Category Archives: News

Is High Fashion Dead?

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I have said it for a long time now, High Fashion is Dead.  Not that there are not some loyal die hards but the push to a more comfortable trend is emerging.

Recently, Amancio Ortega, founder of fast-fashion label Zara, briefly usurped Bill Gates as the richest man in the world, a shift that would seem to point to the fact that people are more interested in copping the latest runway trends on the low than ever before. However, according to Polyvore, a website that combines the social media aspects of Pinterest with online shopping (and searching for things to shop), says that users of its site, as well as parent company Yahoo, searched more for athletic labels like Nike and Adidas than any others this year. In fact, Zara was just the 10th most searched label, and the only fast-fashion label to crack the top ten.

Just last year, Topshop ranked #1, but this year, was just 35th. H&M, #2 in 2014, and fresh off a high-profile collab with Balmain, ranked 27th.

This info on it’s own hardly heralds the downfall of fast-fashion. If the videos from the Balmain x H&M release are any indication, people are straight-up going insane for some high-design at low prices. But, the results do point to the fact that as time goes on, sweatpants, hoodies, and a whole lot of spandex seems to be the aesthetic people are searching for—whether or not they’re actually wearing them to the gym. Nike stock is currently at an all-time high of $132 per share. Just today, reports came out that Adidas exceeded its online sales projections by $100 million. And even smaller brands like John Elliott, Stampd, and Yeezy are pushing guys towards wearing sweats over suits. After all, what’s a better investment? A simple tech-y sweatshirt you can wear to brunch, the gym, or brunch after the gym for years to come, or a printed polyester jacket you inherently know is only going to last you a season at best?

Farewell to an American Style Icon “Ralph Lauren”

After 5 decades of leading an American Revolution in design and style, the man himself “Ralph Lauren” is stepping down.  Ralph Lauren Corp. said it has hired Stefan Larsson, the global president of Gap Inc.’s Old Navy division, as its chief executive, putting in motion a succession plan for one of fashion’s biggest companies.

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Ralph Lauren, who will turn 76 on Oct. 14, has been the chief executive and lead designer of the company since he founded it 48 years ago and built it into a global luxury brand. While handing over operational duties, Mr. Lauren will remain at his company as executive chairman and chief creative officer.

In an interview Tuesday at his Madison Avenue office, Mr. Lauren stressed that the change wasn’t about him stepping aside, but rather about bringing on a partner to help take the company to the next level.

“The company has to change,” Mr. Lauren said. “It’s a public company and we have a responsibility to have the right leadership.”

Mr. Larsson, who is 41 years old, had been in his role at Old Navy since 2012 and is credited with helping revive sales at the casual apparel brand. Previously, he spent 15 years at fast fashion retailer H&M. He will join Ralph Lauren and its board in November.

The move to reach outside for a CEO shows how Ralph Lauren, which had $7.6 billion in sales in its latest fiscal year, is attempting to shore up its business after sales and profits have sagged this year. The company’s share price has fallen about 44% this year through Tuesday’s close, erasing nearly $5 billion in market value.

Mr. Lauren said he had been thinking about bringing on new management for several years. He was introduced to Mr. Larsson through an executive recruiter and the two met face to face for the first time “a while ago” over dinner at Sette Mezzo, an Italian restaurant in New York City.

“We connected in five minutes,” Mr. Larsson said. “Ralph surprised me by being so focused on growth.”

The appointment marks the latest changing of the guard at a big American fashion house. Donna Karan stepped down from the company she founded earlier this year. Oscar de la Renta passed the baton to designer Peter Copping in October 2014 before he died. In those cases, the CEO role was held by an executive.

Mr. Lauren said he isn’t going anywhere. ”I’m excited about my business and I’m not leaving,” he said. “I’m taking on a partner.”

Mr. Lauren’s son, David, who is an executive vice president and was considered by some investors as a potential CEO successor, said in a news release: “I’m excited to welcome Stefan to our team and I look forward to working closely with him.”