Category: Innovation

retail is dead

The retail shopping business is literally being erased in the face of unprecedented:

environmental degradation
political unrest
socioeconomic distress
multicultural confusion

Store2These four factors are enmeshed; even a slight jostle in one, produces changes in the others. These upheavals are changing everything, and so of course they’re changing retail shopping, and how we shop for clothing. I’m going to share what I’ve learned in the past few years. 

Retail is one of the canaries in the coal mine, one of the things we could have been paying more attention to, to better understand what’s going on in society at large.

After all, we are a nation of chronic shoppers. 

You already know what some of the changes in retail are, you’ve probably been involved with the biggest one, online shopping. We’re creatures of sophistication and access, we no longer have to go places to see, buy, and, to a certain extent, experience new and beautiful things: they’re at our fingertips.

One minute we can be looking at Venus de Milo, the next shopping for a Prada bag, and then we can be ziplining through a rainforest.

All done courtesy of your laptop, the one you bought in the the Store, the one that looks like (and sometimes actually was) a church. Apple stores, with their genius bars, are a relatively recent phenomenon that we’re all accustomed to now. No going back now; there’s more disruption to come.

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a bathing suit for us

anita 3I’ve been thinking about a “bathing suit for us” for two or three years now. In my mind I would design all kinds of possible variations—but I’m not a designer and my designs would just be filed away in the won’t happen file. Then I met Germaine DeNigris of Arkins, a young designer with talent, a collaborative spirit, and an open mind.

 

Who, I thought, would want to design for women over fifty? Who would want to design edgy, slow and ethical fashion for us?

 

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Germaine did! I was afraid maybe I’d overwhelmed her with my “enthusiasm” and detailed accounts of what was filed away in my won’t happen file, but we settled on that quintessential example of the kind of thing women our age want re-designed for us, the bathing suit. 

 

Germaine took the challenge on and told me it could happen.

 

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cold-weather helmet liner bathing suit

It’s bathing suit season, in preparation for the unveiling of the bathing suit I have been collaborating on, I think reposting this old story about my mother is appropriate. If you haven’t read it before I hope you enjoy it. 

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During World War II, my parents became refugees and ended up in a DP (displaced persons) camp in Germany, where they were taken care of by an organization that eventually became a part of the United Nations. This is a picture of my mother, in a bathing suit she made there, out of cold-weather helmet liners. When my parents fled from Latvia they had been able to bring, like refugees everywhere at every time, only what they could pack in one suitcase. 

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Ralph Lauren Launches Seniorwear

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I don’t see what the big deal is,” said fashion mogul Ralph Lauren. “I’ve always designed with a certain customer in mind. Just because she’s incontinent and using a walker doesn’t mean she doesn’t appreciate fine craftsmanship.”

“Is that why you’ve stepped down as CEO?” asked This Reporter.

“Stepped down? Is that what those mumzers are saying?” said Lauren. “The board members lit my pants on fire and kicked me down the stairs just because I’m 108.”

“One hundred and eight? The papers say you’re eighty-six,” said This Reporter.

“Eighty? One hundred? I’m still breathing. I still have ideas. And these women who love me, they’re not going anywhere, except to Boca or Sarasota. They can’t run around naked. Someone’s got to dress them. Why not me?” said Lauren.

“Will your wife Rickey be part of your design team, Mr. Lauren?” asked This Reporter.

“I guess I can say this now. Rickey was never really my wife. She was a concept created by my marketing department,” said Lauren. “Just like my name. Who’s going to buy a two-thousand-dollar dress from a guy with a Bronx accent named Lifshitz? So they concocted this to-the-manner-born, goyish family for me with the horses, dogs, and a blonde shiksa wife who has orgasms over hand-stitched Italian leather bags.”

“So, you aren’t married, Mr. Lauren?” asked This Reporter.

“Of course, I’m married. Sheila and I celebrated our 70th wedding anniversary at the Cheesecake Factory. But, please, enough with the Mr. Lauren. My real name is Ralph Lifshitz,” he said. “That name they can’t take from me.”

“What about those ads with you playing polo?” asked This Reporter.

“PhotoShop. Jews don’t ride horses. They buy them. They sell them. They bet on them. But that’s as far as it goes,” said Lauren.

“Getting back to your new line, better department stores don’t have a special section for senior women. How do you plan to convince them to carry your line?” asked This Reporter.

“The department stores can go screw themselves,” said Lauren. “They sided with the goniffs who threw me to the wolves. My new collection, Final Wishes, will only be available online and in nursing home gift shops.”

“Aren’t you concerned about limiting your collection to the geriatric set?” asked This Reporter.

“Limiting?” gasped Lauren. “The rich are living longer and they have all the money. I’m giving them class and security. All of my designs will have secret compartments to hide money from their caretakers and hidden video cameras in case their children try to make them change their will.”

“This sounds like a radical departure from the Ralph Lauren label,” said This Reporter. “Do you really think the market will support your concept?”

“I know it will,” said Lauren, breaking open an amyl nitrate vial. “I’ve already got licensing deals for monogrammed plastic sheets, a fringed leather walker with authentic Navaho beading and a perfume called Lifshitz that smells like freshly minted money.”

“You’ve always been a trail blazer. Do you anticipate any of your competitors coming out with their own senior women line?” asked This Reporter.

“I’m flattered by their desperate attempts to imitate my genius,” said Lauren. “Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Birch, Burberry have been chasing my tail for decades and they’ll never catch up because they don’t understand my secret.”

“What is that?”

“I don’t design a damn thing. I’m a knock-off artist. I copy clothes worn at anti-Semite golf clubs, polo matches and fox hunts. It’s a world I could never enter. Now those sonovabitches are putting my name on their tuchis. Gotta love it.”

 

A big thanks to, Stacia Friedman, the founding editor of www.DailyLobotomy.com for this sensational post!

Anita