NEW YORK -- As expectations for home shopping platforms rise and fall faster than hemlines, some companies have come to the conclusion that low tech, rather than high tech, is really the cutting edge.
Interactive broadband television, once the grail, has lately come under fire for being overly hyped and unavailable until at least the distant future.
Online services such as Prodigy, once maligned for their lackluster graphics, are now being embraced as a mode of interactive shopping that consumers can use now with little trouble.
QVC is developing an online shopping service, Q Online, for launch in 1995. The company sees online technology improving and envisions a format that looks more like a magazine or catalog than a typical computer screen.
HSN Products, a subsidiary of Home Shopping Network, has signed a letter of intent with Prodigy to develop an online shopping service by fall that will offer products ranging from housewares to fashion and jewelry.
Jeff Gentry, president of HSN Products, said the shopping service will have color photos of products and a system whereby people can communicate with show hosts and celebrities by typing messages back and forth.
The company intends to offer interactive shopping through all the online services and Internet, a conglomerate of networks. In addition to the computer and television, the telephone is another potential shopping platform.
U.S. Order, based in Herndon, Va., has been testing its ScanFone, a "smart phone," in partnership with Bell Atlantic, Ameritech and Sprint in Washington, Detroit and Philadelphia, respectively.
ScanFone works like this: U.S. Order asked 20 catalogers to put bar codes in their catalogs, representing the price of each item. Customers use a scanning wand connected to the phone to order products.
PhonePlus, launching this fall, is the next generation of a smart phone. It replaces the scanning wand with a computer keyboard -- attached to the phone. It has a photo screen, so users can see what they've typed, and a credit card reader so consumers can swipe their credit card through for payments.
PhonePlus has a universal catalog ordering system, which means a consumer can pick up any catalog and type in an order, said Scott Corzine, vice president of market development for U.S. Order. The order goes to Litle & Co., which processes it for the catalog company.Corzine said that the company, for a limited time, will give customers $2 every time they order through the smart phone. The company charges customers about $12 a month to use the phone.
Corzine said that eventually, merchants will be able to send consumers messages via the phone.
But financial transactions are where the big money is. Corzine said that over $100 million in bill payment transactions have passed through the system. By comparison, only 4,500 catalog orders -- the orders averaged $62 -- were placed last year.
"Shopping won't be a profit center, but its a nice piece of icing," he said.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion