Menswear: Make it new, but not too new

I was reading Peter Gay’s “Modernism,” an ambitious overview of the concept in culture and the arts, when I came across an interesting quote by the Swedish-American modern artist Claes Oldenburg: “The bourgeois scheme is that they wish to be disturbed from time to time, they like that, but then they envelop you, and that […]

Topman’s New York Debut

I’m not really sure yet what to make of Topshop’s – or more specifically Topman’s – entry into the U.S. market. It will be big though. Topshop and Topman will be opening in October on Broadway in SoHo with a 40,000 square foot, four story U.S. flagship. As is typical in retailing, the menswear will […]

Responses to the MDFA Story

My response to Ray Smith’s Wall Street Journal article (read it here) about the Men’s Dress Furnishings Association yesterday, a blog titled “What Will it Take to Get Marty Staff to Wear a Tie?” generated its own set of responses. Richard Arutunian, the MDFA’s former historian, sent me an e-mail saying, “The two neckwear manufacturer’s […]

What Will it Take to Get Marty Staff to Wear a Tie?

Reading Ray Smith’s article about the demise of the Men’s Dress Furnishings Association in the Wall Street Journal this morning, I was appalled at the following comments from the executives of two tie producing menswear companies: “We make ties for other people so we don’t have to wear them,” says [Vineyard Vines] co-CEO Ian Murray, […]

The Last Days of Macy’s North

It seemed like the Macy’s machine was unraveling as it held on to its nationwide uniformity and then fired thousands of local executives and buyers while boasting that it had a new plan to bring more targeted buying to the hinterlands. And then they stopped reporting monthly sales figures. So it was no surprise when […]

NYPD Chic, Chinese Suits and More Bow Ties

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a News Reel column – partly because I’ve been so busy with other work here and partly because most of the news out there hasn’t been so positive. Without a constant stream of notable menswear news out there, I’m reluctant to resurrect it as a regular feature. […]

A (Relatively) Cheery Seminar on Tough Times

This week’s “Keeping and Gaining Market Share in Difficult Times” seminar sponsored by Emanuel Weintraub Associates at the Princeton Club had an excellent panel of speakers. The apparel and retail executives addressing a crowded wood-paneled banquet room spent the morning in remarkably good cheer: Hartmarx’s Homi Patel was confident that with slow (not drastic) change, […]

Will Economic Stimulus Checks Hit Retail?

Sears Holdings is telling the public that it will add a 10 percent bonus gift card to anyone who would exchange their full federal stimulus check into a Sears or Kmart gift card. But will taxpayers actually use the money for retail? And with an estimated 13 million taxpayers filing for extensions, when will retailers […]

Press Days at Brooks Bros. and Canali

Amid all the scrambling to finish our April issue, I’ve had occasion to visit two very different menswear firms during events held specifically for the press. I love these events, if only because they get me out of the office and away from the never-ending deluge of quarterly reports and retail sales figures. Neither Brooks […]

You Want Different? Zubaz, Hammer Pants and Jumpsuits Are Back. Sort of.

We always hear that the menswear business needs newness. That retailers and consumers alike are crying out for something different. But what happens when we actually get it? Gentlemen, may I present three of the newest ideas the menswear industry has: Zubaz, MC Hammer pants and Jumpsuits. What’s the matter? Not new, you say? Or […]