NEW YORK -- While more or less upbeat about business next year, most ready-to-wear executives said the impact of the new Republican Congress on the overall business climate was still unknown.
Some said as interest rates rose, consumers would spend more on apparel and less on big-ticket items. Others said the quality and look of their products had more to do with sales than rising interest rates.
But, as Tom Murry, president of Tahari Ltd., put it, "Consumers' perceptions of the economy is more significant than the actual economy.
"There's a lot of talk about things like a cut in capital gains, and whether it actually happens remains to be seen," he said. "But if the consumer perceives she has more discretionary income -- whether she does or not -- she'll spend more.
"Interest rates will have a big impact," he added. "[Adjustable rate mortgages] and auto loans are all going up, and that will put a squeeze on discretionary income."
Conversely, R. Fulton Macdonald, president of International Business Development, a consulting firm, said the new Congress should have a positive impact.
"Republicans are committed to reducing taxes, and that will put more money in the hands of consumers," he said.
The overall economy is coming on strong, said Howard Bloom, president of Chetta B, but he was confused as to why the Federal Reserve Bank was rushing to raise interest rates and curb the growth of the economy. "I'm not scared of a little inflation, especially when you consider the alternative, which is less spending and more unemployment," Bloom said. "You really have to wonder why they're putting the breaks on the economy just as it's chugging along."
Jules Wachter, president of PSI/Bicci, said the Republican Congress would be good for the economy, and was expected "to give big business a break."
"That," he added, "will allow us to expand our business, too."
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia