

In spite of some rough financial times as recent as last year, Uggs have somehow managed to top the list of the most searched-for presents in 2012.

According to data agency Experian Marketing Services, Ugg brand managed to beat out hot holiday commodities like Kindle Fire, iPad, Beats by Dre headphones, and even Barbie to score the top spot under America’s Christmas trees. So maybe lining up outside the Ugg store has become some sort of yearly tradition?

Night at the Museum: Fashion Style

In French, mannequin is used to describe flesh-and-blood models; in English, it means the artificial dummies used to display clothes. Rarely do the two mannequins exist side by side but they will in an upcoming exhibition at the Les Docks space of Paris’ Musée Galliera, Mannequin—Le corps de la mode (”Model: The Body of Fashion”). The exhibition traces the development of the model throughout time, much as the Costume Institute’s 2009 show, “The Model as Muse,” did, and includes both physical mannequins (in the English sense) and photographs by Horst P. Horst, Juergen Teller, Corinne Day, and Nick Knight.
Excess Denim Finds a Way
While fashion missteps frequently contribute to surplus, denim brands are seizing control of their excess through carefully planned off-price selling, strategic online placement, skilled inventory management and expansion into outlets. The result is that true denim excess in a post-recession world is harder to come by, while excess overall is becoming more prolific, programmatic and profitable.
Denim brands’ excess, traditionally 5 to 10 percent of sales, has jumped to 20 percent and occasionally runs as high as 30 percent, according to Koral, making it a significant part of a vendor’s business. Half or more of this is made specifically for off-price retailers as “special makeup. “Excess is a function of how much you are not going to lose, where special makeup is revenue- and profit-driven,” explained Richard Koral, founder and chief executive officer of Jessica’s, the Los Angeles-based company that assists apparel makers’ off-price efforts.
Off-pricers are buying merchandise made especially for them or developing their own private labels to fill stores. Last year, TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz said in USA Today that 85 percent of what’s sold at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls is purchased directly from the manufacturer. During Saks Inc.’s second-quarter earnings call, ceo Stephen I. Sadove divulged that private brands at Off 5th currently account for 25 percent of its revenues.

Bermo’s McDougal said, “A lot of discount people are walking into showrooms and cutting…because there is less desirable product out there for us to buy. That is happening a lot more in the off-price market.”

Goods are made less frequently for online flash-sale Web sites, but these sites are dabbling in special makeup as well. Adam Bernhard, ceo of Nordstrom-owned HauteLook, told WWD earlier this year that 20 percent of its merchandise is so-called planned excess.

- Taneisha Jordan
Sources: WWD; Refinery 29
Photo: WWD
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