May market is shadowed by rising concerns among innerwear executives about the swine flu outbreak, which has many vendors on edge.
Although a number of manufacturers said they foresee few or no cancellations, there is a growing fear that retailers will postpone appointments for the holiday and early spring market as the number of swine flu cases increases around the world.
At press time, two vendors said they had cancellations, and many vendors said privately they were apprehensive about further withdrawals.
Along with the public health worries, there is the impact of the recession to deal with, as well as the absence of major stores such as the liquidated Mervyns and Goody’s. However, the market is anticipated to be active.
Guido Campello, vice president of marketing and innovation at Miami-based Cosabella, said retail chain Lane Crawford of Hong Kong and Saks Fifth Avenue in Mexico scratched their appointments on Wednesday. Campello said he would travel to Hong Kong and Mexico to see his clients.
“This won’t stop me from traveling,” he said. “I’ve traveled through the bird flu, the Anthrax scare, and been through 9/11. If we don’t work, we all fall down. But so far, we have the majority of our appointments booked, and we see it as being a busy market. I think retailers have cleaned out their stocks and will start to reorder.”
Asked what her plans were for conducting business at Saks Fifth Avenue in Mexico City, Mariana del Alto Alvarez de la Cuadra, associate buyer of intimates, said, “I am hoping to receive line sheets, and some vendors are offering to send samples so I can see the garments. We’ll be focusing on restocking bestsellers because of our sales projections, which have decreased by at least 50 percent due to the epidemic and the economic crisis. Stores and shopping malls are still open, and people are actually buying because they don’t have anything else to do. But we are preparing for the worst.”
Gale Epstein, co-owner and creative director for Hanky Panky, said, “We haven’t heard of any retail cancellations yet, but a couple of suppliers from the West Coast have canceled their trips to New York. If the situation worsens, we will be working more with regional reps and teleconferencing with major stores.”
Bob Nolan, president of Jockey International’s North America wholesale and licensing operations, said Jockey has not discussed contingency plans because the company previews new collections in advance.
“We preview a lot with the big stores,” Nolan said. “By the time product gets to market, we want to have it all buttoned up. If we didn’t have a market, we would have a team of people go out to see a Macy’s or a Penney’s. But we expect it will be a busy market, and we have all of our spring 2010 products.”
James Martino, chief executive officer of Denton, Tex.-based Russell-Newman, said, “Most of the major stores will be coming in, but let’s realize that we are talking about less stores because of closures of some stores, downsizing divisions à la Macy’s. We will watch for the progression of this [swine flu] situation. No retailers have canceled appointments yet. Any type of a health risk is a concern, but we are expecting most of the retailers to be at market. If the retailers do end up canceling, we will then have to get our product offerings to them in the most efficient manner.”
Bob Vitale, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Wacoal America, noted, “We’re tracking this issue closely, especially since we’re in New York. Our biggest concern is if it would affect our distribution facility in New Jersey. I don’t think things will change dramatically in the next few days, but if there is a major outbreak, how would it affect our ability to ship orders?”
Michael Herman, senior vice president of sales, merchandising and production at Natori Co., said it was too early to know how the market will play out.
“This is not a major sleepwear market for us, mainly bras for spring,” he said. “It will be a smaller market in part because there will be no trade shows, and because of the economy with people cutting back on travel costs. But I’ve got to believe there’s some concern over the swine flu. Whatever happens we’ll do what’s in the best interest of our employees and retailers. We’ll use phones, Fed Ex, faxes, video conferencing.”
Addressing how the Komar Co. would conduct market week business if the situation worsens, Greg Holland, president of the licensed Donna Karan sleepwear collection and executive vice president of sales at the firm, said, “We would continue to travel. Video conferencing is good but not as good as face-to-face meetings.”
Marcia Leeds, ceo of Richard Leeds International, disagreed over traveling during an epidemic.“If there is a danger in traveling and our accounts cannot come in, I’m sure they will understand if we cannot travel to them,” she said.
Seth Morris, president of The Carole Hochman Design Group said, “I think it will be a normal, busy market for us. Only Dillard’s is not coming in, and we plan to go to Little Rock the week after to work with them. The mood remains cautious with an emphasis on controlling inventories and managing risk by retailer and supplier alike. The consumer is still buying, but is more value driven than ever and needs compelling reasons to spend.”
Asked if he was concerned about a pandemic affecting market week, Victor Lee, president of Viceroy Collections, which distributes Myla and Shock Absorber, would only say, “Not yet.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye