By  on July 17, 2008

Like most of the apparel industry, the designer segment has its fair share of challenges in the second half of the year.

Disposable income isn't exactly bulking up wallets. Gas prices are well over $4 a gallon and rising, and the weak dollar against foreign currencies is continuing to give retailers importing European labels, and designers manufacturing in Europe, a major headache.

In addition, another season of largely dark clothes isn't expected to elicit much emotional response from shoppers, and the earlier-than-ever delivery cycle is unlikely to stimulate consumers who are increasingly trained to delay their purchases to early sales.

But not all is doom and gloom. A fresh breeze will also be running through a slew of venerable fashion houses that have new talent at the helm. The election year may have some shoppers filled with uncertainty, but others are hopeful that a new president — Republican or Democrat — will bring about positive change. And, of course, a new first lady is bound to carve out her own fashion and style niche.


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