ATLANTA--Upper-end, high-fashion fabrics, rather than basic commodity goods, have become one of the strongest growth areas for Burlington Industries, according to George Henderson 3rd, president and chief executive officer. "We're differentiating ourselves with better fabric for women's wear, rather than trying to compete in the rat-race competition going on with discounters such as Wal-Mart," Henderson said in a speech here at a luncheon meeting last week of the Atlanta Textile Club. "We're concentrating on fashion, with value-added products." For example, Henderson said, in February Burlington launched Esenzia, a high-end fabric collection of worsted wools, viscose blends, gabardine and novelty piece-dyed products aimed at women's and men's domestic designers such as Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Anne Klein. The collection marked Burlington's initial foray into the upper-end, designer apparel fabric market. Henderson told the 80 executives attending the luncheon at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center that he is "most excited" about the potential for growth in apparel fabrics, due to beneficial trade laws and retailers' increasing savvy about maintaining proper inventory levels. Henderson emphasized Burlington's commitment to production in North America, sourcing close to the marketplace. "Under [the North American Free Trade Agreement], the trend toward growth in North America will accelerate," he said. "We want to be like the produce department of a grocery store. Fashion items with a seasonal limitation need to be sourced nearby." He cited government statistics on U.S. garment imports from Asia, which decreased from approximately 63 percent of the apparel business in 1984 to 33 percent in 1994. Mexican and Caribbean Basin Initiative imports, however, grew from 6.5 percent in 1984 to 25 percent in 1994, he said. Burlington's exports were up 30 percent in 1994, he said, partially the result of recent acquisitions such as Bacova, Bacova, Va., a $40 million printed rug manufacturer. "We're buying expertise that we don't have," he said. In a question-and-answer session, Henderson was asked about the rising price of raw materials such as cotton, wool and polyester--a major concern of many of the luncheon guests. "While prices have escalated, we see a better understanding between mills, manufacturers and retailers in the past year," he said. "[Price increases] are probably a two-year chapter in a book." As reported, Burlington's biggest polyester-using fabric division, Burlington Klopman, said Thursday that due to the rising cost of polyester, it was withdrawing all product lines from sale to reevaluate pricing. At the time, Gary Welchman, president of Burlington Klopman, said Burlington would notify customers of any changes by the end of this week. Henderson said that while Burlington had concentrated on survival in the late Eighties due to a leveraged buyout in 1987, the company had begun growing, after going public in 1992, by building exports and developing high-fashion fabrics. "The structure of the industry is changing due to pressure at retail," Henderson said. "There are too many stores and too much floor space. Everyone will be forced to concentrate on a particular consumer focus." He cited Ann Taylor as an example of the successful niche marketing to which all industry players should aspire. With the increasing sophistication of information systems, he observed, management has a responsibility to get information into the hands of people throughout the company, rather than restricting it to upper management. "Management should become more like coaches than bosses," he said.
@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