The apparel and textile business blog from Katie Smith
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John Lewis bags top retailer award
03 May 2013 08:37
Department store operator John Lewis has reclaimed its title of the 'UK's best retailer' after its online sales passed the GBP1bn mark earlier this week - a year ahead of schedule.
John Lewis scored highly on its service and product quality. The company was followed by Bonmarché, who retained second place in the Verdict Customer Satisfaction Index rankings. In terms of clothing companies, Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) came third.
Verdict director of research & analysis Maureen Hinton said: "John Lewis swept the board this year coming top in all its main product categories, including for the first time, clothing.
The department store, which has also launched a new web platform, said it has seen an unprecedented pace of online growth, with online sales rising more than 40% in 2013.
just-style takes an Easter break
28 Mar 2013 17:22
We're heading off for the Easter break here in the UK, which means there will be no site updates or email newsletters on Friday (29 March) or Monday (1 April).
We'll be back at our desks bringing you the latest news and insight from the global apparel and textiles industry on Tuesday (2 April).
just-style editorial team
How skinny can jeans get?...
21 Mar 2013 17:03
...so skinny that teenagers will feel like they're wearing nothing at all, according to American Eagle Outfitters.
The teen apparel retailer has launched a campaign for the AEO skinny skinny, which is described as its "skinniest jean yet" because it comes straight from a can. American Eagle Outfitters claims that "one size fits all" for the jeans, which are available for a limited time only in Indigo and bright light.
But when customers visit the product online, they may be disappointed to find out that the spray-on jeans are temporarily sold out and will be asked to enter their email address to be updated on when the AEO skinny skinny jeans become available.
So what was the reason behind the spoof ad? A way of redirecting people to the company's e-commerce store possibly and adding them to its mailing list?
One thing we're sure of though is that if it was meant to be an April fool's joke - it's a week and a half too early.
UK: Tesco unveils F&F virtual mirror
27 Nov 2012 12:55
UK retail giant Tesco has launched virtual changing room mirrors in three of its stores.
Shoppers will be able to try on clothes without wearing them by using a virtual mirror.
CIO Mike McNamara demonstrated Tesco's latest digital innovations at a company conference, claiming they will "transform retail over the next few years".
Brands and retailers praised for organic cotton uptake
15 Oct 2012 13:10
Apparel brands including H&M Hennes & Mauritz, Nike, Anvil Knitwear, Patagonia and Gossypium have been recognised for increasing their use of organic cotton.
Non-profit group Textile Exchange said their collective work has resulted in safer environments for cotton farmers and improved market access for organic cotton.
Textile Exchange said increasing the demand for organic cotton results in reduced water use, the elimination of artificial pesticides and fertilisers and improving the health of farmers.
"These brands and retailers are helping to drive the demand for organic cotton. As a result, every step of the supply chain has benefited," said LaRhea Pepper, managing director of Textile Exchange.
The brands were given 'Future Shaper' awards at the Sustainable Textiles Conference in Hong Kong on 4 October.
British manufacturing success stories
04 Oct 2012 14:30
Against a backdrop of continuing talk among retailers, brands and importers of sourcing more garments from the UK, British manufacturers and industry groups have teamed up to showcase the best of "Made in the UK".
British brands including Johnstons of Elgin and Peregrine will promote their fashion products, including textiles, men's tailoring and footwear at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills' office in Westminster over the next two weeks.
UKFT chief executive John Miln said: "This is a fantastic way for us to proudly show off what our industry can do right in the heart of London where tourists and government will be passing every day.
Meanwhile, Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "We have some excellent businesses in this sector with British manufactured fashion in demand around the world. This showcase is a further demonstration of the breadth of our manufacturing base here in the UK."
The British Footwear Association (BFA), Designer-Manufacturer Innovation Support Centre (DISC) and the British Fashion Council (BFC) have helped with the event, which has been organised by the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT).
Managing director of Johnstons of Elgin last week said manufacturing in the UK is successful through innovation, good quality and production flexibility. He was speaking at a conference on the issue organised by the Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI).
Fifth & Pacific to sell shares on Facebook
24 May 2012 12:23
Clothing firm Fifth & Pacific Companies, formerly Liz Claiborne Inc, is to start selling its shares on the social network website Facebook - a move that will let consumers buy stock in just 3 clicks and with no fees.
The customer stock ownership plan (CSOP) has been developed by Loyal3, which says the scheme "provides access for the 82% of Americans who are not directly invested in companies." By eliminating transactional costs it also makes stock ownership easy and affordable for large numbers of first-time investors.
Chris Kelly, director of Loyal3 called it a "natural evolution of the social world".
Consumers will be able to purchase shares of the company via direct links on the Kate Spade New York, Lucky Brand, Juicy Couture and Jack Spade Facebook pages, as well as Fifth & Pacific's website.
Could this be the 'Ultimate LIKE Button' as Loyal3 claims?
For Fifth & Pacific CEO William McComb, its also a perfect tool to let shoppers express loyalty to brands. "We think this platform will help create a greater sense of community. This is simply a huge idea - what could possibly generate more loyalty than ownership?"
After recent dips in Facebook's share price, the social networking site's pre-market shares were up 1.37% today (24 May) to US$32.44.
St George's Day protests against A&F
24 Apr 2012 16:38
St George's Day - a celebration marking the patron saint of England famously slaying the dragon. The people of Chap magazine certainly celebrated in style - or at least they thought they did.
Armed with briefcases and their British tailored tweed suits, ties, hats and placards, the group of chaps and chapettes staged a protest yesterday (23 April) against teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch's plans to open a children's store on Savile Row, London.
The group started singing "All we are saying is, give three-piece a chance" adapted from John Lennon's original. Ironic really, considering 3 Savile Row used to be home of Apple Records, in which the Beatles gave their last concert on the roof in 1969.
The rain didn't seem to dampen their spirits but it did send them to the pub for a few drinks.
Abercrombie & Fitch didn't respond to requests for comment when contacted by just-style.
The group appear to be confident that Westminster Council will veto A&F's application to open the store and "allow it to remain the heartland of British bespoke tailoring".
We are what we wear
17 Jun 2011 16:05
Dressing well has personal, social and professional benefits according to findings from US retailer Men's Wearhouse "Well-Dressed Men survey".
Overall nearly two-thirds (63%) of Americans admit fashion is something they value. So it's no surprise that 70% of women compared to 55% of men own up to the importance of fashion in their lives.
The study revealed that 68% of Americans consider being well-dressed an important part of life. However, 79% of Americans aged 55 and older go for comfort rather than a sleek style compared to 66% of 25-54 year old participants according to the study conducted by Kelton Research.
Maybe that's why 23% of participants think that shopping for a suit is more intimidating than going on a first date?
Whether its for a wedding, interview or a new job, 94% of men have purchased a suit some times in their lives.
The clothes men wear also have an impact on our professional outlook as three-quarters (75%) of Americans think well-dressed men are more successful in the workplace than guys who are not dressed as well.
However, when it comes to shopping for clothes many see this as a necessity they have to get through, rather than a fun or exciting experience. Not surprisingly, more men than women (56% versus 49%) despise going shopping to fill their wardrobes.
Are women at risk by wearing high heels?
14 Jun 2011 15:00
Many women struggle to walk in high heels on a night out but others opt to wear flat shoes, which could be the safer option, according to recent research.
Between 13-16 May this year, the research was conducted online on behalf of The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists by One Poll amongst a sample of 2,000 men and women.
Wearing high heels regularly increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis, the research revealed. A quarter of UK women admit to walking in them on a daily or frequent basis. High heeled shoes alters body posture and increases pressure on the foot, ankle and knee joints.
"For daily wear, the recommendation is to opt for a round toed shoe with a heel height of no more than 2-3cm and with a shock absorbent sole to help minimise shock to the joints," said podiatrist and arthritis researcher from The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, Professor Anthony Redmond.
Research also found that over three-quarters (77%) of the participants admitted to not wearing footwear designed for the sport or fitness activity they participate in, running the risk of increased stresses and strains and developing injury and arthritis.
With over a third (36%) of people having a lack of knowledge about arthritis, people are not getting treatment for the condition, The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists said.
Maybe we should think about which shoes we want to wear before we go out, and not just whether the colour matches.