Thursday, August 30, 2007
A Proposed Reading List
I'm so sorry for the intermittent postings. You see, I've been so busy lately that there's hardly time to write. I've been meaning to do this post since way back when but it really does take some time to do even a semblance of a book review. Yup! Book reviews on a couple of books I bought at Fully Booked two months back. These were a fun read and I think you'll enjoy these too!
Daily Candy A to Z: An Insider's Guide to the Sweet Life
Since I subscribe to Daily Candy's email updates and have tremendously enjoyed their quirky and witty writing style, I just knew this book would be worth buying. More than a hard copy version of my favorite site, it's like a constant reminder to always look at the bright and sweet side of life, because there's plenty of reasons to! So as not to reinvent the wheel, here's the teaser to the book:
Fat day? Passive aggressive family members? Debt the size of a rogue nation’s annual torture budget? You’re in need of some answers.
DailyCandy A to Z has plenty of deep thoughts and frivolous tips on how to make peace with your vices, look better (than your friends), pinch pennies (or splurge shamelessly), and do unto others (or do your ex-boyfriend).
You’ll laugh. (Hopefully.) You’ll cry. (Okay, probably not.) But your life will definitely be sweeter because of it.
Alligators, Old Mink and New Money
I've never had any issues with buying used clothing. For me, those ukay ukay stalls in Baguio are a godsend! I've bought a couple of skirts for about Php50 each and I never fail to get compliments when I wear them! I honestly believe that "one girl's trash is another girl's treasure" so to speak. I just boil the clothes and to me, that's as good as new! So when I saw this book, I could just so relate! This was quite a fun read for me! Apart from tips on vintage shopping, and a couple on how to clean and maintain vintage clothes, I enjoyed reading the author (a former fashion model and vintage store owner), Alison Houtte's profiles of her customers and her love affair with dressing up. The best parts for me of course were her adventures in shopping for the items themselves - going to estate sales and even a supermodel charity sale!
Now this book just jumped out from the shelves because there were so many on stock that I just couldn't help but notice! So I picked up a book, read the back cover and was hooked when I read this sentence: "It explains how the fashion business works - the mark-ups and the come-downs, the fabulous extremens and the shoddy short-cuts." Now I want to know all about that of course! And I wasn't disappointed! Here are a couple of "industry secrets" I'd like to share with you just to get a taste of what this book is all about...
On joining the fashion bandwagon:
"As a small company, it is important to get a few items that are similar to what the fashion pack are hailing as the trends for the season - a Russian-inspired skirt here, an Edwardian-meets-modern-looking shirt there, a sharp jacketm a silver coat. If everyone elses is going red and you're the only one inisisting on turquoise then you won't make the pages of the round-ups at the end of the season. Those 'essentail things for summer/autumn/winter" sections that grace the front pages of the glossies are bread and butter to us new kids on the block."
On large labels' designer showrooms and the buying process:
"They sell out of permanent showrooms or warehouses in town. For the next five days after each of the London, New York, Paris and Milan fashion weeks buyers from the likes of Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman's will all turn up to sexed-up warehouses to view, choose and purchase the clothes...With so much money at stake, the warehouse/showroom set-up is extremely professional, manned by about fifteen to twenty sales staff. The buyers turn up at their allotted time and are walked around the showroom with a clipboard. Each of them is given markers or plastic discs in their own particular colour so that their choices can easily be seen. They are checked in by a sales rep when they arrive and their last order is called up on the computer. They are logged in and their budget is agreed in advance...Occasionally some buyers need to see the clothes on a model, and there is a coterie of stick-thin smiley girls sitting around in thongs backstage, waiting to see if Harvey Nichols wants a quick reminder of that Marc Jacobs skirt before she makes up her mind."
On Net-a-porter's pulse on the market (let's keep this our little secret ok?-MFO):
"If you're not listed on Net-a-porter you aren't really in the fashion business, so to do well on their site was a real affirmation that we were on the right track. They are extremely discerning buyers. They know how to pick the piece or It dress or bag of the season. They have a sharp staff who know their stuff and always seem to pick off the cream of the crop. Your Roland Mouret Galaxy dress, your Luella Bartley Giselle bag, your Stella McCartney over-the-knee plastic boots - Net-a-porter have always picked them and have always ordered more of them than anything else. These key items then fly off the website in one afternoon."
On pricing and mark-ups (this will leave you gasping for air-MFO):
But fashion is all about mark-up, and the great thing about mark-ups is that if you have your own shop your cash flow improves no end. Shops mark designer clothes by multiplying by 2.9, so a skirt that we sell to the shop for £100 is sold by the shop for £290. The shop, therefore, makes more money on a garment than the designer. The skirt costs me £30 to produce, so if I sell it in my own shop for £290 then I am amking £260 profit (minus overheads), as opposed to the £70 I make when I sell to another store...It is even worse if you sell to the States. They mark-up by a factor of 3.1, making even more money for themselves. The argument is they take all the risks so they should make the money."
And all these juicy tidbits I got without going past page 50 of the book! I leave the rest for you to discover! In case you're wondering if there is some truth to these stories, the author, Imogen Edwards-Jones wrote this tell-all book with the help of Anonymous - actually, a collection of high-profile insiders from the fashion industry. Quite a page-turner for me really!