Alan Sealove, president of Victoria Royal, is shifting focus to international markets. And with the struggling U.S. economy and the weak dollar, he's advising everyone else to do the same.
The New York-based company was started by his father, George Sealove, in 1955, and is now owned by Alan and his brother, Elliot Sealove. The company produces the Victoria Royal eveningwear line; Mary Bays, contemporary day dresses, and Hayden, a day-into-evening collection.
This spring, with sales of just under $30 million, the company discontinued selling to U.S. accounts, and is now producing only private label and special orders here. Victoria Royal will now focus on expanding its European business, which previously represented 20 percent of sales. With 80 stores, mostly in the U.K., business is growing, as retailers look to U.S. lines as a bargain given the weak dollar. Plans are to expand sales for Victoria Royal, which wholesales at $199 to $299, and Hayden, at $150 to $299.
Sealove said that multiple challenges, including casualization, competition from Internet discounters and the current economic and retail climate, had made business in America too tough recently. At its peak, the line had 500 specialty store accounts, but he lamented the demise of independent specialty stores, which couldn't compete with big-box discounters and the Web.
"There are fewer fine clothing stores today, and more jeans stores," he said. Sealove doesn't buy the old idea of special occasion dressing as a "recession-proof" category.
"With the exception of mother-of-the-bride, when the economy is bad, people will make do with last year's dress," he said. Despite widespread challenges here, the potential of the European market is encouraging, said Sealove.
"Buyers find the value attractive and there's less of a bargain, discount mentality in Europe. Stores are less cautious and less affected by discounters and the Internet," he said. He said day dresses had been bright spots in the U.S. during recent tough times, and are a growing category in Europe, especially in cotton prints. The eveningwear brands offer a range of looks, from contemporary short cocktail styles to beaded ballgowns.
In March, the brothers launched Sealove Consulting, a firm that targets women's apparel manufacturers, including start-ups, to help them establish global sourcing and sell to stores in Europe.
“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
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye