What’s old is new again

July 29, 2008

Good lord:

The duds say it all – and it’s depressing.

Taking a cue from the grim economy, this fall’s fashions at Banana Republic, Gap and H&M are featuring a distinctly Depression-era trend of cloche hats, pencil skirts, conductor caps and baggy, vintage-style dresses.

One of the most popular styles appears to hark back to the impish, newsboy getup of the 1930s: baggy trousers, caps, pinstriped vests, oxford lace-up shoes and utilitarian handbags.”

Let’s go for Depression-era food, while we’re at it, and Depression-era housing, and Depression-era employment. Some Fashion Institute professor says in the story that given the unstable economy we’re in, maybe the retro style “has come back as a way to connect with our heritage.” How deep. Silly me — I thought it was just fashion-industry trendsetters trying to make a buck off people even shallower than they are.

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4 Responses to “What’s old is new again”

  1. Harl Delos Says:

    fashion-industry trendsetters trying to make a buck off people even shallower than they are.

    Santa Claus may exist, Virginia, but people even shallower than fashion-industry trendsetters?

  2. Leo Morris Says:

    Yes, anybody who pays any attention to them.

  3. gadfly Says:

    Gap and BR are the same company with different “badges”. Along with big box brother, Old Navy, they are inching toward bankruptcy, horribly out of step with today’s young people.

    H & M – Hennes & Mauritz is a Swedish company which understands nothing about American retail marketing.

  4. Harl Delos Says:

    H & M – Hennes & Mauritz is a Swedish company which understands nothing about American retail marketing.

    Perhaps – but with 47,029 employees, and a return on equity for the last year of 56.89%, that appears to be no problem.

    Gap and Old Navy are supposed to be horribly out of step with today’s young people. That’s not the market they’re trying to address.

    Mickey Drexler isn’t running the company now; Glenn Murphy is, and it’s said he doesn’t know the difference between an armhole and a sock, but that’s not their problem. They have too many stores and the stores are too big. What’s more important may be that everywhere they’ve opened a Gap, they seem to have opened an Old Navy as well – which sells very similar merchandise at 30% off.

    Murphy is closing a lot of those stores. Maybe that’s why they’re able to run a 39.9% profit margin and turn their inventory 5.6 times a year. Their current return on assets is 11.8%, up from a 5-year average of 10.8.

    Even a profitable company can end up in bankruptcy if they have a lot of debt to service, but their debt/equity ratio is 0.04, compared to an average of 0.21 over the past five years. Retail is supposed to be in the doldrums right now, but comparing Gap, Inc’s current financials with their 5-year average, you’d think there was a retail boom going on. Inching towards bankruptcy? Not according to the numbers!


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