By  on September 6, 2008

f ever there was a time for interesting, distinctive and well-made clothing, itwould appear to be now. With the economy sputtering, it will take more thanbasics to get consumers to loosen their purse strings, and the price of agarment will have to be justified by its visible quality.

Falling oil pricesdid little to help retailers in August, as the majority reportedcomparable-store sales declines on Thursday for the month. Saks Fifth Avenue wasoff 5.9 percent, Nordstrom was down 7.9 percent, and Neiman Marcus  reportedcomps slid 0.4 percent. And yet, at the start of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week,optimism abounds.

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