Sunday, February 20, 2011

Higher Commodity Prices Hit Fashion

One of the things that makes the fashion industry so great is the fact that it is global.  Ideas and people swirl around the world and normally it equals better fashion.  Well, it also equals higher prices.  Commodity prices have soared lately.

Fashion is the "textile industry"--I think they give it that name so that men in suits don't feel like they're talking about "womens' concerns", but that discussion is for another day.  The cost of your favorite new dress directly correlates to the price of raw materials around the world.  In the last 12 months, prices have skyrocketed.

Cotton prices are the highest they've been since the US Civil War.  In the 1860s, prices were so high due to war and blockade.  Now, it is a combination of ruined crops in Pakistan and Australia, coupled with growing demand around the world.  Higher demand plus lower supply equals higher prices.  That means your dress is going to be more costly.

Its not just cotton that is pricier.  Silk, leather, cashmere, fiber for synthetics, etc.... have all gotten more expensive.  Much of it is due to higher demand, transportation costs and in the case of vegetable fibers, failed crops.  One of the largest sources of the rising demand is China.  With the Chinese economy growing, the demand for garments and other textiles rises and so does the price of such things around the world.

What are designers doing about this?  Midlevel designers have been rethinking their collections so that they use less or cheaper materials, in order to not have to raise their prices.  For example, Luca Luca has been trying to order in bulk and use less fabric variety to keep the prices down.  But, they were far enough into their Spring 2011 collection to where they've had to eat much of the cost increases.  This is bad for fashion in the long term--when the designers become less profitable, it will be harder for them to survive changes in demand for their products and to invest in new talent and methods.  This means lower quality items with less innovation.  Hopefully next season Luca Luca will find a better way to deal with this than to eat the cost--it can only do that for so long before they'll have to fold, and then no more pretty dresses from them....

High-End designers are simply passing on the rise in costs to their consumers.  So, if you want high-grade silk to line your blazer, you better be prepared to pay.

Information from Wall Street Journal and Luca Luca runway photo from Style

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Huge Congrats to Narciss & Alise Trautmane!

One of my favorite up-and-coming designers is Latvia-based Narciss led by Alise Trautmane.  She knows what women want, and melds that Baltic/Eastern Europe sensibility with a good story and consequently consistently puts out designs that are beautiful & wearable.  I think this company is one to watch!

Well, Narciss was named DESIGNER OF THE YEAR for Latvia by the Baltic Fashion Federation!  I think it is a well-deserved honor for a designer that consistently does a great job.

To the left is a beautiful dress in her online store--its classic while being flattering and practical.  Its something the average woman could actually wear and not feel ridiculous.  It doesn't scream any particular season, instead it says "classic black dress".  I love it!

I can't wait to see the new collection that Narciss is putting out in February 2011!

Picture from NARCISS

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kat Graham + Filhas de Gaia = Questionable Judgement

I haven't seen a lot of great things out and about in the fashion world as of late.  I don't know, maybe I'm looking in the wrong spots.  One of these wrong spots if Kat Graham.

Ugh, she stepped out in public to the ASCAP Grammy Brunch wearing this horrible oneise jumpsuit thing by Filhas de Gaia.  I'm sorry, but it looks like some sad saggy-crotch getup she stole from the reject wardrobe pile of DALLAS.  I can't figure out why this is supposed to make her "aspirational" or an "IT Girl".  It makes me wonder instead if she doesn't own a mirror.  I'm so sad--the print is great and this designer does lots of great looks.

Filhas de Gaia is a great Brazilian designer that shows in Rio de Janeiro.  The Spring 2011 collection was full of great looks--super cute cocktail dresses and wonderful clothes for a woman of Kat Graham's age.  That's what makes me wonder so much at how she ended up in such an unflattering thing--she certainly had plenty to choose from.  *SIGH*  The world may never know.

Picture from WENN

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Inspired by Shoson Prints--Time to BE Spring!!!!!

I'm so sick of winter.  The cold, in particular.  I hate the cold, I hate the boring colors, I strongly dislike winter.  I'm so tired of being trapped inside!  I've found myself looking at Japanese Woodblocks and their beautiful images since a trip to a museum the other day and they make me look forward to spring like no other.  One of my favorites is this one by Shoson of cherry blossoms and birds, the ultimate image of spring.  I want everything to look like this right now!

Whenever I look at the Spring 2011 shows, I feel so annoyed.  Almost everything is black and white!  What's going on?!  Where's the color and celebration of being able to leave the house and wear something pretty without being swaddled in layers and layers of black coat?  Luckily, Dries van Noten had a few prints, and they remind me so much of Japanese woodblock prints.  The yellow is so nice, so warm!

The back of this dress is just delicious!!  I love it!  I want it both on a dress and a blouse!  The open back goes just low enough to be completely sexy and interesting but high enough to be able to find a bra to wear under it.  Dries van Noten is one of the few designers who is consistently unafraid of prints and this season, I'm so happy to see it.  I can just imagine wearing this on an early May day, out with friends.

This Spring 2011 Hanii Y dress just makes me sigh with relief!  Its not black or beige or white!  It looks like so much fun and thoroughly reminds me of the Shoson print.  Its got the same colors and captures that same spirit of warmth and beauty.  I love the shape, it isn't frumpy, and it looks like something that would be great to wear out on a Saturday when running errands.

I know I can always count on Tsumori Chisato for something colorful and happy!  This Spring 2011 get-up just looks so "spring-y"!  I love it!  All of the color and print just makes me smile.  The pink is that same pink in the Shoson print and just looks like candy.  What really makes this outfit are the shoes.  That little pop of yellow is the perfect finishing touch--like a warm vanilla sky sunset.

I'm so done with winter.  I want to wear a skirt and ballet flats and not regret doing so.  I want color and print and beauty.  I wish the world always looked like a Shoson print!

Runway pictures from Style and Shoson print from Ronin Gallery
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