Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Buying wedding dresses online: More brides are leaving physical stores at the altar

As a bride to be, Mary Thornally was dreading the experience of shopping for a wedding dress and, ultimately, paying an exorbitant price.

“My sister and I had planned to go look around at stores, but then the whole thought of it was really daunting to me,” said Thornally, a stay-at-home mom and San Francisco Bay Area resident, feeling “overwhelmed” by the thought of trying on dresses in person and making a decision on the spot.

With gowns and alterations averaging $1,509 per bride in 2017, according to wedding site TheKnot, Thornally said she needed a “practical” alternative because she is “drowning in student loan debt” and trying to avoid unnecessary expenses. She worked to keep costs down, for instance, by buying her bouquet at Safeway and having her sister serve as photographer.

from USA Today:

She also decided to buy her wedding dress on the internet, joining a wave of brides who are shopping online for a product long dominated by specialty stores and boutique shops. Online retail, social media, personalized fashion trends, alternative choices and declining marriage rates collectively pose a serious threat to brick-and-mortar wedding retailers.

Thornally ended up buying her dress for her late-August wedding for about $180 and getting it tailored for $160. And she was thrilled with the quality.

“All in all, I think $340 is incredibly cheap,” she said.

Wedding retailers get divorced

As more customers like Thornally embrace online alternatives, average gown prices are falling, and physical stores are struggling to adapt:

David‘s Bridal, once known for the tight grip it held on the wedding business, is facing serious financial challenges. David‘s Bridal still sells about one in three U.S. wedding dresses through its more than 300 stores and website, with estimated annual retail revenue of $791 million, according to market research firm IBISWorld.

But the company recently hired restructuring adviser Evercore to evaluate its options amid what S&P Global Ratings called “weak operating performance and weak liquidity.”

The Gap cut its Weddington Way brand, which primarily sold bridesmaid dresses at Banana Republic locations, in 2017.

J. Crew ended its bridal-wear line in fall 2016.

Many mom-and-pop shops and other wedding retailers have gone out of business, including Alfred Angelo Bridal, which abruptly closed its about 60 stores in a 2017 liquidation that left many brides scrambling to get dresses.

Another problem for traditional wedding dress sellers: Renting a gown is now just as easy as buying – and less expensive.

To be sure, wedding retailers often make money on other products, such as high school prom dresses or wedding accessories. But they live and die on the bridal gown business, which makes up about 43 percent of the wedding retail industry‘s revenue, according to IBISWorld.

The trend of Americans waiting longer to get married, or deciding not to altogether, isn‘t helping. The number of new marriages per 1,000 Americans was 6.9 in 2016, down from 8.2 in 2000, representing decline of about 16 percent in the wedding rate, according to the U.S. government.

With upstart online retailers offering lower prices and customized dresses, brides aren‘t abandoning traditional gowns altogether. But the days of wedding dresses coming in a limited number of shapes, sizes and prices from a select group of stores are coming to an end.

That might be good news for consumers seeking deals and choices. The average price paid for a wedding dress fell 3.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to TheKnot.

But physical retailers often can‘t afford to stock a wide mix of choices yet must continue paying steep real estate costs and invest in costly digital systems.

“The number of weddings has gone down over the last few years, but then there‘s also a trend of brides spending less on their wedding gowns,” said Mathew Christy, S&P Global Ratings analyst who studies David‘s Bridal. “A shopper can go online and do a price comparison between a number of different, similar adjacent products.”

David‘s Bridal left at the altar

For years, David‘s Bridal has been the giant in the budget wedding business. The company‘s wedding dresses average $599, according to IBISWorld.

But the company, which was acquired in 2012 for more than $1 billion by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, has an “unsustainable” amount of debt and not enough money coming in to pay for it, Christy said. The company is turning a profit before interest, taxes and debt payments, but is facing a $520 million term loan due in October 2019.

Ratings agency Moody‘s ranked David‘s Bridal among .

he retailer plans to close nine stores in 2018 for a total of 309 remaining locations by the end of the year. The company‘s digital sales have improved but are still “lagging behind other competitors,” according to S&P.

David‘s Bridal said in a statement to USA TODAY that “our financial outlook is strong and we have ample liquidity to meet our key business objectives today and in the future.”

“The company continues to work with its long-time external legal counsel and has hired an external financial adviser to evaluate a number of options to strengthen our balance sheet so we can increase our financial flexibility and further invest in our business,” David‘s Bridal said.

The company said it is “laser-focused on operational excellence” and “providing a great experience for our customer base.”

To be sure, most wedding dresses are still sold in person – about 95 percent, according to online custom-wedding seller Anomalie. That could ultimately benefit David‘s Bridal if it can do a better job of seamlessly integrating its stores with its digital experience.

Alternatives sprout

But the pursuit of deals, customized dresses and convenience is fueling an online surge that many physical retailers aren‘t well equipped to counteract – much like department stores and have struggled to adapt to the digital age.

The internet, including social media outlets such as Pinterest, has usurped other sources as the primary method of wedding planning. About 92 percent used smartphones to plan their wedding in 2017, up from 42 percent in 2014, according to TheKnot.

Former Apple supply chain guru Leslie Voorhees co-founded online custom-wedding dress seller Anomalie in 2016 after experiencing a “pretty painful” in-person dress-shopping experience and “outrageous prices” when she was engaged to her now-husband and co-founder, Calley Means.

“It‘s crazy to have to pay thousands of dollars for a brand that you haven‘t even heard of, for a dress that you‘re only going to be wearing for one day,” she said.

Anomalie provides brides with the option to customize their dresses and choose from a wide range of sizes that are often difficult to find in physical stores.

Voorhees, who has hired multiple former David‘s Bridal employees to join her team at Anomalie, said David‘s Bridal has “an amazing supply chain and operational ability, but their process is antiquated.”

“Women are understanding that there has to be a better way,” she said.

The customization trend is especially problematic for traditional wedding stores, which can‘t necessarily afford to stock a wide range of dresses. Put simply, brides increasingly want a personal touch to their dresses. It can take the form of embroidery, a touch of color, special pockets or neck line adjustments.

“Women still do love the traditional bridal silhouettes and colors but want to put their spin on it, especially given the trends of customization in other areas of shopping,” Voorhees said. “We can really incorporate personal touches that makes the dress special.”

For her wedding, San Francisco-area resident Thornally ended up buying her dress on ASOS, which sells a wide variety of apparel, including hoodies, jeans, skirts and men‘s items.

She wasn‘t expecting much. But with free shipping and 30 days to return the dress, she figured, why not?

“It was very low risk for me to purchase the dress,” she said.

When she took it to her local tailor, she felt vindicated in her decision to go digital.

“The seamstress said she was really impressed with the quality of the fabric,” Thornally said.

Thornally said she had considered going to David‘s Bridal but never did. She had also heard from a friend about a local boutique store.

But when she looked it up, “it was closed permanently,” she said. “You‘re seeing a lot of these boutiques close.”

What Is Business Casual Wear For Women

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

New Vintage Clothing Shop in Hellertown is Owner's Second Location

RC Moore Vintage

The entrance to RC Moore Vintage Millinery, which opened Monday at its new location at 1561 Main Street in Hellertown. The store had been located on W. Third Street in Bethlehem. RC Moore also operates a a vintage clothing warehouse on Main Street in Hellertown.

The location of the vintage clothing shop that opened Monday in a cozy storefront at 1561 Main Street (the corner of Main Street and Wagner Avenue) in Hellertown is new, but the business itself isn’t.

Owner RC Moore decided to relocate her Southside Bethlehem retail shop to the borough after opening a walk-in warehouse here about two years ago and falling in love with the town, she said.

RC Moore Vintage

Rose Ellen “RC” Moore, owner of RC Moore Vintage and Millinery in Hellertown. (FILE PHOTO)

The new retail shop will be open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., and sells both women’s and men’s vintage fashions, shoes, jewelry, accessories and retro bric-a-brac.

Not a consignment shop, Moore purchases pre-1985 vintage clothing from a variety of sources for resale, both in her store and online, where you can find “everything from specialized steampunk attire to burlesque and belly dancing apparel and glamorous drag outfits,” according to her website. A milliner (or hat maker) she is also known for her custom, one-of-a-kind creations, which include apparel.

Moore said she has found the Hellertown community to be very supportive and is looking forward to hosting a grand opening event at her new store in the near future.

“Stop in and share our joy and appreciation,” she posted on Facebook Monday.

Her warehouse shop at 1180 Main Street (behind Paprika’s) will remain open, but will now be open to customers by appointment only, she said.

For more information about that, as well as regular updates from RC Moore Vintage, like her business Facebook page, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

The store where RC Moore Vintage & Millinery is now located had been vacant for a number of years. One of its last uses was as a bakery.

Marilyn Monroe’s is a familiar face inside RC Moore Vintage.

A vintage Saucon Valley letterman’s jacket is one of many hard-to-find items for sale at RC Moore Vintage &  Millinery in Hellertown.

Iconic Barbie fashion comes alive through vintage clothing collaboration

Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, November 13, 2018 12:27PM EST

NEW YORK -- In time for her 60th birthday, Barbie has a new collaborator bringing her wide-ranging style to life for humans.

One of the largest sellers of vintage-inspired clothes, Unique Vintage, is working with Barbie parent Mattel on the first women's line to meticulously duplicate some of the doll's most iconic early looks. In the process, the company also has taken care of the one thing critics love to hate about Barbie, her very plastic hourglass physique, by offering the outfits in sizes XS to 4X.

The collaboration, Barbie x Unique Vintage, celebrates 1950s and '60s Babs. The company that sells online and in about 500 boutiques around the world plans to go even bigger for Barbie's big 6-0 next year, offering key fashion moments from across the rest of her decades.

Until then, for fall, we caught up with all things Barbie x Unique Vintage in the swanky Jewel Suite designed by jeweler-to-the-stars Martin Katz in the Lotte New York Palace hotel on Madison Avenue. Katz paired a few of the looks with some of his own bling, from $36,000 button earrings in a rainbow of sapphires, garnets and tourmaline to a $48,000 cocktail ring of Bombay spinel cabochons and round diamonds.

All of the glam pleases Katie Echeverry. She's the founder, CEO and creative director of Unique Vintage, an 18-year-old company with 60 employees based in Burbank, California. With her long blonde locks and Barbie-esque dimensions, Echeverry said she was a Babs fan as a girl but was also a "tomboy" who loved to play softball.

During a recent round of media interviews explaining how the collab came about, Echeverry donned a Kelly-green shawl dress worn by Barbie in 1962 and done by Unique Vintage in a forgiving stretch fabric. Noteworthy was Echeverry's most definitely un-Barbie upper-arm tattoo, on proud display in the off-shoulder outfit, as she recalled her luck.

"When I emailed Mattel, I didn't think they'd actually reply back, but they did, and I was thrilled," Echeverry told The Associated Press. "They ran with it. I couldn't believe they hadn't done it before."

Echeverry worked closely with Mattel but "they didn't dictate what I chose." Mattel opened its archives to her as she went about duplicating outfits, with adjustments to account for the real human form. She said she chose looks that "spoke to me."

Barbie, the doll, first hit store shelves in 1959. That year, she stepped out in a swirl of gold and white brocade for evening. The dress was among those Echeverry picked and sells for $118 on The matching collar coat with three-quarter sleeves trimmed in faux fur goes for $148.

Unique Vintage has brought Barbie fashion full circle, in a sense. It was a designer for actual women, Charlotte Johnson, who was hired to be the doll's first fashion creator. A Mattel team took over soon after Barbie's debut.

Echeverry's first Barbie go-around dropped in the spring. Social media fans of vintage and of Barbie took notice and sales have been brisk, she said. For fall, her prices range from $88 for an A-shaped Barbie flare skirt in green with a white hem to $198 for the doll's red matinee sleeveless sheath dress and short jacket trimmed with calico-colored faux fur.

It was important to Echeverry to choose looks that have remained iconic through the years but were wearable by women in the broad range of sizes she is committed to providing.

"I was like a kid in a candy store," she said. After the first season went on sale, Echeverry watched the response online, where nostalgia kicked in among fans who recalled favourite outfits, some gushing how they'd always wondered what it would be like to wear the looks themselves.

That goes a long way in explaining why Echeverry was more than a little dedicated to getting the clothes right.

"I went online and ordered every single vintage outfit myself. Mattel offered to lend them to me, but I was a little nervous about having some of their archives," she said. "In our fittings, we literally had the original Barbie dress next to the model. We moved Barbie. When I sourced fabrics overseas, I had Barbie clothes in my pocket and I was making sure we got as close as possible."

She was also dedicated to the price points she knows her buyers are after.

"I know our customer and she doesn't want to spend a lot of money, and I understand that," Echeverry said.

Unique Vintage sells shoes, hats, gloves, sunglasses and jewelry to complement the Barbie outfits. The company offers a red pillbox hat, for instance, to go with Barbie's 1962 red flare coat done in a soft felt with the same swing and puffy three-quarter sleeves and bow the doll wore, down to the white lining done in a white poly satin.

Barbie wore a cloche tweed hat with a rose with her "Career Girl" tweed pencil skirt set in 1963. Unique Vintage offers a black fascinator with a rose instead, for $22.

As for her afternoon of glam in the Martin Katz suite, with its shiny black grand piano and sparkling crystal ceiling decor on the 53rd floor of the Towers at Lotte, Echeverry was impressed.

"This is so glamorous. It's so much fun. The view's incredible," she said.

While noting Barbie's evolution as a "strong kick-ass woman" over the years, Echeverry said she was ready for a bit of her own reality after her recent promotional go-round.

"It's unusual to find me in a dress," she said. "As soon as this interview's over I'll be putting on my jeans and my T-shirt and be back to the regular Katie."

Get thrifty: Our 7 favourite vintage clothing stores in Vancouver

Fashion trends often come and go as fast as the weather changes.

Of course, you want to keep up as much as you can but it can get expensive if you’re in and out of high street stores all of the time.

That’s where vintage shopping comes in and Vancouver is home to a selection of amazing stores where you can find one-of-a-kind pieces from different eras to complement your style. Vintage shopping also allows you to be part of the sustainable clothing movement while supporting local businesses.

We’ve teamed up with Chevrolet Spark (the ultimate city car) to showcase our seven favourite vintage stores in Vancouver that need to be on your radar.


Founded in 2005, Mintage is one of the best places you’ll find vintage clothing in East Vancouver. The store is home to a selection of curated new vintage-inspired pieces, clothing and accessories. The store has an amazing vintage denim collection and leather jackets that will have you turning heads. Plus, Mintage recently opened another location on Broadway!

Address: 1714 Commercial Drive
Instagram: @mintage

Woo Vintage Clothing

With an inviting storefront, Woo Vintage catches your eye when you’re walking along Main Street. It was founded in 2004 and it’s home to an awesome collection of clothing from eras ranging from the 1950s onwards. It’s a super cozy boutique so don’t be surprised if you stay for a longer than you expected talking to the friendly business owners.

Address: 4393 Main Street
Instagram: @woovintage

Duchesse Vintage

Tucked away on Columbia Street, this quirky vintage store is one of the city’s hidden gems. It’s home to a collection of hand-selected wearables and curated small home furnishings so you can elevate your wardrobe and your living room after just one visit. Pro tip: This boutique has an awesome selection of jackets and sweaters to take you through winter.

Address: 430 Columbia Street
Instagram: @duchessevintage


Another hidden gem in Vancouver, faulknerandco is located above a coffee shop on East Hastings. If you get lost, look out for the streetside sign! Founder James Faulkner has filled this space with designer vintage pieces hand-selected from the UK, Europe, the US, and Canada. Try on your favourite pieces to get a feel for the sizing!

Address: 136 East Hastings Street
Instagram: @shopfaulkner

Community Thrift and Vintage

Community Thrift and Vintage have one location on Carrall Street in Gastown and another on West Hastings. It’s a social enterprise initiative and thrift store where you’ll find everything from oversized tees, to perfect leather bags, and all kinds of vintage denim jeans and jackets. Check out the accessory collection while you’re there.

Address: 311 Carrall Street | 11 West Hastings Street
Instagram: @communitythriftandvintage

C’est La Vie

You’ll find C’est La Vie in the bustling heart of Main Street and you definitely won’t miss it with its bright pink storefront. It’s a vintage and consignment boutique with a selection of quality, up-to-date pieces for men and women. You can search through baskets filled with scarves, try on one-of-a-kind hats, and find your feet in pristine condition footwear.

Address: 3247 Main Street
Instagram: @cestlavievintage

Far Out Vintage

Far Out Vintage is another downtown boutique where you’ll find all kinds of creative pieces from well-known brands and labels. If you’re on the lookout for some cool and casual wardrobe staples like shirts, tees, and denim jeans, make sure to check this place out the next time you’re in the city.

Address: 165 East Cordova Street
Instagram: @farout_vintage

Instagram: @pressboxvancity

The best part of shopping in your city is the chance to connect with new people and experiences. So it makes sense to have a fuel-efficient car that helps you stay connected. Chevrolet Spark does this by giving you all the tech you need on the go.

Chevrolet Spark/Daily Hive

This includes advanced phone integration such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, MyLink with a 7” capacitive touch screen available 4G LTE WiFi, a rearview camera, and 10 airbags.

If you choose the automatic transmission, you’ll save money on gas as it offers a highway fuel consumption rating of just 6.2 L/100 km.

Find out how the fuel-efficient car could work for your lifestyle here.

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Hair salon & clothing shop Florette now open in Hayes Valley

Hayes Valley has a new hair salon and clothing shop: Florette, which has taken over the space at 112 Gough St. (at Lily) formerly occupied by FLiP salon.

Founder Emily Baedeker, once a Hayes Valley resident, is no stranger to the neighborhood: she worked for eight years in the exact same space, as a stylist at previous tenant Mara's Salon.

She said always had the dream to make the salon her own one day, but eventually decided to move to Southern California instead. Upon her return to San Francisco, she worked out of Edo Salon in the Lower Haight.

Earlier this year, she looked into what it would take to get her first own commercial space, and realized the 1,100-square-foot Hayes Valley property was available.

"The space was always like an anchor to me," she said.

In addition to her history with the space, Baedeker says she chose it for its central location and proximity to BART and Muni stations. "Parking in the area is not great," she added.

She's updated the space with a fresh coat of paint and an '80s vibe. Those who walk might have already noticed two wooden planters outside, made by her father. Unfortunately, the flowers she planted in them were stolen overnight.

Baedeker, who's been cutting hair for 20 years, initially trained in Beverly Hills, under celebrity hair stylist Louis Licari. At Florette, she will work alongside three other stylists: Jordan Streetzel, Jillian Gnarling and Dionne Stevens.

All four will use hair dyes and styling products free of ammonia and artificial fragrances. Baedeker said that her goal is to share healthier hair products with everyone, not only those who "drink kale juice and practice yoga every day."

She's even created her own hair and body product, a shine serum that subs out silicone for broccoli seed oil as its key ingredient. The shop's name, Florette, is partially intended as a reference to broccoli florets.

Baedeker says that her business philosophy is to put kindness above all else: to the earth, to the people she works with, as well as to the neighborhood. She says she wants to create work-life balance for her stylists, and take urgency away as much as possible.

The mother of an eight-year-old boy, Baedeker said that one of her goals is to have a charity supporting single mothers attached to her product line.

Florette also offers a small assortment of beauty products, jewelry and vintage clothing, sourced from local thrift stores or the Treasure Island flea market.

The store's focus will be on local designers and women-owned businesses. Baedeker hopes to discover some new designers during the upcoming West Coast Craft fair.

The business also has a charitable component, hosting workshops on Friday nights that double as a platform for artists to raise funds for their preferred causes. For example, a recent gathering dedicated to lipstick and self-defense collected donations for Planned Parenthood.

Florette offers appointments Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.; it's closed Sundays. On Mondays, stylist Dionne Stevens works at the salon by appointment only. Appointments can be booked online.

Learn how to style pants for the colder months

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  1. Learn how to style pants for the colder months
  2. Robotic pants offer hope for mobility  WKRG News 5Full coverage

Only Kendall Jenner could wear cargo pants this expensive

'We still don't know where his pants are.' Naked man caught on surveillance eating ramen

It started with chicken wings, a beer and a burglar.

It went downhill from there.

A St. Petersburg police officer was investigating a Nov. 6 break-in at The Chattaway restaurant, reviewing surveillance video that shows the burglar devouring a plate of chicken wings and enjoying a beer inside the kitchen. But then the officer stumbled across another incident from the night before.

The video shows a man riding his bike up to the restaurant at 358 22nd Ave S, pedaling around the parking lot for 10 minutes, then slipping in through the back gate. After wandering around for a bit, he opens the door to a shed for storing odds and ends, and removes them one by one.

Then the man gains access to a restaurant bathroom. And exits without his clothes.

He proceeds to sit naked at one of the restaurant’s picnic tables and digs into a meal he brought with him — Maruchan Instant Lunch ramen. The video also shows him playing the bongos, also naked.

“He came in with pants on but he rode off on the bike without pants,” Chattaway server Chad Pearson said. “I’m not sure if he took his pants with him but we didn’t find them. We still don’t know where his pants are.”

He spray-painted a few chairs, the bongos and a pickle jar, but his handiwork was barely noticeable, manager Amanda Kitto said. Everything was put back so neatly, in fact, it was four hours before anyone noticed he had been there.

“We would not have known about the naked guy without the cop finding that video,” Kitto said.

Police identified the man, who is homeless, but did not release his name publicly. Kitto declined to give his name and said the restaurant will not press charges because he caused no harm.

“His goal was to not break in, his goal was to just hang out at The Chattaway.”

What about the first guy?

Police still are trying to catch him.

He enjoyed the plate of chicken wings and some beer, and stole an estimated $500 worth of stuff, including cash tips, a laptop, a tablet, and a grocery bag he filled with beer.

“He made himself at home,” Kitto said. “He spent over an hour just milling around going room to room and eating and drinking while he did it.”

The man also tried unsuccessfully to access the safe using his hands, a pot handle and tongs.

Kitto is confident that even though the two incidents happened back-to-back, they are not connected.

“I used to always joke and say that if you were going to break into The Chattaway to make sure to grab a beer. And it finally happened.”

Contact McKenna Oxenden at Follow @mack_oxenden

Why the Sharing Economy Has Come to Apparel

The 20 Best New Running, Hiking, and Swimming Accessories and Apparel

My favorite way to exercise is outside. It doesn’t really matter much what exactly I’m doing; I’m just happiest when I’m able to not only move, but also enjoy fresh air—beautiful scenery is a big bonus. That’s why running and hiking are two of my absolute favorite activities.

For both, and for any outdoor sport, really, having comfortable and weatherproof clothing is key. If you’ve ever run by the water and wished you had another layer between you and that ocean breeze or gotten caught in the rain on a hike and had to spend the day in soggy clothes, you know what I mean. You also have to think more about staying safe (think: reflective gear) and protecting certain vulnerable spots, like your eyes and skin (think: sunglasses and rash guards) when you’re out sweating in the sun and sea.

The truth is, the weather can be super unpredictable—but finding the right gear doesn’t have to be a guessing game. To help you be fully prepared for your next outdoor workout, our editors tested tons of apparel and gear on their recent runs, swims, hikes, and more. The winners below are the items they loved so much that they’re still wearing them over and over again.

All of our winners are new—released between October 2017 and September 2018. We hope you find some great gear that suits your needs on this list. And don’t forget to check out the complete list of our 2018 SELF Fitness Award winners here.

One Off Apparel produces 20000 units per day

One Off Apparel in West Boylston was one of several manufacturers honored as Manufacturer of the Year at the Massachusetts State House in October. The company produced merchandise for the World Series winners Boston Red Sox and has also done work for the New England Patriots and Boston Celtics. In an interview, owner Jeff Lavin spoke about the company's success since he started in his parents' basement in 2007.

Congratulations on being named a Manufacturer of the Year. What does that mean for a company you started in your parents' basement?

Winning this award is very meaningful to me. I remember back in 2007 I had finished my degree in finance from UMass Amherst, and I told my friends I had decided to print T-shirts in my parent's basement. They were all like, "Jeff, you have gOne Off the deep end man!" Luckily, I was so blessed to have had the support of my mom and dad, who believed in me and encouraged me to give it a shot. So, to go from that kind of a beginning in my career to being recognized as a Manufacturer of the Year by the Massachusetts House of Representatives is an incredible honor.

When did you begin considering the company a manufacturing company as opposed to a fashion or art-based company?

Apparel manufacturing is such a cool industry. Of course, we do a lot of work in the fashion space and interact everyday with very talented artists – both as customers and on our own staff in our art department. But, when it comes to making products, where art meets science, it is very much so manufacturing-forward. When people visit the facility they are always amazed at how industrial the operation is – tons of massive equipment, ink kitchen to mix colors, dark room for exposure of screens, conveyor ovens 20-inch-long, flash cure heaters with light bulbs that heat up to 600-plus degrees and shine bright like the sun for a few seconds when activated. At the end of the day, it's a combination of both art/fashion and manufacturing. You need to be able to work with and produce graphic art, operate the equipment to imprint the apparel, understand ink chemistry based on fabric composition to properly mix and cure/dry the inks, maintain a high level of quality control, and move thousands of units out the door every day.

How has One Off grown since in terms of employees and production?

It's really hard for me to believe the growth since the days of being in my parents' basement making a couple dozen garments per day at best. Today, One Off Apparel is a team of 21 full-time employees, two part time, and a couple of interns who produce over 20,000 units per day.

It seems like the company does a lot of work in the beer industry. Is that a focus?

I'm a huge craft beer fan, so I love working in the beer industry. We are an official print partner of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild and Vermont Brewers Association. Craft breweries like working with us as an apparel & accessories vendor because we're local, obsessed with quality, price competitive, and fast. It's been so cool working with some of my favorite breweries like Trillium, Long Trail, Wachusett, & Jack's Abby. I'm such a huge fan of their beer, it's really an honor to be their apparel vendor.

Has One Off gotten work for Boston sports teams previously?

Yes, over the years we've done printing for the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots. Given that our teams are so good and win all the time, this is probably the best market in the country for an apparel company. I feel very lucky to have done work for these guys, and it's so cool they're winning is both awesome for me as a fan and awesome for me as a business owner.

You were one of the first to produce WooSox material. Was that official team merch?

Yes, in fact the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce approached me to produce hats and tees for their official press conference to make the announcement, and I told them I couldn't help them without written permission from the Red Sox. Sure enough, the chamber was able to get written permission from the Red Sox front office, and we did the first and only official run of WooSox merch. I get hounded nearly everyday from friends and customers to purchase it from me, but I can't do it because we are not licensed to sell it. In fact, the logos we made are not even the official logos yet, it's likely to change. Their branding (or name) isn't finalized. We were only granted permission to create apparel for the announcement.

Are you hoping to land work for whatever the Worcester team will be called?

Yes, absolutely!

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by Zachary Comeau, WBJ staff writer.

Celine Dion launched a gender-neutral children's clothing collection, and it's actually kind of goth

Award-winning vocalist Celine Dion is adding another feat to her impressive resumé: designer. The “My Heart Will Go On” singer has partnered with children’s boutique Nununu for a gender-neutral line of children’s apparel called Celinununu (say that five times fast). We stan an inclusive icon with the voice of a thousand angels.

In a press release sent to HelloGiggles, Nununu said the new Celinununu line “liberates children from the traditional roles of boy/girl, offering them the freedom to choose clothes that strengthen their own power of personality from a tender age.”


Dion, who has become quite the fashion icon in recent years, also teased the collab on Instagram with a fun Mission Impossible-inspired video. She captioned the clip, “I’ve always loved Nununu and what they represent. Partnering with them to encourage a dialogue of equality and possibility makes so much sense.”

Watch Dion’s action-packed video below.

Celinununu’s collection will include over 70 sizes, from 0-6M to 14Y, “harmonizing gender-neutral styles, timeless cuts, a distinct dictionary of symbols, and a minimalistic color palette that lets children shine at every stage,” the press release stated. Prices range from $20-$290. The pieces themselves are both cool and casual. And featuring a mostly gray and black color palette and skull prints, the collection has a baby-goth vibe, which we love.




From biker jackets, to drawstring backpacks, to minimalistic tees, this line has a little bit of everything. If only it came in adult sizes.

The Celinununu collection is already available to shop.

Stylish frequent flyer reveals the ONE pair of comfortable pants she wears on plane trips - and the clothing she avoids ...

For many people getting a good night's sleep on a long-haul flight is next to impossible without a comfortable tracksuit, eye mask and soothing music.

But Anna LaPlaca, a frequent flyer and travel editor, doesn't have to sacrifice style on board after discovering a pair of comfortable yet effortlessly fashionable pants.

'Look, I have nothing against leggings, but I'd prefer not to look as if I just walked out of a yoga class and into a customs checkpoint,' she told My Domaine Australia.

Anna LaPlaca, a self-confessed frequent flyer and editor, disagrees with this formula and believes true relaxation on a plane comes from one pair of pants (pictured)

Anna LaPlaca, a self-confessed frequent flyer and editor, disagrees with this formula and believes true relaxation on a plane comes from one pair of pants (pictured)

Instead she's stumbled upon trousers that replicate the feeling of leggings but without the casual look.

'The geniuses over at Carbon38 designed these pants that, although they could be categorised as "athleisure," are actually so much sleeker than any pair of track pants or joggers,' she said.

The $185 Cigarette Pants may come at a cost but the added details - like subtle front slits - elevate them to a standard of airport chic well worth the price.

The $185 Cigarette Pants (pictured) may come at a cost but the added details - like the subtle front slits - elevate them to a standard of airport chic well worth the price

The $185 Cigarette Pants (pictured) may come at a cost but the added details - like the subtle front slits - elevate them to a standard of airport chic well worth the price

'Because even if I'm stepping off of a plane after nine hours of travel, I never want to look as if I've been cramped in an economy-class seat for that long,' she said
'Because even if I'm stepping off of a plane after nine hours of travel, I never want to look as if I've been cramped in an economy-class seat for that long,' she said

'Because even if I'm stepping off of a plane after nine hours of travel, I never want to look as if I've been cramped in an economy-class seat for that long,' she said

'Because even if I'm stepping off of a plane after nine hours of travel, I never want to look as if I've been cramped in an economy-class seat for that long,' she said.

Even for those still wanting to purchase those reliable leggings, Ms LaPlaca recommends finding ones with an interesting zipper, pattern or texture.

If you usually look like a dream in denim, and still want to wear jeans on your flight, she suggests choosing a loose, boyfriend variety over a skinny leg.

Even for those still wanting to purchase those reliable leggings, Ms LaPlaca recommends finding ones with an interesting zipper, pattern or texture

Even for those still wanting to purchase those reliable leggings, Ms LaPlaca recommends finding ones with an interesting zipper, pattern or texture

As for accessories, the easiest ones to include in your outfit with minimum fuss are sunglasses or a small cross-body bag with a chain handle.

'I've made the mistake of wearing too many accessories to the airport before, and I always quickly regret it,' she wrote previously for Who What Wear

'Security checkpoints are that much worse, and you'll undoubtedly get annoyed by those statement earrings midflight.'

Bright Near-Term Outlook for Textile - Apparel Industry

The Zacks Textile – Apparel industry comprises lifestyle brands, engaged in designing, manufacturing, marketing and distributing fashion and basic apparel, footwear and accessories in the United States and international markets. The industry also houses providers of athleticwear and related equipment and fitness accessories. Most of the textile apparel players operate via stores and digital networks.

Let’s take a look at the industry’s three major themes:

  • Companies in the textile-apparel space will continue benefitting from their brand enhancement initiatives. To this end, impressive product mix, alliances and buyouts, licensing agreements, constant innovation and marketing initiatives are likely to help tap growth opportunities. Further, consumers’ rising inclination toward health and fitness clearly works in favor of activewear and sporting equipment providers. Notably, many companies in this space are making efforts to catch up with changing trends by selling fitness gadgets and adopting other tracking platforms.
  • Accelerated investment in the digital realm is another factor driving growth for most textile-apparel companies. Enhanced payment systems, buy online and pick up at store facility, improved e-commerce sites and effective mobile apps are some of the efforts by the companies. While costs associated with such investments and stiff competition may keep margins under pressure in the near term, companies are working on cost containment.  Incidentally, players are executing stringent measures actions such as streamlining operations, optimizing portfolio and closing down underperforming stores.
  • Companies in the textile-apparel space are looking to take strides internationally. Better global reach provides them with a solid business foundation and enables them to seek opportunities, especially in underpenetrated markets like Asia and Europe. That being said, risks related to volatile currency fluctuations and potential tariff impacts are concerns.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright Prospects

The Zacks Textile – Apparel Industry is housed within the broader Zacks Consumer Discretionary Sector. The industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #31, which places it in the top 12% of more than 250 Zacks industries.

The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates solid near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.

The industry’s position in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gradually becoming more confident about this group’s earnings growth potential. Since the end of July, the industry’s consensus earnings estimate for the current year has increased by 3.5%.

Given the lucrative prospects, we will present a few stocks that have the potential to outperform the market. But before that, it’s worth taking a look at the industry’s shareholder returns and current valuation.

Industry Outpaces Sector and S&P 500

The Zacks Textile – Apparel industry has outperformed the broader Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector as well as the S&P 500 composite over the past year.

The industry has rallied 31.2% over this period comfortably outdoing the S&P 500’s rise of 7.6%. Meanwhile, the broader sector has gained 2.3%.

One-Year Price Performance

Industry’s Current Valuation

On the basis of forward 12-month Price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, which is commonly used for valuing consumer discretionary stocks, the industry is currently trading at 16.67X compared with the S&P 500’s 16.61X and the sector’s 17.89X.

Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 25.88X, as low as 16.25X, and at the median of 21.98X, as the chart below shows.

Price-to-Earnings Ratio (Past 5 Years)

Bottom Line

Textile-apparel players are set to continue gaining from their solid brand management, rising international demand and constant efforts to boost store and digital businesses. Further, rigorous cost-cutting and restructuring efforts are likely to help battle margin woes stemming from rising operating costs and increased marketing investments.

That said, we are presenting three stocks from the Textile – Apparel universe, which sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and are well positioned to capitalize on the opportunities. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Columbia Sportswear Company (COLM - Free Report) : For this marketer and distributor of outdoor and active lifestyle apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment, the consensus EPS estimate for the current year has increased over the last 30 days. This Zacks Rank #1 stock has more than doubled over the past year. The company has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 10.8% and a robust average positive earnings surprise for the trailing four quarters.

Price and Consensus: COLM

lululemon athletica inc. (LULU - Free Report) : The consensus EPS estimate for this yoga-inspired athletic apparel company has gone up over the last seven days. Lululemon has grown significantly in a year and has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 19.2%. Also, the company has an average positive earnings surprise of 19.2% for the last four quarters.

Price and Consensus: LULU

Crocs, Inc. (CROX - Free Report) : The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Colorado-based company’s current year EPS has remained stable in the past 30 days. The company has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 15%. Further, this Zacks Rank #1 stock has rallied considerably in a year’s time. It also has a significant positive earnings surprise for the trailing four quarters.

Price and Consensus: CROX

More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone!

It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 27 billion devices in just 3 years, creating a $1.7 trillion market.

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Click here for the 6 trades >>

Ashley Graham shows off her edgy style in abs-flashing crop top with billowing trousers at Glamour Women Of The ...

She's one of the world's most recognizable swimwear models. 

But on Monday, Ashley Graham poured her famous curves into somewhat more concealing garb as the beauty took to the red carpet at the Glamour Women Of The Year Awards in New York.

The 31-year-old wore a pair of figure-hugging chartreuse green pants for the event.

Dangerous curves ahead: Ashley Graham wowed in chartreuse green pants as the beauty took to the red carpet at the Glamour Women Of The Year Awards in New York on Monday

Dangerous curves ahead: Ashley Graham wowed in chartreuse green pants as the beauty took to the red carpet at the Glamour Women Of The Year Awards in New York on Monday

The plus-size model paired the flattering pants with a white crop top.

The Christian Siriano-designed item sported a flowing green and white flowing cape addition.

The centerpiece of Ashley's makeup was a distinctive cat eye flourish and she wore a dash of nude lip. 

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl was styled by Jordan Foster for the star-studded event, which was sponsored by Kim Crawford Wines.

The eyes have it: The centerpiece of Ashley's makeup was a distinctive cat eye flourish and she wore a dash of nude lip

The eyes have it: The centerpiece of Ashley's makeup was a distinctive cat eye flourish and she wore a dash of nude lip

The Glamour Women of the Year Awards was the go-to spot for celebrities in New York City on Monday night. 

Such luminaries as Amber Heard, 32, Chrissy Teigen, 32, and Claire Danes, 39, blew onlookers away as they led a host of A-listers along the red carpet for the two-day summit's final event.

The Hollywood beauties all stunned in long light-colored dresses as the grabbed the flickers of the flashbulbs at Spring Studios in Tribeca.

Unique: The Christian Siriano-designed item sported a flowing green and white flowing cape addition

Unique: The Christian Siriano-designed item sported a flowing green and white flowing cape addition

Visions of loveliness: Ashley poses with journalist Noor Tagouri [R]

Visions of loveliness: Ashley poses with journalist Noor Tagouri [R]

According to Hollywood Life, Graham is 'sick of people constantly commenting on her weight, and her body—she gets it, she’s a model, but it’s the incessant, never ending speculation over how much she weighs, or if she’s lost any weight, if she’s gained anything, that really, really bugs her.'

The source added, 'Ashley, is just like any other regular woman in that throughout times in her life, even from month to month, her body can fluctuate.

'She’s not some stick thin model who has to constantly watch every calorie that she consumes and obsess about keeping her weight the exact same from hour to hour.'

The double-edged sword of fame: According to Hollywood Life, Graham is 'sick of people constantly commenting on her weight, and her body'

The double-edged sword of fame: According to Hollywood Life, Graham is 'sick of people constantly commenting on her weight, and her body'

Controversy: This comes after Graham was accused by fans of losing too much weight after she attended Vogue Magazine's Force of Fashion summit last month
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue alumna put out a book last year called A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty And Power Really Look Like

Controversy: This comes after Graham was accused by fans of losing too much weight after she attended Vogue Magazine's Force of Fashion summit last month

This comes after Graham was accused by fans of losing too much weight after she attended Vogue Magazine's Force of Fashion summit last month.

After Ashley shared pictures of her look from the event, she received backlash from some fans who thought she was losing 'too much weight' and no longer represented them as a plus-size model.

One fan wrote: 'You look stunning but I'm afraid that being plus sized is never going to be socially accepted when the woman who practically founded it in the first place continues to lose weight or photoshop.'

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue alumna put out a book last year called A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty And Power Really Look Like.

Buying wedding dresses online: More brides are leaving physical stores at the altar

As a bride to be, Mary Thornally was dreading the experience of shopping for a wedding dress and, ultimately, paying an exorbitant price. “...