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FEBRUARY 2019 | ISSUE NO. 2 | VOL. 30

FEBRUARY 2019 | ISSUE NO. 2 | VOL. 30

WARMING TREND Outerwear saves the season

THE INFLUENCER ISSUE

INSIGHTS FROM ITALY WHAT MAKES A GREAT TRADE SHOW? 4 BRANDS TO WATCH THIS SEASON

INFLUENCER INVASION Is this type of marketing the future of customer engagement?

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FEBRUARY 2019

CONTENTS

34

DEPARTMENTS Editor’s Letter 6

The art of turning challenges into opportunities.

Guest Editorial 8

David Katz says the retail apocalypse is fake news.

Industry Intros 10

A few industry movers and shakers introduce themselves as our new Advisory Board.

24

Ones To Watch 16

Four brands on the rise serving up creatively designed product you should consider adding to your store.

Scene 18

The best hotspots to check out while in Vegas and Chicago for market.

The Dealmaker 56

Allan Ellinger discusses the state of the industry.

FEATURES Pure Inspiration 20

Joseph Abboud on Madison Avenue: a store with a soul.

Store Spotlight 21

50

Weekends’ founder John Schopbach is toying with elevated streetwear.

20

Fashion 24

Actor Cameron Boyce shows off the latest trend in menswear: westernwear.

Is influencer marketing the future of customer engagement or a propoganda-fueled bubble?

The Cold Truth 42

Outerwear continues strong thanks to cold weather and cool fashion.

Social Commerce 48

How to maximize your investment on social media.

Modern Choices 32

Italy Insights 50

Before You Go 34

Show Time 52

How to buy contemporary sportswear the right way.

32

Influencer Invasion 38

Four must-have accessories to add to your fall ’19 buy.

A look at what’s coming for fall ’19 out of Milan and Florence. Menswear insiders on what makes a great trade show.

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FEBRUARY 2019

THE MENSWEAR INDUSTRY’S MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF KAREN ALBERG GROSSMAN  KAREN.ALBERG@WAINSCOTMEDIA.COM

CREATIVE DIRECTOR STEPHEN M. VITARBO STEPHEN.VITARBO@WAINSCOTMEDIA.COM

FASHION DIRECTOR STEPHEN GARNER  STEPHEN.GARNER@WAINSCOTMEDIA.COM

ART DIRECTOR VICTORIA BEALL

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR RITA GUARNA  RITA.GUARNA@WAINSCOTMEDIA.COM

ADVERTISING GROUP PUBLISHER SHAE MARCUS  SHAE.MARCUS@WAINSCOTMEDIA.COM

BRAND MANAGER MONICA DELLI SANTI

NATIONAL ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE KAREN AZARELLO

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES KRISTIN DAUSS, JESSICA SALERNO

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION & CIRCULATION CHRISTINE HAMEL

DIRECTOR, ADVERTISING SERVICES JACQUELYNN FISCHER

GRAPHIC DESIGNER, ADVERTISING SERVICES VIOLETA MULAJ

ACCOUNTING AGNES ALVES, MEGAN FRANK

ADVISORY BOARD LIZETTE CHIN PRESIDENT, MEN’S, UBM/INFORMA

BLAIR DELONGY VP OPERATIONS, JOHN CRAIG/CURRENTS

FRED DERRING FOUNDER, DLS OUTFITTERS

LINDSAY MORTON GAISER VP/GMM, ANDRISEN MORTON

DURAND GUION GROUP VP, FASHION OFFICE, MACY’S INC.

DONNY HUBBARD OWNER, HUBBARD CLOTHING

WILL LEVY PRESIDENT, OAK HALL

SHARIFA MURDOCK CO-OWNER/SALES DIRECTOR, LIBERTY FAIRS, CAPSULE, CABANA

JIM MURRAY PRESIDENT, A.K. RIKKS

BRUCE PASK MEN’S FASHION DIRECTOR, BERGDORF GOODMAN/NEIMAN MARCUS

BRUCE SCHEDLER VP, CHICAGO COLLECTIVE

WAINSCOT MEDIA CHAIRMAN CARROLL V. DOWDEN PRESIDENT & CEO MARK DOWDEN

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENTS SHAE MARCUS, CARL OLSEN

VICE PRESIDENTS NIGEL EDELSHAIN, TOM FLANNERY, RITA GUARNA, CHRISTINE HAMEL

SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR SUBSCRIPTION/CIRCULATION INQUIRIES, CALL: 201-573-5541.

OFFICES CORPORATE OFFICE 110 SUMMIT AVENUE, MONTVALE, NJ 07645

EDITORIAL OFFICE 1120 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS, NEW YORK, NY 10036

MR (ISSN 1049-6726, USPS 7885) IS PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES A YEAR (JANUARY, FEBRUARY, JULY, AUGUST) MR MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY WAINSCOT MEDIA, 110 SUMMIT AVENUE, MONTVALE, NJ, 07645. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT MAHWAH, NJ. AND AT ADDITIONAL MAILING OFFICES. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO MR MAGAZINE, 110 SUMMIT AVENUE, MONTVALE, NJ, 07645. SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES: TO CHANGE AN ADDRESS OR REQUEST A SUBSCRIPTION, WRITE TO SUBSCRIPTIONS, MR MAGAZINE, 110 SUMMIT AVENUE, MONTVALE, NJ, 07645; TELEPHONE: 201-573-5541. ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: CONTACT SHAE MARCUS AT 856.797.2227 OR SHAE.MARCUS@WAINSCOTMEDIA.COM. COPYRIGHT © 2019 BY WAINSCOT MEDIA, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. VOLUME 30, ISSUE 2.

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EDITOR'S LETTER

WHY I LOVE MENSWEAR We’re an industry of optimists, mastering the art of turning challenges into opportunities. It’s February and in honor of Valentine’s Day, I want to talk a bit about why, after almost 30 years of writing about menswear, I (like most of you) remain madly in love with this industry. First of all, there’s the excitement of new fashion offerings each season, and the thrill of victory when a look you’ve endorsed rings the cash register. Then there’s the joy of travel—new experiences, new friendships—and the pleasure of renewing old friendships at trade shows and conferences. There’s the

of influencer marketing (page 38): is it the future of customer engagement or a propaganda-fueled bubble? And don't miss Laurie Schechter’s close-up look at social commerce (page 48) and how to maximize your investment in the various marketing/selling platforms. (Did you know that men now spend 28 percent more online than women do?) Also in this issue are John Jones’ indepth look at the flourishing outerwear business (page 42) with tips to increase profits in this category plus an MR survey

“Menswear execs have an amazing ability to turn fear and uncertainty into determination and drive, while still having fun!” challenge of learning new skills—be it technology or creative marketing­—and the opportunities that arise from change, even disruptive change. And of course, there’s the amazing ability of menswear execs to turn fear and uncertainty into determination and drive, while somehow having fun in the process. In this information-packed issue of MR, we offer numerous features to help you navigate today’s precarious retail terrain. First, meet our new Advisory Board and read what each member has to say about current challenges and opportunities (page 10). Then find out what retailers and vendors suggest to improve the frustrations of shopping trade shows (page 52). Read Nancy Prentice’s fascinating analysis

shown with loose pants and thick-soled fluorescent sneakers? And are men really ready for Houdini-inspired leg straps?) Also in this issue, industry guru David Katz shares his top 10 business predictions for 2019, and MR profiles two inspiring stores (one multi-brand in Boulder, one vertical on Madison Avenue) with opposite approaches and interesting ideas to absorb. Wishing all of our readers a successful fall ’19 buying season, whether you’re shopping Paris, London, Milan, NYC, Charlotte, Dallas, Chicago or Las Vegas. Remember to keep on discovering, keep on innovating and keep on having fun!

and Christopher’s Blomquist’s analysis of contemporary sportswear and why the logo revival might not be the panacea it’s made out to be (page 32). Just back from Pitti Uomo and Milan, MR’s fashion director Stephen Garner writes about designers now bullish on tailored clothing, albeit worn in modern ways (page 50). (What’s up with those tailored jackets

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GUEST EDITORIAL

THE RETAIL APOCALYPSE: FAKE NEWS! The alchemist’s top 10 prophecies for what’s next in 2019. By David Katz, EVP Randa RETAIL APOCALYPSE WILL BE FINALLY 1THEEXPOSED AS “FAKE NEWS”

for mathchallenged, headline-grabbing media. While closed stores and lost retail jobs are painful and disruptive, they are not apocalyptic. Ecommerce will not eat brick-and-mortar for lunch. Online sales get the buzz, but brick-and-mortar gets the money. The vast majority of sales, over 85 percent, will continue to take place in brickand-mortar stores. And, in 2019, physical stores will contribute 50 percent of all retail growth.

2

THE RETAIL INDUSTRY WILL SLOW DOWN IN 2019. Labor markets and basic economic

indicators will remain strong. However, geopolitical factors, consumer confidence, inflation and demographic shifts will influence buying patterns and slow retail spending.

EFFECTS” WILL NARROW THE 3 “NETWORK RETAIL PLAYING FIELD.

Growth will accrue to a small number of big winners. However, niche players can win with “go small, or go home” strategies.

CONSUMERS WILL CONTINUE TO EXPECT 4TO PROVIDE MORE… AND THEY’LL FIND SOME COMPANY IT TO THEM.

In 2019, delivery models will build, or destroy, retailers. Promising, and then making good on virtually immediate delivery—often at no

cost to consumers—has been an expensive, polarizing game changer that few companies can afford to play, or to lose, or to win.

5

THE THREE C’S OF RETAIL WILL BE CRITICAL DIFFERENTIATORS: “CHOICE,” “COST” AND “CONVENIENCE.” Successful retailers will

have one, or more, of the best assortment, the best prices or the best service. The exception that proves the rule: Sears.

6

OFF-MALL WILL OUTPERFORM IN-MALL.

7

IN 2019, WE’LL STILL HAVE TOO MANY

STORES, TOO MUCH RETAIL SPACE AND TOO MUCH INVENTORY. Store closures and

bankruptcies will persist as retailers continue to right-size their door count and selling space. Too many stores and too much product results in an over-supply of mass market goods, driving down prices and favoring off-price stores and discount websites. It becomes a race to the bottom.

SURPLUS SELLING SPACE TURNS RETAILERS 8TENANTS INTO LANDLORDS. WILL THESE NEW ADD VALUE BEYOND LOWERING REAL ESTATE COSTS? Kohl’s has Amazon and Aldi as tenants; a play for foot traffic. Macy’s has Samsung, B8ta and Marketplace with Facebook as tenants, some of whom sublet their space to other third-party

brands—a play for new consumers and data. JCPenney has Sephora as a tenant—a play for relevance.

9

THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW’S CONSUMER WILL MAKE ENEMIES OF FRIENDS… AND FRIENDS OF ENEMIES. Competitors will

emerge from sectors previously perceived as irrelevant.

COMMERCE WILL BE COSTLIER 10 ONLINE THAN EVER TO EXECUTE

. The cost of customer acquisition will grow significantly for all except the big guys (Amazon, Google, Facebook). Online fulfillment costs, both outbound and inbound, along with the associated labor, materials, freight, warehouse space, inspection, refurbishing, I.T. and “reverse logistics” will be an essential retail performance indicator, separating winners from losers. Online shipping will also create a truly amazing amount of corrugated waste. Nearly one third of all online shipments will be returned. This deluge will escalate as shoppers increasingly demand fast, simple and free returns. The speed, efficiency and customer service level retailers provide re: shipping and returns will be a critical factor in determining which companies make money, and which will fail.

AND ONE FOR GOOD LUCK: SUSTAINABILITY WILL MOVE FROM “BUZZ” TO “DING,” the sound

of cash registers ringing.

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Leave Your Mark. Fall Winter 2019.

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Project Las Vegas: The Tents Mandalay Bay Convention Center February 5-7 Booth #34162

Chicago Collective theMart February 17-19 Booth #10037

Toronto Shoe Show Toronto Congress Centre February 20-22 Booth #317

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A few of our industry’s movers and shakers introduce themselves and solve some problems.

CLOSE-UP

MEET OUR MR ADVISORY BOARD

Lizette Chin, President Men’s Fashion, UBM/Informa I started my trade show career working with Elyse Kroll at The Collective/ENK, then moved to Business Journals as advertising director, then publisher of MR magazine, while helping to launch the MRket show. I moved on to UBM with its purchase of Business Journals, then to Liberty Fairs where I was vice president of Quest, and now back to UBM as president of men’s fashion. What I’ve learned above all is that the menswear business is a relatively small global community, so pay attention to the energy you put out, as it will always find its way back to you! I believe the greatest challenge our industry faces is the direct-to-consumer business model that has been disrupting the legacy wholesale business model for quite some time. My suggestions for solving it: adaptation and evolution. It’s always an exciting time when there’s an opportunity to evolve our business and to address the needs of our customers.

Blair DeLongy, VP Operations, John Craig/ Currents

I started helping out in the store when I was 13, mastering the ancient art of Windex-ing. From there, I spent the next eight years learning how to greet customers, gift wrap, fold shirts, assist sales associates, merchandise and of course sell. After graduating from Rollins College with a degree in International Business, I was offered a position managing our new store at the Ritz Carlton, Naples. As the company continued to grow, so did my responsibilities. Among the lessons I’ve learned: that hiring the right people is not easy, that you’re unlikely to ever find the “perfect” hire, that every person has strengths and weaknesses. As leaders, we must learn to value their strengths and coach through their weaknesses. Not every person in your store is going to be the best at everything, but what you do need is the right mix paired with a great coach. I believe our industry’s greatest challenge is captivating the new generation. How do we adjust our model to appeal to younger customers who value speed over experience? I wish I had the answer! But for now, we continue to LISTEN and learn from our customers and peers in the industry. We keep aiming to make the in-store experience and personal service exceptional.

Fred Derring, Founder, DLS Buying Group

I grew up in Virginia Beach; my parents owned a hotel and I always worked at local specialty stores, first selling and then buying. After graduating, I worked at Garfinckel’s, Brooks Brothers and then a retail consulting group for 10 years, which gave me the experience to launch DLS with partners Lee Leonard and Virginia Sandquist. (Jerry Park has since joined us adding another strong retail perspective.) The success of our office (now with 159 retailer members) is largely thanks to the support we get from so many great vendors and brands. Among current industry problems: infighting among trade shows. Individual trade shows competing with each other vs. coming together to create one impactful presentation is a waste of time, money and energy. Brands selling direct to consumers is another challenge for specialty stores, but since so many specialty retailers are truly stepping up their games, it’s less of a detriment than we thought it would be. In fact, several of our DLS member stores are now opening up new stores featuring exciting new brands. It’s a great time for retail reinvention!

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Lindsay Morton Gaiser, VP/ GMM, Andrisen Morton

I knew from a very young age that fashion and retail were my ultimate passions and that I would find a way to make a living from doing what I loved. I started working for a mall-based contemporary store at the tender age of 13. From there I continued following my dreams and held roles in store management, visual merchandising and special events. This journey eventually landed me at Macy’s, where I’ve been able to use all the invaluable retail experience I’ve gained, including putting the customer first, trusting your gut, listening to others and training your eye to discover the next new thing. There are a host of challenges impacting retail as we know it today. A big one: menswear is becoming too dependent on a few brands/ideas. Everyone is scrambling to incorporate the same few ideas instead of innovating and pushing the needle forward. Although the customer is certainly more aware of fashion/trends than ever before, he craves guidance, validation and most importantly information on “how to wear it.”

Donny Hubbard, Owner, Hubbard Clothing

My retail career began at age 13 when I met a guy who captivated me. I thought he was really cool and successful and rich; it turned out he wasn’t so rich, just very well-dressed since he owned a men’s clothing store. In any case, I attached myself to him and ultimately, at age 19, accepted a job offer at his store, a great learning experience. From there I was recruited by Wayne Ratcliff at Baumans Little Rock, and ultimately opened my own store until, for personal reasons, I left northwest Arkansas to work at Rodes Louisville. I ultimately went back to northwest Arkansas and opened Hubbard Clothing in March 2018. It’s been quite a ride! What I’ve learned: that the in-store shopping experience is every bit as important as the product, that the real problem is not online competition but rather retailers’ unwillingness to change. If you look at today’s great stores (MartinPatrick3, A.K. Rikk's, Mitchells), the ones doing well are not complaining or blaming, but are instead creating more reasons for customers to come into their stores.

Will Levy, President, Oak Hall

Both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in accounting; I worked first at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, but with retailing in my blood for six generations, I was destined to join Oak Hall. Chris Knott taught me early in my career that if you just try to help others, people will help you. I’ve also learned that people are everything in this business. I believe a big challenge in specialty retail is that customers are accustomed to shopping for anything and everything whenever they feel like it. When people shop online, they buy less, so the solution is to offer an incredible brick-and-mortar experience and cater to people who appreciate you. In addition, multi-brand specialty retail stores need to be present online in a way that promotes both our brands and our people. It’s hard to justify editorial content on websites that do not produce sales, but why not partner with vendors to create content for our websites, e-mail, and social media posts?

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

I started out wrapping packages at Andrisen Morton during school breaks in high school. By college graduation, I’d caught the fashion bug and turned down an offer to be a financial analyst with a major firm to begin my requisite five-year journey outside the family business before I could join our store. I worked at Hugo Boss for three-plus years, at Stanley Korshak and at Nordstrom. At Boss, Dede Drouet turned out to be the most amazing mentor: She had high expectations, tremendous drive and a funloving spirit. She taught me how to negotiate in a firm but kind manner. Among the challenges today’s retailers face: competing with vendors who are increasingly selling direct. One of our major brands was recently offering 40 percent off online while we were trying to sell the same goods at regular price. We need to work something out with these brands, maybe negotiate for more margin or other benefits. It’s frustrating but on the other hand, it challenges us to be better at absolutely everything we do.

Durand Guion, Group VP, Macys Inc.

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CLOSE-UP

Sharifa Murdock, Co-Owner/ Sales Director, Liberty Fairs, Capsule, Cabana

I began my career in fashion about 20 years ago, first at DKNY, then at Atrium (NYC) and Louis Vuitton. At Atrium, I met my mentor, now business partner, and fashion industry pioneer Sam Ben-Avraham, who would later enlist me to help him launch PROJECT Tradeshow and hence redefine the business model on how fashion brands and retailers do business with one another. Fast forward 16 years later and we have since sold PROJECT and launched Liberty Fairs/ Cabana and acquired Capsule. In my current role, I’m tasked with finding the best in global fashion and introducing those brands to top tier retailers. Currently I’d have to identify our industry’s greatest issue as fear. The fear to use our voice, the fear to embrace change and the fear to be different has become the greatest deficiency that plagues this business. My goal is to be a voice in this business by not only speaking the truth, but helping to promote the change needed by investing in our future talent. I launched ENVSN to do just that. ENVSN is a multi-dimensional community, committed to the empowerment of Gen-Z. The goal is to serve and foster the talent, dreams and sustainability of youth culture in an inclusive environment that promotes collaboration, discovery and conversation.

Jim Murray, President, A.K. Rikk's

I started my career in retail during my senior year of high school. I worked at many different stores while in college and realized selling suits is what I love. I haven’t stopped since. I was very fortunate, 13 years ago, to end up at A.K. Rikk’s. It’s funny, after 20 years in retail, the basics do not change. A brand must have a story, the client must have an experience, and we should never underestimate the opportunities in front of us. Retailers are currently faced with many challenges, but we must understand this is now our reality. Change is inspired by information and the amount of available information will only increase. Currently, retailers are using many different strategies to adapt to change, including omni-channel and experiential shopping. However, before you can be the best at these, you must be empathetic; you must understand your customers and their desires. That’s why data plays such a key role. We must also understand our customers enough to offer an experience beyond their expectations. We are our best in front of those top 20 clients, because we know them as well as family. Empathy is understanding a larger audience in that same intimate manner.

Bruce Pask, Men’s Fashion Director, Bergdorf Goodman/ Neiman Marcus

My first foray into retailing was “helping out” at my mom’s children’s shoe store in Arizona. From day one, I loved the selling floor environment, and during my college years at William & Mary, I worked at Gap and Esprit. Upon graduating and moving to NYC, I switched to journalism, first for the Village Voice and then GQ. I feel so fortunate to have always done what I love, and to have had amazing mentors like Jim Moore at GQ (who taught me fashion journalism), fashion photographer Annie Liebowitz (who taught me to view clothes in a natural way), Stefano Tonchi at T magazine (who taught me to view fashion as part of a broader culture) and Josh Shulman (a brilliant merchant who hired me at Bergdorf five years ago and taught me to believe in myself). Looking ahead, I’m most excited about my newest venture: the B. shop at Bergdorf, a curated gender-neutral assortment of all things I personally love. My brother, who’s a set designer, is designing the physical store, launching this month. It’s a specialty shop featuring exclusive product and wonderful collaborations. As for industry challenges, of course I’m always worried about the ebbs and flows of the economy. Nothing is more subject to economic turmoil than the luxury market, but we’re also the most resilient.

Bruce Schedler, VP, Chicago Collective

When I was a rep, I never enjoyed exhibiting at trade shows and that’s an understatement. Running a trade show? No way. Now for some strange reason I thoroughly enjoy the entire trade show experience. Go figure. I’ve been fortunate to have worked for some great companies like Hart Schaffner Marx, London Fog and Hickey Freeman, but my 22-year tenure at the Chicago Collective has been the most rewarding and enjoyable of all. It hasn’t been easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Truth is, it’s not business as usual for any of us today. Complex challenges confront all of us as we try to stay ahead of or better yet in synch with our customers. It can be a brutal pursuit; however, I’m fortunate to work with the best of the best and have the support of so many incredible people in this industry who continue to help me. So the big lesson I learned in my career (and I wish I’d learned it earlier), is that I need insight and input from many industry professionals and that there are amazing people in this industry who are more than willing to help.

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ONES TO WATCH

WHAT’S NEW

These four brands are sure to add some fresh energy to your store. By Stephen Garner

TEMPLA

If you’re looking to add a new luxury outerwear brand to your mix, look no further than Templa. Operating between Australia and Belgium, Templa offers a unique proposition within the outdoor performance sector with a range of men’s and women’s alpine outerwear, urban outerwear and active apparel that infuses fashion credibility backed by technical innovation. Built on a mutual passion for alpine sports and urban fashion sensibility, Templa is the embodiment of its founding partners, Rob Maniscalco, Dellano Pereira and Anati Rakocz, who are creating elite performance wear with a contemporary fashion-forward aesthetic that is equally relevant for the slopes and the city. Top performing styles include its three-layer membrane Tombra coat, which transforms in length, allowing optimal performance for varying conditions. The brand’s entire puffer range comes standard with 800-fill power premium goose down. Ranging in price from $1,400 to $3,600, Templa can be found currently in retailers like Barneys, Matches, Lane Crawford and Net-a-Porter.

CRUMPLER

Originating in Melbourne, Crumpler gained popularity in the mid-’90s with its bags and logo reflecting the decade’s aesthetic: bright colors, clever designs and robust quality. In 2018, the company decided to update its visual identity in a way that would not offend those emotionally attached to ’90s nostalgia. The goal: revitalize the brand’s image to keep up with the times. Today, Crumpler sells its bags and accessories globally with 30 standalone stores in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Germany. It’s also sold on the world’s leading online and wholesale channels. This season, the brand is focusing on its North American growth by showing at the upcoming Project show in Las Vegas. “Our strategy this year is to move in to the leading department stores and replicate the success we’ve had in these type stores in Australia and Asia,” says CEO Adam Wilkinson. “We’re looking to expand on the success of our work and travel, and will be releasing two new collections in August,” adds Wilkinson. “We’re currently signing up new distributors to represent the brand in Japan and Hong Kong which will further solidify our presence in Asia and will provide our loyal customer base in these markets the ability to purchase our products locally.”

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CREATURE/OF

Fresh onto the denim scene, Creature/Of launched in September with a concept that allows customers to customize apparel across nine style and fit options, have it produced to their specifications and arrive at their door in two weeks. After perfecting this operation, the brand has since expanded to launch a full collection offering 10 signature styles as a mix between Creature/Of ’s core designs and the most popular creations of its customers. According to co-founder Cedric Lewis, the company’s most popular style is the black side stripe jean, which features the brand’s signature black fabric with a traditional tuxedo stripe running down each leg. The stripe is popular among customers drawn to the versatility of pants that can accompany their favorite blazer as well as a beloved distressed tee. Lewis says that the interest lies heavily in the brand’s ability to allow customers to not only customize the style elements of their jeans, but also have it at their doorstep in two weeks at the price point of $175. Coming in 2019, Creature/Of is planning to expand its style options as well as increase its physical presence across multiple U.S. cities following a successful SoHo pop-up last fall.

OBRA

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

Two long-time friends, Dave Cory, former director of product for Converse, and Arnaud Delecolle, founder of NYC streetwear brand Alife, have teamed up to launch a new footwear company. Drawing from 20 years of experience, Delecolle and Cory have set out to make sneakers that make a difference. The result is a multi-faceted collection of fashionable and functional men’s footwear dubbed Obra. What sets these sneakers apart from the rest is a lightweight “Working Footbed” built of dual-density thermos-formed EVA and premium microfiber lining that provide lasting comfort and stability. Proprietary extra tall vulcanized foxing tape and rubber outsole supply durability and traction. And slip-on friendly side zippers on high tops and exaggerated finger loops across all styles promote an easy fit. Obra is also on a mission to give back. The founders have made a promise to donate a share of revenue to non-profit organizations that advocate for the arts, education, and/ or civil liberties within local inner-city youth communities. Its inaugural partner in such charitable collaboration is Red Hook Labs, to which $10 of every pair sold will be contributed. Retail prices run from $120 to $150; current retail partners include United Arrows in Japan and Barneys New York.

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SCENE

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS Three of the Hottest (And Newest) Destinations on The Strip By Stephen Garner EATALY

If you have a case of FOMO from not going to Pitti in January, make sure to stop by the Park MGM resort at the newest location of Italian marketplace Eataly. The 40,000-square-foot culinary destination offers authentic Italian dishes, from tried-and-true Neapolitan pizza and pastas to specialties such as regional Italian street food and hand-pulled mozzarella and burrata cheese made in-house, all helmed by executive chef Nicole Brisson. A wide variety of Italian desserts and sweets, including beloved favorites like house-made gelato and cannoli, will round out the Eataly experience. Guests will be able to explore the flavors of Eataly while dining, along with enjoying the opportunity to shop high-quality products to bring the essence of Eataly home. The venue will offer a variety of premium food selections such as cured meats, cheeses and fresh seafood as well as an assortment of artisanal Italian favorites imported from Italy—from bronze-extruded pasta to extra virgin olive oil.

CATCH

Arguably one of the trendiest seafood restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, Catch officially opened at the Aria hotel late last year. In this setting of glitz and glamour, Catch diners can enjoy an assortment of bright appetizers that highlight fresh seafood, like the restaurant’s signature ceviche or the decadent truffle sashimi. Catch ups the ante on the Las Vegas feast with options like the 25-Day Dry-Aged Tomahawk: 36-ounces of all natural, grass-fed beef with caramelized onion wagyu butter; and the 2.5 Pound Cantonese Lobster prepared with sake, oyster sauce, scallions and garlic. And you can’t forget about the cocktails like the Ziggy Stardust with Volcán Blanco Tequila, white peach, ginger beer, lemon and Hellfire Bitters. Catch 22—a Las Vegas exclusive—begins with a puff of cotton candy that dissolves before guests’ eyes as a concoction of vodka and yuzu pours atop the pillowing cloud in the glass.

NOMAD

If you’re looking for somewhere new to stay or hang out for a drink, check out the newly-opened NoMad hotel. Designed by French architect Jacques Garcia, NoMad Las Vegas’ 293 rooms and suites, situated on the top four floors of Park MGM, bring a distinct New York sensibility to The Strip. Each room is thoughtfully appointed with custom-designed furnishings, hardwood floors, Bellino linens, custom Argan bathroom products and original artwork. Be sure to check out the opulent French-inspired NoMad Restaurant, an all-day dining destination with breakfast, lunch, dinner and latenight menus curated by Chef Humm. James Beard Award-winning Bar Director Leo Robitschek oversees the cocktail program as well as that of Nomad Las Vegas’ newly opened NoMad Bar. During the day, a velvet Austrian sheer curtain, custom-made by the Rosebrand theatre production company, cloaks the bar. In the evening, the curtain rises to reveal a bar environment reminiscent of its New York counterpart.

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CHICAGO HOT SPOTS

Who better to ask about hot spots than Mr. Chicago himself: Bruce Schedler.

BEST BAR OR SPORTS BAR: Parlor Pizza Bar – River North, 405 N. Dearborn St.

FAVORITE HOTEL: Westin Chicago River North, 320 N. Dearborn St.

BEST ELEGANT DINNER: RPM Steak, 66 W. Kinzie St.

BEST COMFORT FOOD: Coco Pazzo, 300 W. Hubbard St.

BEST LIVE MUSIC: Buddy Guy’s Legends, 700 S. Wabash

MUST SEE: Art Institute of Chicago or 360 Chicago at the John Hancock Observatory

MUST DO: Eat Chicago deep dish pizza. There are many places to choose from: Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, Pizzeria Uno.

BEST SHOPPING: Oak Street and Michigan Avenue

HAPPENING AT THE MART DURING COLLECTIVE: Have a cocktail after the show at Marshall’s Landing on the 2nd Floor of the MART.

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

BEST BREAKFAST: Beatrix – River North, 519 N. Clark St.

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RETAIL PROFILES

PURE INSPIRATION

Joseph Abboud on Madison: a store with soul. By Karen Alberg Grossman

There are few American menswear designers with an aesthetic as recognizable as Joseph Abboud. Although his celebrated career has given him a diverse resume (Louis Boston, Lord & Taylor, Hickey Freeman, Tailored Brands…), his passion for soft neutral colors, contrasting textures, classic pattern mixing, and styles that gently trace the male body is consistent in all his designs. His namesake store on Madison is perhaps the pinnacle of this aesthetic, an emporium of luxury menswear that’s modern, cohesive, timeless. That said, the important message of this fabulous store (beyond its elegant rustic decor and attention to detail) is the harmonious

clientele (generating 50 percent of store volume) and a fabulous new shop-in-shop for unique accessories and gifts. “Our best-selling categories are cashmere, woven shirts, custom clothing and soft sportscoats,” says Abboud. “Custom is 30 to 35 percent of store volume and sportcoats are 50 percent of tailored units. I view sportscoats as the bridge between tailored and sportswear; our stance is aggressive patterns; we’re not about navy blazers.” Asked how he can offer his level of luxury and

“It’s hard for multi-brand retailers to do what we do here: you need to be vertical to offer this kind of value.” —Joseph Abboud mix of clothing, sportswear, outerwear, and accessories. One category flows seamlessly into the next, as if any piece you pick up will complement any other. Other success secrets: exclusive fabrics from top Italian mills, oversized swatches, a focus on custom in everything from suits to shearling outerwear (available in seven days!), compelling windows that tell stories (the history of linen, the legacy of Carlo Barbera), an international

style at relatively affordable pricepoints (opulent cashmere sweaters are $295 to $495; sportcoats, $895 to $1,495; suits, $995 to $1,500), Abboud is (as always) candid. “My friends at multi-brand specialty stores won’t want to hear this but I believe you need to be vertical to give this kind

of value. There are so few stores left for designers to sell because the wholesale to retail model is archaic.” Preparing for his annual runway show, Abboud shows me photos of the hard work that goes into it: the decades of archives, the sketching, the endless hours of cutting and sewing each individual look. “It’s worth it,” he maintains. “A billion impressions over the last three shows opens doors. But not all runway presentations make sense to me. I take exception to silly looks on the runway; I’m offended by it. Especially since men are literal and don’t know how to extract the message the way women do.” We talk about how runways are increasingly dominated by streetwear. “Why is today’s fashion focus on streetwear? Because tailored clothing is hard to do. A $2,000 sweatshirt with a big logo: that’s easy! I’ve always believed that, “great menswear is defined by great restraint.”

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CONTEMPORARY Weekends’ founder John Schopbach is toying COOL with elevated streetwear. By Karen Alberg Grossman

Although his name seems created for a shopkeeper, John Schopbach never intended a career in retail. A pre-med major at Colorado State, he ultimately switched to fashion merchandising and accepted a position at Robinsons department store in L.A. There he learned the numbers side of

of America’s top contemporary stores. With a roster of the best brands in the business, a good handle on elevated streetwear, and a strategy for rotating pop-up shops, Schopbach is enticing young customers to spend big bucks for cool contemporary clothes.

FAST FACTS ON WEEKENDS BOULDER:

Founded: 1990 ■ Location: the main corner of Pearl Street mall ■ Size: 5,500 square-feet ■ Men’s to Women’s: 45%/55% ■ Best cities for cool brands: Florence, Paris ■ Recent bold move: replacing a 500 square-foot denim shop with rotating pop-ups ■ Key brands: Eton, Rag & Bone, AG, Eleventy, Common Projects, Boglioli, Billy Reid, Herno, Stone Island, APC, J Brand, Aviator Nation, Ami, Reigning Champ, Faherty and more the business, but also that fashion retailing involves instinct as well as numbers. In 1990, he opened a men’s store in Fort Collins, ultimately buying out his partner and launching Weekends Boulder, now one

For this, he takes little credit, expressing gratitude for his college clientele, for Parents’ Weekends, and for a great location that encourages walk-in traffic. “We had to retrain our staff to

“We’re not a streetwear store, but certain lines are relevant if bought correctly.”

understand this new generation,” Schopbach explains. “These kids follow fashion on social media and gravitate toward key brands. We don’t sell suits or dress pants so we can devote our space to upscale contemporary sportswear (APC, Stone Island) at retails in the $300 to $400 range. Our designated shop for pop-ups is also working well. Although it’s tough to bridge that gap between classic and contemporary, we introduce new brands gradually and much of our customer base is receptive.” Observes industry analyst Marc Weiss from Management One, “Great retailers have great people or great product. John has both. Weekends is part of the fabric of the community of Boulder because John has kept the store as relevant and fresh today as when he opened 29 years ago.”

—John Schopbach

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

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2.17-19 2019 theMART, Chicago

The buzz is true: The Chicago Collective is the best menswear show this side of the Atlantic. Listen, we were surprised too. But we didn’t just jump the line. Years of planning, building and revamping have established a show floor that works and a vibe that keeps you coming back. Find out why at chicagocollective.com

OPENING NIGHT PARTY PRESENTED BY HUDSON Sunday: 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. [Marshall’s Landing - 2nd Floor of theMart]

Presented By:

You came. You shopped. You partied. That’s the story our attendees leave Chicago with, because after your favorite show works hard, it plays hard. And 2019 is poised to be bigger and better than ever, as the Chicago Collective has teamed up with Hudson Jeans to bring you the Opening Night Party at Marshall’s Landing. With really great food and a drink in your hand, you’ll enjoy some great music with some particularly excellent company (we’ll be there, after all)

#chicagocollective

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E V E N T S

PAUL BETENLY LOUNGE This is the place to be! From gourmet snacks to happening happy hours, or just to check out the sharp styling of Paul Betenly, join us in the lounge throughout the show.

SPECIALTY COFFEE BAR SPONSORED BY BLUE INDUSTRY Get wired. Blue Industry will keep you going for the whole show. Stop by their Specialty Coffee Bar for your caffeine-of-choice: espresso, cappuccino or latte

BARBOUR CAFÉ Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Join us each day for complimentary breakfast & lunch

FRESH POPCORN SPONSORED EN-SOI Looking for an afternoon snack? Stop by for a bag of freshly popped popcorn.

BARBOUR COAT + LUGGAGE CHECK February will have you dressed to the tens. Lighten up and leave your things at the Barbour Coat + Luggage Check. All items may be checked at no charge, compliments of Barbour.

THE CRAFT PUB ON 7

GREAT BRITISH BRANDS CELEBRATE GREAT BRITISH FASHION AND DESIGN WITH THE UK’S DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE

RUM HAPPY HOUR SPONSORED BY PARCE

The UK’s Department for International Trade is proud to support this year’s winter show. We are delighted to bring you closer to the cutting-edge design, longstanding heritage and outstanding quality of UK menswear brands.

BLOODY MARY BAR(S) If you’re like us, you probably had a fun night. Join us for some hair of the dog and load up your Mary with must-have fixings.

Cheers! Stop by for a craft pint, compliments of Lakeshore Beverage. Enjoy a betweenappointments break (or sip & work!) and crack open a cold one on the Front Aisle.

Parce means “good friend” – come sip on this award-winning aged Colombian rum and make some spirited new friends!

FASHIONABLY LATE COCKTAILS WITH HENDRICK’S GIN Join Hendrick’s Gin and DIT as we toast the best of British with fashion-inspired cocktails. Stop by the showcase space in the 6000 aisle to meet the great British brands.

chicagocollective.com

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FASHION

C Jacket and Pants by NORMA KAMALI; Sweater by TODD SNYDER; Boots by DSQUARED2

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Actor Cameron Boyce traveled with us to the hills of Malibu to explore one of the most popular macrotrends in menswear: westernwear.

CALIFORNIA COWBOY For a few seasons now we’ve seen a return of westernwear as a macrotrend in menswear throughout American fashion. From a full-on fringe look to just adding snap button closures onto a simple shirt, this trend is easy to wear for any guy.

By Stephen Garner Photography by Ben Cope Grooming by Bekah Lesser

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

Catch our full interview with Boyce online later this month.

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FASHION

On Left: Jacket, Sweater, and Pants by ELEVENTY; Boots by FRYE. On Right: Jacket by CARLOS CAMPOS; Pants by DSQUARED2

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MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

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FASHION

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On Left: Jacket by COCKPIT; Sweater and Pants by ELEVENTY; Boots by FRYE. On Right: Look by DSQUARED2

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

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FASHION

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On Left: Jacket by TODD SNYDER; Sweater by MICHAEL KORS; Pants by ELEVENTY. On Right: Jacket by CARLOS CAMPOS; Sweater by TODD SNYDER

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

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SPORTSWEAR

CONTEMPORARY CHOICES Broad or narrow assortments? Retro ’90s or classic fashion? New names or familiar labels? It’s hard to know. By Christopher Blomquist It’s one of the most misunderstood product categories out there: contemporary sportswear. What is it? Who buys it? When, what and how much should you carry? Here, advice on how to do it right from those in the trenches.

What’s the definition of “contemporary” anyway?

Though it means different things to different people, the overall consensus is that it encompasses fashion-driven product that’s priced in the sweet spot between designer and moderate. “My opinion of the word ‘contemporary’ means relevant product at a digestible pricepoint,” says Simon Spurr, new global creative director of 7 for All Mankind. “[It’s] a premium product that reflects the current mood of the day. And if it’s to last the duration, the product must be made with soul and integrity.”

At Rothmans, Giddon says slim-fit pants from five-pocket jeans to flat front twills in cool fabrics from the likes of J Brand, Joe’s Jeans and Ballin lead the bottoms category while textured knit tops, henleys and V-neck henleys (aka venleys) by Benson and Raffi are big draws, along with super comfortable or patterned sport shirts by WRK, Ted Baker, Zachary Prell and Rodd & Gunn.

Does the contemporary customer want trenddriven product, e.g. 1990s revival logo-driven styles that have put Champion, Fila and other athletic/street brands back on the map? The simple answer is no— especially if your customer base is more traditional/ dressy. “We’ll dabble a few

fabrics and trend-driven accessories. Large logos don’t really move for us.” Even more cutting-edge contemporary stores such as Kinfolk, which operates outposts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Tokyo, are also shunning this trend. “Few of the brands we carry are part of that ’90s revival,” says co-founder Jey Perie. “I think some elements of that trend will remain for a few more seasons but I also believe the next two years will see a reemergence of more formal fashion, bringing the idea of

DENIM WINNERS!

“To be profitable it’s best to have a balanced assortment —somewhat narrow and a little deep.” —Paul Witt, Wittmore boutiques Paul Witt, founder of the two Wittmore boutiques in Los Angeles, agrees. “I would say Wittmore is a modern contemporary store for men,” he says. “We focus on quality not quantity. Contemporary customers have great personal style and like to try new things.” Jim Giddon, co-owner of Rothmans in New York, sees it in black-and-white terms: “If I had to define ‘contemporary sportswear’ I’d say that anything my father would wear is traditional. All else is contemporary.”

What’s selling best in this category?

Wittmore’s top brands are currently Officine Générale, Corridor, Cuisse De Grenouille, Relwen and Patagonia. “It’s a mix of casual, contemporary and laid back tailoring,” says Witt.

hoodies and sweatshirts in this style but overall, it’s not our guy,” says Melissa Austria, owner of Gotstyle in Toronto. “We did try it with some brands last season and failed miserably with it!” Rothmans and Wittmore concur. “I like, and appreciate, the look for the streetwear crowd,” says Giddon. “However, we currently sidestep that whole category. NYC has a plethora of other stores that specialize in those looks.” Adds Witt: “We dabble a little with that look but not entirely. I focus more on longsleeve tees, soft garment-dyed

34 Heritage

7 for All Mankind

Courage Dark Ultra ($190 at retail)

Series 7 ($199-$219 at retail)

“Courage Dark Ultra sports a clean, dark wash with contrast stitching, a comfortable rise and a classic straight leg. The fabric has a soft, silky hand while remaining lightweight, with fabulous stretch and shape retention,” says 34’s Richard Binder. “This sophisticated style is the perfect everyday jean, ideal for the modern gentleman.”

Launching in March 2019, this new offering will add updated styles every season. “Series 7 is our softest jean yet, and our comfortable stretch fabric gets softer with every wear,” says a spokesperson. “It comes in five fits: Straight , Slimmy, Adrien (slim tapered), Ryley/Paxtyn (skinny), and Austyn (relaxed straight).

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‘dressing up’ back into the conversation.” However, younger customers are still eagerly filling their online carts with these retro looks, observes Stephanie Nelson, general merchandise manager for e-tailer East Dane and its sister site ShopBop. “I lived it the first time around and am loving it even more now!” she says. “I’m looking forward to remixing the ’90s trends in a new way which I think our customer will also love. As with most trends, we have a customer who loves–and is willing to try–what’s new. We see the trend evolving to include neon, printed matching sets and bold tropical prints.”

So how does one make money in the contemporary category?

“To be profitable it’s best to have a balanced assortment–somewhat narrow and a little deep,” says Witt. “Otherwise the assortment is overwhelming and the message gets lost.” “The key for us is to finesse the balance

between regular price and off-price merchandise,” notes Giddon. “We often start with small quantities in a wide array of patterns or fabrics. We then chase the early winners, and buy them deep, at a discount.” For Kinfolk’s Perie, the key word is reinvention. “One pattern I’ve found defines the retail experience the last few years is that trends start fast and die even faster. Every season you need to reinvent your contemporary category. It’s harder and harder every season to take a brand from no exposure, invest in it and let it grow. Now, you either invest in classic brands such as Carhartt or Stone Island or you bet on ‘Project’ brands that have a three to four– season lifespan.”

We asked contemporary jeanswear brands to name their one “guaranteed to fly off the shelf” style for fall ’19. Here, their suggestions for sure bets.

Jack of Spades

Mavi

Paige

Raleigh Denim Workshop

The Wyatt in Marek ($268 at retail)

The Knit Denim Jean ($175 retail)

The Jake ($98 to $118 at retail)

Lennox in Inkwell ($189 at retail)

The Graham ($245 to $315 at retail)

The Wyatt is Citizens’ authentic, narrow fit in rigid denim that’s tapered from hip to ankle. “Our new Wyatt fit is the must-have jean for spring,” says Simon Miller, the brand’s men’s design director. “Every man needs one fail-safe pair of jeans that lays the foundation for his wardrobe and the Wyatt is just that, the perfect blend of old and new.”

“This is an amazing jean with the comfort and recovery of a knit but the cool look of woven denim,” says president Gabe Mann. “We do it in three washes—dark, medium and black. Made with stretch, it’s perfect with a sportcoat or with a t-shirt. In fact, it’s been so successful that we offer it as part of our in-stock program for fall '19.”

“For a contemporary fashion guy, our Jake silhouette features a flattering tapered look and slim bottom. It fits many body types and still offers room in the seat/thigh area for comfort and movability. New for fall ’19, the style comes in these three washes and more: Black Williamsburg, Dark Brushed Cashmere (a classic dark indigo) and Light Authentic Vintage, a retro-inspired wash.

“Lennox in Inkwell is a bestseller because it’s extremely comfortable and versatile,” reports the L.A.-based label. “This style is a sure bet for retailers because a clean dark blue skinny jean is the building block of most guys’ wardrobes. This will be the most comfortable jean in any guy’s lineup.”

“The Graham fit is one our bestsellers,” says Raleigh Denim co-founder Victor Lytvinenko. “It has a little more room in the seat and thigh but it’s clean and tailored. Plus the tapered leg lets guys show off their shoes. It’s been so successful that we’ve added four or five more styles to the fall ’19 collection.”

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

Citizens of Humanity

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ACCESSORIES

BEFORE YOU GO

We’ve scoured the market to find four must-have items for fall ’19 that you need to grab while shopping the shows. By Stephen Garner Photography by Zach Alston

THE BOOTS These alpine-inspired boots by Norwegian brand Swims are not only ontrend but also just what your feet need on a wet and snowy winter’s day.

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THE LUGGAGE If you’re looking for super luxe, chic and unique luggage options to add to your store, or even just to add for an eye-catching window display, look no further than Fabbrica Pelletterie Milano, or FPM for short.

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

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ACCESSORIES

THE SCENT Frédéric Malle—one of our favorite fragrance makers out of Paris—creates some of the most complex and most desirable men’s and women’s scents your customers will travel miles to grab.

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THE EVERYDAY BAGS Known for its high-quality leather, Moore & Giles continues to be a mainstay in the industry. We just can’t get enough of its classic brown leather accessories that improve with use, and make the perfect gift. Your customers will surely feel the same.

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

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SOCIAL MEDIA

INFLUENCER INVASION

Is influencer marketing the future of customer engagement or a propaganda-fueled bubble? By Nancy Klaiman Prentice

Considered the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method, influencer marketing has evolved as a disruptor to traditional advertising. Often considered the best way to increase customer engagement and sales, this strategy leverages social stardom by using people and platforms to push brand messaging, reach new audiences and drive conversions. An influencer’s value

1950s. Fast forward decades and you have a menagerie of personalities accessing and persuading large audiences with varying degrees of authenticity and reach. Research shows that 84 percent of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. What’s more, ad-blocking usage in the U.S. is at 40 percent on laptops and 15 percent on mobile, as consumers

“47% of customers are tired of inauthentic content that is published by influencers.” —Data from Bazaarvoice derives from their relationship with viewers, the content they create and the reaction it gets. According to Invesp, influencer marketing delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing; 94 percent of marketers who have used influencer marketing are sold on the results and 48 percent plan to increase budgets for it. While a contemporary phenomenon to many, brand ambassadors date back to the 1700s, when Josiah Wedgwood enjoyed royal endorsements for his pottery. Tony the Tiger began pushing sugary cereal in the

reject pop-ups and banners. When brands first turned to celebrities, models posing as ambassadors appeared across multiple channels. More recently, regular people rule. Ranging from age 7 to 70, convincing characters pervade Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter and anywhere else you can access a blog or a post. So how (and in whom) should one invest?

Mega Macro Nano New

With three in four Instagram users making purchasing decisions based on what they

see in their feeds, and with influencer marketing contract value estimated to reach $2 billion in 2019, ad dollars are shifting. “You have to fish where the fish are,” says Phil Rist, co-founder and principal of Prosper Insights & Analytics, who encourages brands to reallocate ad spend to uncover the celebrity and non-celebrity influencers. Brands themselves are becoming savvier, mapping out clear expectations and seeking personalities who will establish brand consistency and transparency with their consumers. We’ve witnessed epic fails (i.e. Oprah Winfrey extolling the virtues of Microsoft Surface, but from Twitter for iPad) as some have dropped large sums on partnerships that never added up, while others see possibility through the cyber clutter. There is real value in retaining strong influencers on the roster for longterm campaigns, event promotions and sponsored posts. The more recognizable the association, the better. According to Mike Froggatt, director of intelligence at L2 Research, “That’s the holy grail: relying on a stable of influencers who have a closer

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Companies are turning to Microinfluencers, who are 4x more likely to get a comment or post. According to Troy Osinoff, author and head of customer

posts and videos. Vetted and approved, they are passionate about product and have significantly increased brand engagement. As a nod to authenticity, Macy’s controls

“In a day’s worth of sponsored posts, nearly 50% are fakes.”  —Data from Sway Ops acquisition at BuzzFeed, “You can attain the same or larger reach when spread across a handful of micro-influencers for a fraction of the cost, while gaining a more diverse, yet targeted audience.” In the most recent (2018) CPC Strategy U.S. Influencer Marketing Report, trustworthiness exceeded exposure. Consumers care that an influencer is authentic, posts quality content, and is knowledgeable about a niche, but exposure can backfire as brands live in real-time and fall prey to conversations people are having about them. Here, actual consumers can become your strongest advocates. Take Macy’s, which has created the Macy’s Style Crew of more than 400 corporate employee ‘ambassadors’ who have deep connections with brands and share Macy’s-sponsored

the integrity of their message as well as the masses of viewers. The audience has no bots or fake followers, and unlike influencers who are paid per post, members of the style crew receive a percentage of driven sales.

ROI—Return on Influence

There was a time when social media seemed an improbable method, but now that 81 percent of us have a media profile, it has become a full-fledged advertising medium—and the business of spreading the word can be profitable. You just need to look at influencer KPIs (key performance indicators), the measurable values—such as your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) quality, promotional codes and clicks. Going deeper into calculating campaign criteria, coupon codes are one of the

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

relationship with the brand. It benefits everyone to have a long-term relationship, not a series of one-offs.” Different types of influencers serve different purposes and provide different results. Depending on the campaign, you might need more than one: MEGA INFLUENCER (100,000+ FOLLOWERS) –Typically a celebrity with millions of followers and exposure. Engagement level is low as is the personal connection. MACRO INFLUENCER (10,000 TO 100,000) –Slightly more relatable and takes social media image more seriously. MICRO INFLUENCER (1,000 TO 10,000) –Topic experts or enthusiasts who are knowledgeable, passionate and credible with loyal followers. Interaction and engagement are high. NANO INFLUENCER (500 TO 1000) –Powerful and trusted source who knows many or most of his or her followers. The level of engagement and influence is very high. While mega influencers have more followers, they are expensive and often disconnected from their audiences.

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SOCIAL MEDIA easiest ways to track response. Assessment can be as easy as adding up how many are redeemed and attributing them to an influencer campaign. Or you can use a tracking pixel (a tool that tracks web activity) to see who is generating the most visits and clicks. There’s also influencer marketing software that can track as well as tweak your strategy to boost ROI.

A Thousand New Followers … From Guam?

In a day’s worth of sponsored posts, nearly 50 percent are fakes, according to data from the anti-fraud company Sway Ops. “Influencer Fraud”—it’s a thing. And, as with other technology, there are those who game the system. But there is clarity in the quest for transparency. For example, we can evaluate the strength of an audience. One might think the larger the follower number, the more influence of the person. Not necessarily—if someone has purchased followers to make themselves look better or there is low level interaction. The engagement rate, the percentage of the influencer’s audience that responds to their content, is an available metric for ROI. Then there is the quality of the audience, including fake influencers and bot followers. Trusted influencers often turn out to be fakes who can be identified through their profile, their followers’ profiles and their follower’s followers. Across multiple platforms (Facebook, etc.) there are “unnatural” communities growing. At Upfluence, influencer software analyzes profile data to look for red flags such as growth without account activity,

or unaccountable bursts of new followers. Social Blade gives users access to a public database that can provide global analytics for any content creator, live streamer, or brand—including the number of followers an influencer is gaining or losing. It has become easier to buy bots (automated software that generates a profile by scraping

consumer protection legislation are online as well to ensure fair competition in the cyber marketplace. The FTC is concerned about truth in influencer marketing and requires influencers (and their brands) to announce their connections and to follow guidelines to that effect. When a blogger, vlogger (video blogger) or influencer posts

“The Macy’s Style Crew has over 400 corporate employee ‘ambassadors’ who have deep connections with brands.” images and information from other sources), that spread by friending other users to increase their followers on social media. A bot can “like” and comment on posts with a specific hashtag or follow people with the hope they will follow them back. An audience of bots is neither engaged nor authentic—and can jeopardize your business’s integrity.

See-through Selling

Are paid influencers trustworthy? This is a loaded question that has sparked debate in the categories of ethics, behavior and disclosure – all of which are evolving. According to a study by Bazaarvoice, a digital marketing company based in Austin, 47 percent of customers are tired of inauthentic content that is published by influencers. Not only can consumers recognize when influencer content is not in line with the brand message, according to the same study, 49 percent of people feel there should be restrictions placed on content created by influencers. You might be interested to know that the same folks who govern antitrust and

something they have received for free, they must disclose it to the audience clearly and up-front to include captions or hashtags (such as #ad, #sponsored or #spon) at the start of a post (not buried within a swarm of hashtags, or after the visible cut-off). If an influencer has been paid to create a video, they must reveal that in the title or caption. The FTC is watching, as evidenced by letters sent to over 90 influencers and marketers last year to remind them of the disclosure rules. It pays to heed, as violators of sanctions can face fines or legal action.

Connect and Collect

Even if the realm of influencer marketing evokes a bit of the Wild West, brands can approach this powerful tool that is still settling into its cyber-frontier—with integrity. Moving forward, influencers should be included in the creation of a campaign and not just actors for pay. When influencer marketing works, it pays off. Whether coming from a guru or a grandpa, make sure the influencer is germane to your brand.

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OUTERWEAR

G H Bass & Co.

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THE COLD TRUTH Outerwear continues strong thanks to cold weather…and cool fashion! What a fabulous season for men’s outerwear! While a cool fall ’18 and the early onset of winter weather across much of the country certainly helped, the category is clearly being driven by fashion, as well as by a growing consumer interest in tech fibers and sustainability. “The men’s outerwear category has excelled this year,” confirms Justin Berkowitz, men’s fashion director at Bloomingdale’s. “We’ve benefitted from a cooler autumn and colder temperatures arriving early in the northeast which has certainly impacted sales. But strong sales since the very beginning of the season speaks to the strength of this category in totality. As our customer’s lifestyle continues to get more casual, the coat has become of paramount importance in his wardrobe.” “The men’s outerwear market continues to grow and evolve at Saks and within the menswear world at large,” says Roopal Patel, fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue. “With the departure

By John Russel Jones

wool coats are all continuing strong,” notes Berkowitz. “Lightweight down is absolutely important, as are mixed media pieces— especially in transition seasons and in warmer climates. Novelty outerwear, leathers and mixed media dress coats have all been strong, as have 3-in-1 models with a built-in zip vest.”

Vendor Views and News

Like practically every category in menswear, outerwear has been impacted by streetwear, sustainability and collaborations. At G-III (the country’s largest outerwear maker and the backbone of department store business), outerwear veteran Ron Finestone talks about a banner year for his labels: from Tommy Hilfiger (#1 brand, streetwearinspired, logos, color blocking, cool details) and DKNY (logos, sophisticated street looks) to Levis (classic cool, lots of sherpa trim and linings, cool details) and Dockers (classic turned hipster) to GH Bass (outdoor/adventure). Finestone attributes G-III’s strong business to many factors: a logistical supply chain that puts the right Stretch out the season: test early (vests, packable down, convertible pieces) and reorder winners. ■ Flow in some new warm styles product where it’s working, an extended selling in January. Take a tip from the swimwear market and call it Fall 2020 Preview to enable some regular price selling. ■ Don’t be afraid season, fabulous fashion at value pricepoints of color, prints and patterns; your customers aren’t! ■ Promote “Climate Change” to sell layered looks. ■ Promote newness (OTD under $100 in most cases), an emphasis rather than price. ■ Consider trade-in events where lightly worn outerwear can be brought to the store and donated to a local charity on upscale details. Also key: Each brand has its in exchange for a discount. ■ Reward your sellers for multiple sales. With so much new fashion for fall 19, one coat is never enough. own niche and guys are buying in multiples. Encourage outerwear wardrobes! “As our product assortment grows, we’re seeing more sales in places that are traditionally not known for being cold,” notes North & Mark CEO from traditional jackets and standard black puffer coats to more Steve Cho. “There’s definitely a demand for our lighter coats and advanced options with novelty prints, fabrications and colorways, jackets that provide protection from the rain vs. heavier insulated the men’s outerwear market is an exciting category full of coats that are geared towards colder climates.” opportunity for growth and change. The Saks man is looking for At Alpha Industries, CEO Mike Cirker says the brand is staying a wide range of outerwear to fit his diverse lifestyle. Camel coats, with its core silhouettes. “We’re known for the cutting edge of vibrant puffers, and windbreakers will be everywhere next season. military, with a strong value proposition. Nylon is still our strongest We’re also seeing increased interest in statement outerwear. Canada fabric.” Goose, Moncler and Balenciaga are a few brands leading the charge At Cockpit USA, fashion is leading the way. “While the weather with everything from neon colors and camouflage to novelty prints does help, we find people are buying outerwear for the look; they and textured fabrics.” start wearing the new items at the slightest decrease in temperature,” “We’ve been pleased with how customers are responding to our says Jacky Clyman, executive vice president. The brand has seen outerwear assortment this season,” says Durand Guion, group vice an increase in sales of sheepskin, varsity looks and vests. For fall president, Macy’s Fashion Office. “Guys are particularly reacting to ’19, expect to see a broader range of fashion, from heavy weight packable down, logos, color blocking and bold color. The patterned slim topcoat continues to be a leading trend. Lighter weights are still shearlings to feather weight leathers. Herno, an Italian outerwear brand, will debut its “First Act” key in regions where the weather is temperate. We’re also excited collection in 2019, a men’s and women’s outerwear collection about unlined popover styles moving forward.” produced with “Product Environmental Footprint” sustainability Options that add utility and flexibility, like packable and certification. The company, which has been in business since after lightweight down, continue to grow. “Parkas, puffers, leather and

HOW TO GROW OUTERWEAR SALES AND PROFITS

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

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OUTERWEAR

World War II, did a three-year study to achieve certification; this eight-piece collection will not only feature reduced carbon and water footprints in its manufacturing, but the coats will be machinewashable on low temperatures for a true eco-friendly touch. Canadian brand Norden, launched last year by Montreal-based manufacturer Better Narrative, features a collection of jackets, each of which is made anywhere from 25 to 99 percent recycled plastic bottles, with a manufacturing process that is said to consume 45 percent less energy, 20 percent less water and produce 30 percent less green gas emissions. At The Very Warm, Founder and President Shai Peyser describes a recent partnership with artists. “We work with them to integrate their artwork into every style; the fact that the artists receive a percentage of all sales seems to be resonating with customers. Our down-filled bomber is selling even better than last year, but our new down-filled wool and nylon puffers are surprisingly strong in-store and online. Black, as always, is the major seller, but evergreen and red buffalo plaid are performing well.” In December, The North Face announced a collaboration with streetwear retailer Extra Butter. The “Night Crawlers” collection took inspiration from New York City nights as depicted in classic neo-noir films. The grouping included riffs on favorite North Face silhouettes like the Novelty Nuptse (a puffer jacket) and Denali Fleece Anorak. North Face also teamed up with Japanese retailer BEAMS on the brand’s third collaboration featuring serious technical details for ski season. Alpha Industries, which had a successful collaboration with Public School in 2017, has yet another premium designer partnership in the works. The brand celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019 and will be working with a watchmaker to create a commemorative jacket for the anniversary of the moon landing. “It will be a special limited edition; we’re partnering with the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum,” says Cirker.

Cross Classification

“Outerwear has long been an important part of sportswear collections but these days, more designers are adding outerwear items to provide visual impact on selling floors,” says Berkowitz. “In menswear, outerwear is a great way for lifestyle brands to make a fashion statement.” Indeed, and even tailored clothing companies are jumping on the outerwear bandwagon. John Tighe at Peerless hints of much excitement for fall 2019-20: “Our creative design team is implementing amazing ideas in product development: outerwear with heating elements, charcoal

in linings to de-odorize, lots of cool stuff!” At all price levels, more sportswear collections are adding outerwear to their mix. Lululemon, for example—a brand known primarily for yoga and yoga-influenced apparel—debuted functional outerwear in 2018. The move added to an increase in direct-to-consumer sales, and was considered a win for its investors. But will a proliferation of outerwear in sportswear and clothing departments cut into business in outerwear departments? “Anytime a specific classification gets hot, it inspires interpretations,” says Guion. “At Macy’s, we have a classification zone for outerwear built on a foundation of functional product; we use fashion to enhance and update the assortment. Outerwear in other areas of the men’s store is fashion-inspired ‘third pieces.’ We work diligently to ensure there’s no duplication. For fall ’19, our team is laser focused on curating an elevated assortment of fashion-forward functional outerwear with an emphasis on military details, gray, print/pattern and shine. We’re projecting a very strong season.”

GOOSE PEOPLE

Canada Goose debuted its fall/winter 2018-19 media campaign focused on finding warmth from family and tradition. The brand features five remarkable “Goose People,” paired with a loved one who offers limitless inspiration, guidance and support. Pairings include fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives— photographed in the Canadian Arctic and clad in Canada Goose pieces. Campaign stars include filmmaker Greg Kohs and his son, explorer Ben Saunders and his wife, Champion dogsledder Lance Mackey and his father; as well as Alyssa McCall (director of Conservation Outreach, Polar Bears International) joined by her husband, and Sarain Fox (artist and indigenous rights activist) joined by her mother. Of course, like many manufacturers, Canada Goose faces ongoing challenges from counterfeit merchandise as well as fluctuations in the U.S./China trade situation, with its recent expansion into the Chinese market. The brand has also specifically been targeted yet again by PETA , who enlisted Canadian actor Sarah Jeffrey (from the WB network’s Charmed reboot) in its recent campaign against manufacturers who use down and fur. All the more reason that Canada Goose needs to show the world that Goose People are good people.

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OUTERWEAR

BY THE NUMBERS: Department store outerwear business continues strong, driven by fashion and price! By Karen Alberg Grossman BREAKDOWN OF FALL/WINTER OUTERWEAR VOLUME BY FABRIC NYLON (DOWN-FILLED)

5%

LEATHER/ SUEDE

2%

3%

2018

20%

100%

10%

25%

AUG/SEPT

41%

20%

BREAKDOWN OF FALL/WINTER '18/'19 RETAIL SALES BY MONTH

4%

FAUX LEATHER/SUEDE

25%

DEC

6%

NYLON (SYNTHETIC-FILLED)

45%

JAN/FEB

25%

WOOL/ WOOL BLENDS

6%

CANVAS/ OTHER

18%

OCT

2019

NOV

20%

25%

100%

TOTAL

2019

2018

BEST-SELLING ITEMS: PACKABLE DOWN AND PUFFER JACKETS

71%

BREAKDOWN OF FALL/WINTER OUTERWEAR VOLUME BY OTD PRICE 69%

25%

UNDER $100

PERCENT OUTERWEAR VOLUME SOLD AT TICKET PRICE?

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5

26%

4%

$100-$200

5%

$200-$300

BREAKDOWN OF FALL/WINTER OUTERWEAR VOLUME BY TYPE SHORT JACKET/ BOMBER

60% 30%

2018 100%

58%

ANORAK/ PARKA

30%

3%

3-IN-1/ VEST

4%

2%

¾ LENGTH/ TOPCOAT

3%

5%

OTHER TOTAL

5%

2019 100% GRAY BOXES 2018 | BLUE BOXES 2019

SOURCE: MR MAGAZINE RETAIL/VENDOR SURVEY CONDUCTED IN JANUARY 2019

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MARKETING MATTERS

SOCIAL COMMERCE CUES A primer on social media platforms, pros and cons, and how to maximize your investment. By Laurie Schechter While the concept of social commerce is not new, 2019 shows growing opportunity for retailers to maximize this increasingly powerful tool. Here are the stats that prove why it’s more than a passing trend and which platforms provide the most impact. The way we consume media has undergone a significant evolution. According to a recent report from the U.K. regulator for the communications services, Ofcom, the U.S. population spends three times as much time mobile browsing as they do on a desktop. The marketing strategy consultancy Kepios’ collected data counted nearly 3.4 billion active users of social media as of October 2018, up by 10% from the year prior. According to data from e-commerce platform BigCommerce, e-commerce is growing 23 percent year-over-year, the largest category being clothing, shoes, and accessories. Social media’s effect is potent. Curalate, a platform that merges social and commerce, found in its study of 1,000 U.S. consumers 76 percent had bought an item they saw in a brand’s social post with those in the youngest segment, 18- to 24-year-olds, being most receptive to shoppable posts. Nearly four out of 10 of these consumers overall were influenced by user-generated content, inspired to purchase by images

of real people who had bought a product. Global Web Index, a technology company that provides audience profiling data, reports 40 percent of Gen Zers follow brands they admire and 25 percent of them follow brands they consider buying from. Big Commerce compiled data showed 30 percent of online shoppers are likely to buy through social media; 23 percent report social media recommendations and reviews influence their shopping. The numbers increased for the millennials in this group to 51 percent likely to buy. Among men, the numbers were most interesting. BigCommerce reports men spent 28 percent more than women online in the past year. Men also trend higher than women in their likeliness to purchase on Facebook (23 percent vs. 17), Instagram (18 percent vs. 11), Twitter (17 percent vs. 7) and Snapchat (15 percent vs. 6). It’s clear knowing your customer demographics, offering valuable content brand-created and user-generated, streamlining the shopping experience, building customer relationships, and putting your brand in front of the shopper wherever they are on social, are all imperative. Here are the platforms, the pros, and cons, you should consider:

In one study of 1,000 U.S. consumers, 76% had bought an item they saw in a brand’s social post.  —Data from Curalate

FACEBOOK

AMONG TOP INDUSTRIES: Fashion, Retail, Entertainment, Health and Wellness TARGET AGE AND GENDER: 25 to 55+, 53 percent female vs. 47 percent male; 25 to 34, 29.7 percent of all users ACTIVE USERS: 2.27 billion monthly; 1.5 billion daily OTHER STATS: On Facebook: 77 percent of college graduates, 77 percent of adults making over $75,000, 81 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 78 percent (30 to 49), 65 percent (50 to 64), 56 percent of online seniors 65+ PROS: There is no bigger platform. You have to be there, especially for an older audience. CONS: Data scandals in the news and fake news have sullied the platform, diminished popularity for the younger audience and organic reach has dropped precipitously. BEST USE: Use Facebook ads and analytics. Engage, according to one expert 46 percent of users expect brands to provide customer service on Facebook. With 150 million users in 2018, Facebook Stories should be utilized and watched for ads. Video showing how-tos and behind-thescenes is a must. Look for Facebook to roll out 5- to 15-second video ads for all users.

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Men trend higher than women in their likeliness to purchase on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.  —Data from BigCommerce

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMONG TOP INDUSTRIES: Retail, Fashion, Health and Wellness, Travel and Hospitality TARGET AGE AND GENDER: 18 to 29 men and women

ACTIVE USERS: 69 million users in the U.S., 46 percent of them daily OTHER STATS: Use Twitter: 24 percent of American adults, 32 percent of college graduates, 77 percent of adults making over $75,000, 40 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 27 percent (30 to 49), 19 percent (50 to 64), 8 percent (65+) PROS: Becoming a discovery hub for consumers, a great place to highlight expertise, products and creativity. A goto for customer service. Seventy-seven percent of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to. Seventy-four percent follow small businesses to get product updates. CONS: 500 million Tweets are sent each day, 6,000 Tweets every second. You could get lost in the shuffle. BEST USE: Showcase authority, products and innovation and as a customer service tool.

PINTEREST

AMONG TOP INDUSTRIES: Fashion, Health and Wellness, Beauty, Travel and Hospitality TARGET AGE AND GENDER: 18-45, mostly women

however, 40 percent of new sign-ups are men. One in four U.S. users are men. ACTIVE USERS: 250 million users a month OTHER STATS: Use Pinterest: 35 percent of adults making over $75,000; 34 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 34 percent (30 to 49), 26 percent (50 to 64); 34 percent live in the suburbs; 25 percent of Pinterest users are daily, 31 percent weekly. Eightyseven percent of pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest. PROS: A powerful discovery and sales platform because of its unique visual, social and search capabilities with Shop the Look and Pinterest Lens features. Ninety percent use the platform when looking for new ideas, products and inspiration. Forty-eight percent of male users choose the platform for search over traditional search engines. CONS: Skews female BEST USE: Shoppable pins and promoted pins. It’s the number one shopping platform for Millennials, who shop on the site at four times the rate of other digital platforms and 67 percent of the time when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Drives referral traffic. Advertising is seamlessly integrated and gets pinners’ attention.

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

AMONG TOP INDUSTRIES: Fashion, Health and Wellness, Beauty, Travel and Hospitality TARGET AGE AND GENDER: 18 to 35 skews female but that’s changing; especially popular among millennials. ACTIVE USERS: 1 billion monthly active users OTHER STATS: Use Instagram: 64 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 33 percent (30 to 49), 21 percent (50 to 64) PROS: Highest user engagement among all the major social networks, expanded product tagging and Shopping Channel in the Explore section CONS: Visually-driven platform where users expect high-quality visuals, so if you’re not able to produce, then go elsewhere. BEST USE: Instagram Stories, product tagged posts and shoppable posts. Watch for monetization options on IGTV to open up.

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EUROPEAN MARKETS

INSIGHTS FROM ITALY

A look at what’s coming for fall ’19 out of Milan and Florence. By Stephen Garner Photos by Enrico Labriola If there was ever a must-see destination in the world of menswear, it would be Italy. Twice a year I have the pleasure and privilege to make the journey from New York to the storied cities of Florence and Milan to get a taste of what’s to come for the following season. From mingling with buyers and clothing makers, to chatting with other journalists and the occasional “peacock” at Pitti Uomo, I try my best to surmise what’s hot in menswear and what has staying power. What’s hot, is the easy part. Within a few hours you’ve already lost count of how many times you’ve heard just two labels over and over again. Practically on the tip of everyone’s tongue: Virgil Abloh and Gucci. Sure, both Abloh and Alessandro Michele at Gucci have done a lot for fashion over the past few years—with both labels driving much of the streetwear (and street style) trends within our little menswear bubble, but there’s plenty of room for others as well. With everyone wondering what was next, I couldn’t help but notice how many people (even the devoted suit wearing gents) are wearing sneakers with their suits. Now, I know that magazines have been pushing this look for a few years now, but man is this trend everywhere. From the chunky sole “dad” sneaker to the classic Chuck Taylor hi-top, it was hard for me to spot a dress shoe. Perhaps now’s the time to diversify that sneaker selection? But to counter all the streetwear hype, a few designers are reevaluating their stance. At Ermenegildo Zegna, while designer Alessandro Sartori continues to infuse his couture runway collection with elements of streetwear, he’s now reembracing the suit (albeit sometimes with leg straps and/or hook fasteners instead of buttons). Mixing tailored outerwear and jackets with some fuller volume pants, the look is fresh, modern and maybe even salable. And believe it or not, Sartori has also added (gasp!) ties to this collection. Neckwear enthusiasts, rejoice! Overall, designers in Milan and Florence are not abandoning the suit despite murmurs for a few seasons now about the slowing of sales in tailored clothing. Brunello Cucinelli is championing its “gentleman at ease” this season with the introduction of tailored elements mixed with a touch of unexpected creative elements. The brand is even launching its made-to-measure program this season as well as doubling down on its formalwear with a fabulous new silk tux—a must-see. Further, at Boglioli, they’ve returned to what they do best: beautiful soft jackets and topcoats in interesting fabrics and fancies after a spring season they claimed was a bit too “fashion” for its customers’ tastes. So, with a “return to tailored” trend seemingly starting to take hold, what exactly has staying power? I’d say your best bet is don’t get too excited for the full return of the dandy lad. When tailored does make a full comeback, it’s not going to be of the same ilk as the #Menswear movement of the late 2000s. It’s going to have more casual aspects to it, more streetwear-infused elements, and more technological properties to the garments. But for now, don’t ignore sneakers, don’t ignore streetwear and continue to embrace the truly unique and beautifully-made sartorial pieces that will set your store apart from the rest.

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MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

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ROUND TABLE

SHOW TIME

What makes a great trade show? How can we bring back the energy and excitement of years gone by? Here are some good ideas from outspoken industry insiders. By Karen Alberg Grossman For decades, retailers have been fantasizing about combining all trade shows into a single mega-show under one roof vs. the familiar scenario of schlepping all over town (try finding a NYC taxi in a snowstorm!) to disparate shows in convention centers, hotels and piers. While consolidation seems unlikely, here’s what MR readers are suggesting.

David Levy, Levy’s Nashville

Things shows can offer to improve the experience for retailers: ■ Discount codes on air travel ■ Hotel accommodations ■ Transportation to/ from airport ■ Protein-rich meals ■ Opening night mixer ■ Proper layout for ease of walking ■ Vendors and booth numbers provided ahead of event ■ Clean bathrooms ■ Controlled temperatures ■ Proper lighting

■ Early entry for retailers if necessary ■ Place to sit and work ■ Charging stations ■ Confirmed uniform show dates versus changing dates for whatever reasons ■ Placement of new/ small vendors in open areas so retailers can review quickly and engage if interested

Gary Williams, Gary Williams Showroom

What makes a good trade show? Great brands with modern/directional product to draw in top retail customers. The best venue is a facility that can support mass transit and is convenient for vendors to set up and move in/out. The atmosphere should be exciting and upbeat. There’s nothing worse than a poorly lit show with loud music, which seems to be the trend nowadays.  Shows should be well laid out with clear signage so retailers can find specific categories/brands based on their particular needs and interests. Retailers shouldn’t have to run the gauntlet to find what they need. Good food and refreshments are important. It doesn’t have to be haute cuisine, just healthy well-presented options that should be free for retailers and reasonable for vendors. The glaring problem (in NY and Vegas in particular) is the fractionization of the market. Simply put: too many venues and not enough retailers. This dilutes both traffic and excitement. If the goal of trade shows is to make things easier for retailers, our present situation works against this. Why can’t the various show organizations get together and figure out how to conduct their shows under one roof? In NYC everything should be held at the Javits. This would make a powerful statement and the retailers would be extremely happy. I fear if we continue along our present course, the large national trade shows will become a thing of the past while smaller and more agile regional shows like the Chicago Collective will be the beneficiaries.

Gary Wasserman, Left Coast Tee

In my opinion, there’s never been a better time for better/luxury men’s stores to prosper. With so many appropriate dress-up and dress-down options for professionals, entrepreneurs, creative types, etc., there’s so much more to sell. This means that specialty stores must be more unique, directional and exciting than ever. What can the trade shows do to facilitate reinvention for their retailer attendees? What about an area dedicated to all the new tools and options for improving the in-store experience. This could mean

bringing in lighting specialists, visual design experts, makers of modern fixtures and mannequins, video support, merchandising ideas, custom sound systems, graphic designers for marketing, tech companies for systems, analytics and overall efficiencies. These exhibitors could also host joint morning breakfast seminars or evening cocktail events. What better captive audience could these companies find than a large group of retailers desperate to reinvent themselves? Trade shows should also consider more drama and brand involvement in displays around the entire show floor to highlight specific areas. Create fabric and color kiosks supported by the brands to give direction for the season and to expose the stores to new concepts and resources.

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Dan Farrington, Mitchells Stores

The trade shows can be a grind with the open format and lots of people wanting the retailer’s time—it’s never “just five minutes” and when someone pulls you in and tries to show the whole line, we get trapped. Every wholesaler should have their best and most unique items visible and be ready with a really short pitch on what makes them special. We do love (at Pitti and MRket/

Project) when small vendors have an opportunity to show without a big booth. A good mix of bigger collections and emerging brands is great. Being in the NYC area, we have the luxury of not having to work the big guys at the show. We don’t really expect to discover big new collections at the shows, but instead hope for small finds and special items.

Robert Ettinger, Ettinger

Fred Derring, Jerry Park and Virginia Sandquist, DLS Outfitters

John Coffman, Coffman’s

I thinking some consolidation of the shows is certainly helpful. Those of us from outside the NYC area have only a limited amount of time in the city and we certainly want to make it as productive as possible. At the trade shows, we’re trying to find the next hot new line or item whereas we shop established lines in their showrooms. I think seminars done by fellow retailers can be very productive if done early morning or late afternoon with cocktails. Transportation from the shows is often an issue so help with that is always welcome.

■ All the shows should be in one location, or in close proximity. It’s really sad that buyers have to schlepp all over the city to cover a couple of shows. That’s lots of lost time. ■ It would be nice if the shows invested in good lighting—something bright that shows color well, maybe not so harsh! ■ Music is nice as background. However when the volume makes it difficult to converse, it feels like we’re being told to wrap it up. ■ The layout of the shows is not always logical and the signs are so high, you miss what you’re looking for, especially in Vegas. Project sticks the big booths right in the middle, and then in-between you have smaller booths that get lost. At Las Vegas Project, the Tents are beautiful and nicely put together with great lighting, carpeting and clean booth lines, but the rest of the floor seems like a stepchild. NY Project is fine but lacks excitement; Liberty is laid out nicely and is easy to work; the seminars are well situated in the middle of the room to one side, with easy access and even a refreshment bar. Not to tout Bruce of the Chicago Collective, but he’s always in the market and at other shows, speaking with manufacturers and stores to determine what’s best for his show, politics aside! ■ Create more seating! Keep the couches, but add more tables and chairs throughout the show floor so we can sit at a small table and regroup rather than take up space at someone’s booth. Maybe open up the café area for people to use when it is not lunchtime, but also add tables at the opposite end from the café. ■ Reusable badges would be nice; why not be eco-friendly? ■ A great deal of the shows’ atmosphere is fixed: high ceilings, poor lighting, bad acoustics, no electrical outlets and food/drink costs that are 30 percent higher than typical NYC prices. Not customer friendly! The Liberty and Park Lane shows have brought back some of the intimacy with lower ceilings, better lighting, narrow hallways, making buying/reviewing collections a more comfortable process. ■ The Javits Center is a challenge but there are ways to make it better. Uniformity in booths may seem to eliminate creativity but actually it’s the opposite. Let the merchandise tell the story! The show and the aisles are designed for a bygone era when we had five to 10 times more stores. Bring the aisles in closer and reduce the size of those booths that take up a block and could be accomplished in 20 feet. ■ Forget ego: The shows should be smaller. The industry is shrinking but the show still feels like a “Big Box Show;” Vegas takes it to a level on steroids!

MR MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2019

Fresh back from Pitti Uomo in Florence Italy, there are various observations I would make about the success of a trade show for both the attendees/buyers and the exhibitors—and specifically for Ettinger. For the buyers, their remit is so huge now, they need to see maybe 100 brands in 2 to 3 days and their focus is very much on ‘what’s new, new, new’. Making sure we show them that, and succinctly, is key—we get that! For the organizers, they too must play their part and ensure that new and up-and-coming brands are brought into the show each and every time to keep it fresh and exciting to attend. For us/Ettinger, it’s all about internationalism and reaching the global audience that we are now selling to—the broader and wider the attendee list, the better it is. Trade shows used to be about taking orders, but no more; they’re now just a ‘stage,’ with orders that hopefully follow.

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ROUND TABLE

Murry Penner, M Penner

Jose Bolado, J. Bolado

Obviously I would like a better selection of vendors in one place. Unfortunately, trade fair costs are driving out a large group of vendors who are looking for more affordable options to show their collections.

First, the consolidation of MRKET and PROJECT into one venue at the Javits was a big reason why I started attending these shows again. Plus these shows had already instituted transportation support that has also been a godsend—thank you Celeste. The VIP programs have added an element of civility to the chaos inherent in these shows. Besides the food, it affords us a quiet comfortable space to actually organize, review, and rough out orders while everything is still fresh. Finally, the show staff really does seem respectful of our time and always eager to help with whatever we need. All of this is already a dramatic departure from the DC era of years past; I don’t doubt that these initiatives have also added value for the vendors. I’ve never been one to take advantage of seminars, though there are occasionally ones that sound interesting. Nor can I comment on the importance of free cocktails as I have little trouble running into one wherever I go. One thing I would like to see is a more curated assortment of passionate vendors. There is so much duplication…many dozens of jeans in booth after booth, for example. And so many booths with disinterested staff on their phones all day. In the same way that we work very hard at managing assortments in the store, I should see the same process at the shows. Nothing discourages a customer more than too many choices. I also think this would allow the up and comers to stand out. I fondly remember the early days when the designers were always in their booths. You should give Rob Comstock and Alex Julian a free booth for this reason alone.

Marc Weiss, Management One

Trade shows face the same challenges as the retailers they serve: Neither offers the first release of fashion. Like their customers, retailers can shop for product and trends on line at their convenience. Retailers are looking for product every week, not twice a year. If you’re chasing the next hot line, chances of finding it first at a trade show are slim. Trade shows should offer not just a great assortment of vendors but also influential vendors and emerging designers. I would go to a show just to meet a rising star. What can improve at the big shows is what made them big in the first place, convenience. Here are a few thoughts: ■ Universal pass to all shows going on at the same time. Do not put the retailer in between the issues of competing shows. ■ Great transportation between all venues. ■ Digital directions and maps, while you are at the show. ■ Online calendars when you register to make appointments with vendors ■ Better community space, where you can plug in, relax and hangout, with great Wi-Fi connectivity. ■ Easy hotel registration. In some markets check-in can be a long waiting process ■ Keep like vendors together. ■ Provide category lists online and vendors that match. Better directories that are easier to update digitally. ■ You can get an online mortgage faster than you can register at a show. You should be able to register via your smart phone and not fill out paperwork. The goal is to bring people in, not keep them out. ■ Overall use of technology wherever possible to make the experience more convenient. ■ The ultimate question is will the trade shows innovate? What would a disruptor do? Will the trade shows decide to truly innovate or let someone else create the new model?

Craig Beecroft, Beecroft & Bull

To combat the scourge of buttonholing (buttonhole: verb, to attract the attention of and detain someone in conversation, typically against his or her will), exhibitors should be fined, or retailers issued a cattle prod, or at the very least a whistle, to defend themselves when buttonholers strike! Ho ho ho…just kidding! I sympathize with our friends on the other side of the table: We all gotta make a living. I minimize it by walking really fast like I gotta use the bathroom, or I hold my cell phone to my ear even if I’m not on a call. The food was improved last time but it can always be better. Last season, I was contacted by a car service for transportation to and from the Javits, which was thoughtful, useful, and a very nice touch. I know there are lots of buses, but I’m afraid if I get on one, I’ll end up in Newark, Cleveland (no offense, Wally) or worse, the Port Authority Terminal, from which there’s no escape.

Gary Flynn, M. Dumas & Sons

Trade shows…it’s such a shame what’s become of them! It used to be a critical part of our shopping for a new season. Now, it’s just a way to work a number of appointments under one roof. There just isn’t the energy that there once was.

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12/19/18 12:11 PM


MRQ

INDUSTRY DEALMAKER Allan Ellinger on the state of the industry and his favorite mergers. By Karen Alberg Grossman Delivering Good, the charity you founded as Fashion Delivers, is one of our industry’s most respected 501(c)3s. How did it start?

In September 2005, my wife and I were watching a telethon for the victims of hurricanes Rita and Katrina. I was so moved that I decided that in addition to writing a check, I’d organize a group of manufacturer friends to contribute clothes to the victims. I called 40 companies; all agreed to participate. I also convinced four major banks to give us cash. Thirty years later, after merging with K.I.D.S., Delivering Good has donated $1.8 billion worth of product worldwide.

Wow! Can we backtrack to how you got into the M&A business? I started with a brief stint in retail directly out of college. I then switched to wholesale, gaining experience running every facet of a fashion company. This serendipitously prepared me to form MMG Advisors.

How many deals would you guess you’ve put together and what were the best ones? I’ve been doing this for 30 years, but I’ve never counted. We strive to do deals that are strategic, sustainable, and result in happy buyers and sellers. It’s an incredible feeling when that happens. I’m very proud of the value we’ve added to every transaction, the personal wealth we’ve created for our clients and the companies we’ve helped build via acquisitions. While there’s a buyer and seller in every deal, few

are actual mergers. In fact, my only true merger was Fashion Delivers joining with K.I.D.S. to form Delivering Good. And my second marriage!

Who were your mentors and what did you learned from them?

John Kornblith, the Chairman of Intercontinental Apparel, an amazing man who taught me how to bring inspirational leadership to an organization, and how to always put the customer first. He not only ran Pierre Cardin but also owned 21 McDonald franchises; every Wednesday was Big Mac day! We had so much fun at that company but more importantly, he encouraged me to push my creative business ideas to the limit. He gave me a rope with no end.

Your biggest career mistake?

Accepting the presidency of a men’s tailored clothing company without doing sufficient due-diligence on the company’s finances and corporate culture. I stayed for four months.

The brands you most admire and why? Starbucks. I believe it has the most loyal, dedicated and committed customer base.

What advice would you give a young person coming into the apparel business?

Focus on product, supply chain and the economics that drive businesses. Don’t try to be an overnight success. Build on a solid foundation of knowledge and experience. Choose your mentors wisely.   

You’ve stepped down as Board Chairman of Delivering Good; do you plan to retire?

No: I now chair the Nominating Committee to ensure we have the next generation of leadership for long-term sustainability. I hope to stay in the game at both MMG Advisors and Delivering Good as long as I can add value and remain relevant. Both organizations are part of my legacy; it’s wonderful to think I’ve made a difference.

What surprises you today about the state of our industry?

The enormous amount of consolidation, and the speed with which our industry has been impacted by digital commerce.

The retailers you most admire and why? Nordstrom, because of their customer service, corporate culture and the way that management has not allowed the store to become promotional. Zara, because of how they’ve perfected their supply chain.

DELIVERING GOOD

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