This winter's weather has been erratic at best, but outerwear makers and retailers are playing up fashion and lighter-weight options to try to outsmart Mother Nature.
Weatherproof Garment Co. president and chief executive officer Freddie Stollmack said mild temperatures in September and October "really hurt" outerwear sales, but chillier temperatures kicked in in November and December. The company bought weather insurance as a safeguard — more commonly used by ski resorts and snowmobile makers — but Stollmack said he was "delighted" not to have to cash in on the policy.
Having an average retail price of $100 and designing more transitional pieces have appealed to shoppers, he said. The layering trend, which is especially popular among younger shoppers, has also helped business. Weatherproof has made a concerted effort to design more fashion-oriented pieces. That gels with its strategy of catering to women between the ages of 30 and 50 instead of 40 and up.
At L.L. Bean, holiday sales in all channels happened a bit later than expected, but were strong, and postholiday sales continue to be robust, according to a company spokeswoman.
In addition, the three new stores and the hunting and fishing store L.L. Bean opened last year have been well-received, she said.
This season's unusual weather — "record highs, record lows and record amounts of snowfall" — has kept the Freeport, Maine-based retailer, which also has a sizable mail-order and online business, on its toes. Offering free shipping from the beginning of September through Dec. 21, an incentive that is usually only offered to L.L. Bean credit card customers, helped drum up sales. Shoppers did not have any minimum purchase restrictions to qualify. In addition, last month the company offered $10 coupons for orders of $50 or more, which gave holiday sales a boost and some shoppers are using the coupons to make purchases this month, the spokeswoman said.
Outerwear sales at Searle have not been lagging due primarily to the fact the retailer is known to carry a healthy assortment at this time of year, said Rick Weinstein, director of sales and marketing. The fact that most department stores are getting ready for the end of the outerwear season only helps, he said.Perhaps anticipating last weekend's expected chill, shoppers on Thursday bought 10 Searle shearling coats, and Saks Fifth Avenue sold three more. Weinstein said, "They're buying the warmest of the warm."
Last winter, January and February were key months for outerwear, since that is when more seasonal temperatures kicked in, he said. "Those numbers may be tough to beat, but we're definitely poised to if the weather holds on."
Jeanette Nostra, president of G-III, noted there are more factors at play than the weather. The escalating price of fuel and the fallout from adjustable-rate mortgages are making consumers more cautious about incidental purchases, she said. "It's so hard to quantify. We have had quite a mixed response [from retailers]. There are areas of the country that are doing great like California and the Southeast, and other areas are struggling," she said. Despite this winter's erratic weather patterns, G-III's wool coat business was the strongest category for fourth-quarter sales. Kenneth Cole, Jones New York and Calvin Klein are among the women's lines produced by the company.
"What's happened is we're in the 'want' business, not in the 'need' business. If we create fashion they want, they buy it whether they need it or not," Nostra said.
At Macy's, senior vice president of coats Joyce Henry said wool was the strongest classification due to newness in styling and silhouette.
"Trenches, swing coats and novelty fabrications were among the best performers. Attention to detail and novelty trim coupled with alternative sleeve lengths offered the customer a reason to buy," she said.
Rainforest played up the fashion component in its first women's collection this fall. Kathy McCloskey, vice president of the women's division, said the collection is available in 100 specialty stores, and the company should generate close to $1 million in wholesale volume this year.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)