All Articles Tagged "fashion business"
by Belinda Otas
In recent years, the African fashion landscape has experienced a rapid change that shows no sign of stopping. With designers who have honed their skills, a savvy generation of African bloggers, fashion journalists, websites and magazines, at no other time in history has there been this level of focus on what designers from the continent can do. The dominance of Paris, London, Milan and New York Fashion Weeks as the ultimate fashion capitals of the world is been challenged with over 7 fashion weeks on both sides of the Atlantic dedicated to African designers. From Dakar Fashion Week to Arise Fashion and Africa Fashion Weeks on the African Fashion calendar, the industry continues to grow and evolve in substance and strength.
It has not always been this way. Beatrice Arthur, of Ghanaian and Russian heritage, is the founder of B’EXOTIQ. Known to many as Bee, the designer can remember vividly just how much things have changed. “As a child, I recollect that going to a kiddies party wearing an African dress was a guarantee that the other kids would tease you throughout,” she said. “But over the decades, fashion in Africa has evolved tremendously. Our women can now opt for smart skirt suits and Hot short dresses or hot pants with halter neck tops. There’s more variety in terms of colours, patterns and textures. Our designers are getting more innovative and attention is paid to finishing and details. We enjoy the fabrics and clothing much more now and it’s no more synonymous with “not being modern.”
It is a challenging task to define what African fashion is, given that Africa is a continent of 53 nations with diverse people, cultures, traditions and sense of style. While Arthur says its “traditional African or contemporary garments made entirely or partially with African fabrics,” Dolapo Shobanjo, originally from Nigeria and co-founder of My Asho, a leading online retail outlet for African designs, gives a more complex view. “There’s no simple definition of African fashion. There’s a big misconception that it’s defined by African prints or tribal themes, but that’s not necessarily so. African fashion has its own aesthetic which is typified by the African woman who is so diverse and hard to define, strong and Amazonian. African fashion captures your attention. It’s bold, colourful and elegant and it’s international. It’s art.”
Huge price tags on designer jeans are commonplace, a sign of an era in which high-end denim is worn to communicate individual style. We can all remember when paying $50 for a pair of Levi’s was the average, and the vast majority of today’s market still consists of denim priced in that range. Yet, of the $13.8 billion jeans market, an elite 1% of customers are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for what used to be considered workman’s threads. These jeans consumers — known as the premium denim market — might be interested in knowing what goes into designer brands like True Religion and Gucci that can cost them $200-700.
In exchange for their steep investment, fashion-conscious men and women receive jeans with runway-inspired designs manufactured in the U.S.A. In addition to the higher overhead required to produce clothing in the United States, manufacturers add a tremendous markup to the costs of producing their lines — as much as 260%. The Wall Street Journal reports:
It costs about $50 to make a pair of Super T jeans, True Religion’s best-selling style with oversized white stitching, estimates founder, chairman and chief executive, Jeff Lubell. The wholesale price is $152, he says, and the average retail price is $335. Of course, plenty of these jeans sell at substantially less than full price. [...]
As with all fashion, a big part of the price of luxury denim is in the multiple profit margins taken at each level of production. Most any piece of clothing contains parts and services from potentially dozens of providers: from fabric and button makers, to designers and seamstresses, and wholesalers and sales agents. After all this, designers and retailers say the typical retail markup on all fashion items, including jeans, ranges from 2.2 to 2.6 times cost.
The detailed stitching on fancy pockets and funky metal rivets added by many premium jean brands are also rendered by hand in America or Mexico by workers paid far more than their Chinese counterparts. But don’t feel sorry for luxury denim manufacturers. They pass the cost of stylish embellishments right on to consumers. The result? Luxury jean makers receive a 40-50% margin of return on each sale, compared to 20% for regular jeans.
Of course, high-end denim sales are such a small fraction of the overall market that the larger profits garnered might seem necessary. The design expertise, expensive ad campaigns, and hand-rendering of details have to be paid for — and 1% of the market wouldn’t otherwise cut it without huge profit margins built into the prices.
But still, there is some evidence that premium denim makers are using the gullible desires of fashionistas to seem hip to turn a quick buck.
True Religion is planning the release of an even more expensive model than it typically produces called the Phantom, which will retail for as much as $375. At almost 400 bucks, the Phantom will actually lack all the involved embroidery of their best-selling jeans, costing more money even though the labor will be less. It is true that costs like raw luxury denim, which is produced in the United States by well-paid workers, might be a factor in such a steep price. But the fact is this company will be charging consumers more money to do less than it usually does for a similar product.
True Religion knows people will buy these jeans, because they are cool and new, and a fat price tag just makes them cooler to brand-conscious people. Exploiting that fact to make more money points to pure greed. And in America, greater profits are always their own justification.
(New York Daily News) — It’s time to meet the finalists. Six young, African-American designers have applied for the chance that could launch a career. Thanks to Harlem’s Fashion Row, three of them will present runway shows uptown on Sept. 16, during the next New York Fashion Week. And it’s up to New Yorkers to decide who makes the cut. ”We looked for people who have a very clear vision,” says Brandice Henderson, founder and CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row. “I wanted someone who had a picture in their head of the person they are dressing.” From 15 semifinalists, Hender son and her team culled the top six, evaluating portfolios and interviewing designers in person. In the end, three will make it to the runway, backed by a marketing push and a network of fashion industry know-how — all for free.
The image of a naked female phoenix straddling a naked Kanye may have been banned in the U.S. as the album cover for his fifth studio album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” but Kanye has decided to put the art to better use by launching a risqué line of scarf designs.
Under a partnership with M/M (Paris), Kanye created five limited-edition designs that were printed on silk ties set in gold lettering. The designs are based on the cover of his hit album, which was designed by artist George Condo. The nude portrait of Kanye and the female phoenix is one of the five designs that were commissioned for the scarves.
Only 100 of each of the five scarves were designed, and each edition was given its own name, which includes “Power,” the “Phoenix,” the “Face”, the “Ballerina” and the “Priest.” The scarves will be sold exclusively through M/M (Paris)’s website, and at the French boutique Colette for $364 U.S. retail, reports the Daily Mail.
This is the latest fashion project for Kanye who created a line of sneakers for Louis Vuitton in 2009, and the Air Yeezy sports show with Nike.
By Charlotte Young
Uyo Okebie has always loved everything fashion.
But two years ago, Okebie learned that the fashion industry wasn’t so kind to new mothers. Shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Okebie found herself searching countless stores for “cute” and inexpensive nursing bras. Her options were fairly limited.
“Everything I found was either boring and matronly or it was Hot, but too expensive and ill-fitting,” she said.
Displeased with those selections, Okebie wondered if other mothers shared her sentiments. After conducting her own market research with expectant and new mothers across the country, she discovered that she was not alone in her frustration. Okebie decided to address this problem by creating her own line of functional, Hot and affordable nursing lingerie; last year, she launched You! Lingerie.
Through her line, Okebie intends to remind women that they do not have to completely lose themselves once they become mothers. “I believe that just because you bring a life into the world, you should not stop being the person you were,” she said. “If you were stylish, a fashionista, or loved cute lingerie before becoming a mom, that should not stop just because you’re expecting or breastfeeding.”
Interestingly, the letters in “You!” also make up the letters of Okebie’s first name, “Uyo.”
A graduate of Duke University’s business school, and a former employee of Kraft’s brand management department, Okebie is determined to see her brand become a household name for expectant and breastfeeding mothers. It appears that she is well on her way to achieving that goal. So far, You! Lingerie has garnered loads of positive reviews. Okebie says the “mommy network” is to thank for helping to spread the word about her company.
“Once a mom finds a brand she loves and trusts, she tells all her friends and family,” said Okebie.
She adds that social media, blogs and mommy forums have all been a tremendous assistance in the company’s rapid growth. Since its launch, the company has sold products directly to consumers through the website and to maternity retailers across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The line has even been featured on NBC’s “Today Show.”
“There are so many new and expecting moms that have been looking for something like You! Lingerie,” said Okebie. “Now, they are so happy to find something that fills a void in the market.”
(AllHipHop News) Hip-Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa is jumping into the clothing business with the launch of the Zulu Collection with C1RCA Select. The Zulu Collection consists of sneakers and T-shirts. The pioneer has designed two sneakers, The Bambaataa Convert and the 99 Vulc.
By Brittany Hutson
Nowadays, when music artists get the itch to step away from the industry and dive into the world of entrepreneurship, it’s pretty much no surprise that their first venture is a clothing line. But according to Kristin Bentz, retail analyst and president of Talented Blonde, LLC, “the era of the celeb-designer is close to being over, if not already. When the recession hit, so many rappers/actors/personalities rushed to get licensing deals. So now we are overrun at retail with the remnants of rappers past.”
We collaborated with Bentz to critique some of hip-hop’s hottest lines that are still memorable today, not only for their sales, but also for their massive appeal to consumers and demonstrated business savvy on the part of the artist; as well as some of hip-hop’s less memorable brands due to high pricing points, an absence of solid promotion and mismanagement.
Here are Bentz’s picks for fashion lines that have been leaders in the artist-designer arena:
Russell Simmons was undoubtedly the pioneer of the celeb-designer phenomenon with the launch of Phat Farm in 1992, which combined the urban aesthetics of the streets and the preppy culture of the Ivy League for men. Successful lines such as Phat Farm are “established by tier one rapper/artists that truly have the star power and financial backing to hire superior management teams and designers, as well as [finance] multi-million dollar ad campaigns,” says Bentz. Another example the demonstrates Simmons’ business savvy and why the brand has lasted for nearly two decades was his decision to sell Phat Farm to the Kellwood Company in 2004 for $140 million. “Brands are sold to large publicly-held companies that know how to merchandise, manage and promote a brand much better than the celebs who own the company are able to.”
Tags:50 cent, apple bottoms, baby phat, beyonce, Billionaire Boys Club, celebrity brands, celebrity fashion brands, Diddy, eve, fashion business, fetish, fetish by Eve, g-unit, house of dereon, jay z, kimora lee simmons, marc ecko, nelly, pharrell, phat farm, Rocawear, Russell Simmons, Sean John, sean john macys
Here at The Atlanta Post, we profile a lot of hot, up and coming, African-American designers. It’s a business that many aspire to be apart of and considering that clothes never go out of style, it’s easy to see why so many creative entrepreneurs want to put their own spin on the infinite industry of apparel. While it’s simple to understand that you need talent and passion to break into this arena, what’s not so apparent is the amount of business acumen and stamina needed to penetrate this saturated market.
Inc.com recently did a story on the real challenges facing aspiring designers and brandmakers, which touches on the importance of addressing legal, market, and manufacturing concerns. So getting a good accountant and good attorney are very necessary for healthy business development according to consultants interviewed in the article.
To learn more about incorporating your fashion label, building a production model and hiring advisers, continue reading at Inc.com.
(Black Enterprise) — Yesterday, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicked off in its new home, Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park in New York City. The event draws tastemakers, editors, onlookers, and buyers to witness the hottest in design industry talent. The semi-annual fashion events, formerly at Bryant Park, draw more than 230,000 attendees every year and generate more than $770 million in economic activity in New York City, according to reports.
(BlackVoices.com) — Singer Macy Gray has decided to jump back into the fashion industry. The artist has revitalized her fashion line for plus-size women called “Humps.” The line will be released next year. Gray put out a similar clothing line in 2008 that didn’t sell very well, but she claims that she has been “re-inspired” since her appearance at the Esprit store in New York City earlier this month.