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Jeans and fashion - what I learned from Yoox

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by LA Guy, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    As everyone knows, Yoox is a great resource for all sorts of brands. The site sometimes carries truly rare stuff (Kiminori Morishita was represented there, for example), and you can get a very mature, elegant look (Castangia suit paired with Jil Sander Lace-ups, Barba shirt, Kiton tie), a very street look (W(Taps)+Against My Killer) to anything in between.

    Stock-in-trade brands like Margiela, Costume National, and Jil Sander are very well represented. Better represented than at any B&M store I've been in, in fact. I've never been in a store (maybe there is one in Japan, who knows) with hundreds of items of Costume National and Martin Margiela and Jil Sander in the States or in Europe.

    However, I was looking for jeans, and there was essentially nothing there of any real interest. There was once a small collection of Kohzo, but no more. We are left with tons of Diesel,

    The only things remotely of interest are a few pairs of Acne (and I don't even really like the brand,) a very small selection of the odder Helmut Lang and Jil Sander designs, a pair or two of Golden Goose jeans, a couple pairs of Jean Shop jeans at above U.S. retail, and a sinlge pair of Drkshdw jeans. In contrast, there are plenty of Euro-fabulous jeans from companies like JFour and Frankie Morello. While Yoox descriptions are typically useless in any case ("button closing" doesn't tell us anything we can't tell by looking at the picture, and you can't be less vague than "cloth",) the descriptiosn of jeans are especially so. "Denim Cotton" when the general category is "Denim" strikes me as particularly useless.

    I would be nice to see Yoox, and the high end retailers it sources from, in general, show more respect for denim. Although with jeans sales dropping, the time has maybe already passed. We have already discussed ad naseum how it is laughable that Borrelli charges $400 for some rather mediocre jeans with subpar cutting, ill-chosen stitching, and dull, lifeless denim. Guys in Louis Boston sell SPURR jeans at $50 above the typical markup, and they know nothing about them. $375 is a lot to be asking a customer to pay for something you can't answer basic questions about.

    I recently learned that the editor in charge of denim at a leading industry periodical doesn't have any real background in denim at all, which explains the poor coverage, and excuses magazines like Details when it prints that ringspinning is a method of weaving denim (see latest issue with "denim facts").

    [/end rant]

    Please comment. You guys notice this? Buyers and retailers? Do you think that a denim oriented showroom does a better job with product education on denim than do other showrooms?
     
  2. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    There really aren't too many places to buy quality denim when you think about it. We are so accustomed to ordering sight unseen with measurements that it has become the norm. It's funny because it's pretty much the only thing most will order without having tried them or having an idea about fit like certain shirts for example.
     
  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    There really aren't too many places to buy quality denim when you think about it. We are so accustomed to ordering sight unseen with measurements that it has become the norm. It's funny because it's pretty much the only thing most will order without having tried them or having an idea about fit like certain shirts for example.

    I disagree. In L.A., there are plenty of decent places. Even in Boston, which is hardly a great market for denim, Stel's has APCs and Nom de Guerre. Alan Bilzerian has Kohzo, Louis has Rag&Bone and SPURR, Riccardi's has Nudie and PRPS, and Jean Therapy has Kicking Mule Workshop. I think that it is the big luxury retailers (with the exception of Barneys) who fall down. The denim selection at stores like Neimans and Saks is excretable, and Saks, in particular, thinks that Trunk tees and Antik jeans are the best money can buy, to be held up by the ugliest ass Brave belt ever.
     
  4. Get Smart

    Get Smart Well-Known Member

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    Jeans are the one item I won't buy sight unseen, without ever having tried it on at a store. It's like sunglasses, even knowing the measurements doesnt guarantee a good fit or that it will look good on you.

    To me it seems like the educated denim buyer is more interested in stealth wealth brands of denim, and sites like yoox (and most online sites in general) cater to a more fashion conscious buyer that would probably think spending $400 on Prada jeans was a better decision than $300 on an esoteric quality Japanese brand.

    As a retailer, does it do themselves any favor "showing respect for denim" when their typical clientele doesn't have any?
     
  5. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    Jeans are the one item I won't buy sight unseen, without ever having tried it on at a store. It's like sunglasses, even knowing the measurements doesnt guarantee a good fit or that it will look good on you.

    To me it seems like the educated denim buyer is more interested in stealth wealth brands of denim, and sites like yoox (and most online sites in general) cater to a more fashion conscious buyer that would probably think spending $400 on Prada jeans was a better decision than $300 on an esoteric quality Japanese brand.


    I will typically will buy jeans sight unseen, but only if I am allowed to exchange. That actually goes for pretty much *any* article of clothing. Of course, I make exceptions for jeans that are essentially replacements (A.P.C., Nudie, and 5EP being the obvious examples in my case.) But I am a jaded, jaded man.

    I see your point about "stealth wealth," but I'm not sure that that applies here. There are plenty of brands that are quite obscure on Yoox, and I am not just referring to brands like Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester, which, though they have no external branding, have reasonably large distribution. I am talking about brands like Hlam, Chatav Ectabit, and Kinimori Morishita, all of which are much lower profile than a brand like Studio D'Artisan, which is reasonably popular in Japan.
     
  6. whodini

    whodini Well-Known Member

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    Yoox doesn't help my idea that most retailers believe consumers to either want a "look" and not be bothered with its details or that consumers will equate the label/price to quality based on a store's collection and reputation. "Wow, these jeans look just like what's popular today" or "I bought this at Saks, see the bag? It has to be good/current."

    Who knows. Maybe most people don't want to be bothered by details when spending $$$. It'd be nice to find a designer retailer who'd be willing to offer a garment and some education, preferably reliable and researched, and leave it to the consumer to be interested in it or not. I can't see the harm in a company willing to invest a little more to better understand their product, especially online when all you'd need is several lines of text not from the mouth of a press release but from an actual person and some honest measurements.

    If more B&M stores educated their customers then I think I'd miss the feeling of superiority and snobbery that comes from visiting a store like BlueBee and asking only to see KMW, Jean Shop, etc.

    I'm on the fence about buying jeans online. I've done so a lot lately but usually after great hesitation and much review of comments, photos, and measurements.
     
  7. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    I disagree.

    I disagree with your disagreement.
     
  8. Joel_Cairo

    Joel_Cairo Well-Known Member

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    I recently learned that the editor in charge of denim at a leading industry periodical doesn't have any real background in denim at all, which explains the poor coverage, and excuses magazines like Details when it prints that ringspinning is a method of weaving denim (see latest issue with "denim facts").

    not to seem like a forum fanboy or anything, but why doesn't someone like you or minya have this job?
     
  9. Rome

    Rome Well-Known Member

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    No offense to anyone here but this sounds like "niche consumer" whinning "why don't major retailers see things our way??" You do have niche store who will pay attention to what you guys are asking for like BIG but understanding that you are just the customer that store has in mind. Major retailers concern themselves moreso about their average consumer, the consumer in general is interested in just that, the general.

    As to complaining that not enough respect is dished out to denim or "why doesnt the average person care about 2x3, LHT, denim from (wherever), dyed in (whatever) as much as I do?" It isnt really better that they dont?. Its never been easier to get your clothing fetishes taken care of.

    "Wow, these jeans look just like what's popular today" or "I bought this at Saks, see the bag? It has to be good/current."

    Bingo Bango!!1!
     
  10. berlin report

    berlin report Well-Known Member

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    I think big department stores tend to offer denim ,or anything for that matter, which can sell themselves; usually based on the hype and ads that the labels themselves invested in. This is what small retailers like myself survive on. The fact that we offer personal service and knowledge about what we sell. Its a passion. Ever tried selling raw denim to someone who's only ever owned and worn prewashed jeans? Its exhausting but its also a real high when they finally understand what you've been yacking about the past half hour. I've always felt that sales assistants in big stores are only there to look for the size you ask for and also to tell you thats its sold out. The only ones who have been able to tell me anything about the product they're selling are the ones behind the cheese counters. Even buying professionally I've found myself telling sales reps more about their products than they actually know. Its embarassing but that goes to show you that people have a tendency to learn about their products like they cram for exams. Memorize everything but learn nothing. 'Yes sir, thats selvedge.' 'Whats selvedge?' 'Its that line that runs along the seam.'
    As far as Yoox is concerned, I think it runs on concession. They get the season's overruns. Maybe all our favorite jeans brands get sold out through normal distribution.
     
  11. NoVaguy

    NoVaguy Well-Known Member

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    I more or less agree with Rome - at the end of the day, we're just talking about denim, and we have pretty specific tastes that don't always correspond with what's popular. And to be honest, the differences between what we like and a pair of mall brand, luxury brand, or discount brand are often lost on the average customer, who just wants a pair of jeans that will conform with society at whole and/or their own expectations.

    Saks, NM, Yoox, can only sell what customers are willing to buy - right now, I'm not sure the average customer is going to buy what we like.
     
  12. berlin report

    berlin report Well-Known Member

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    Saks, NM, Yoox, can only sell what customers are willing to buy - right now, I'm not sure the average customer is going to buy what we like.

    which makes us like it even more.[​IMG]
     
  13. Babar

    Babar Well-Known Member

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    Shopping for denim at Yoox is definitely a underwhelming experience, but there's actually been a few times when they have outdone themselves in the jeans department. It wasn't long ago that they posted a full size run of the veggie indigo Nudies for a just a fraction of retail for instance, and last year I scored a pair of the impossible-to-find Turn Up Cut from the old Helmut Lang Jeans line from the late 90's for $98 or so. Right now, it seems they have a few RRDS'es at about Swedish retail, at least when using the pp@yoox coupon.
     
  14. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    ...

    The only ones who have been able to tell me anything about the product they're selling are the ones behind the cheese counters. Even buying professionally I've found myself telling sales reps more about their products than they actually know. Its embarassing but that goes to show you that people have a tendency to learn about their products like they cram for exams. Memorize everything but learn nothing. 'Yes sir, thats selvedge.' 'Whats selvedge?' 'Its that line that runs along the seam.'
    As far as Yoox is concerned, I think it runs on concession. They get the season's overruns. Maybe all our favorite jeans brands get sold out through normal distribution.


    Yeah, a lot of reps have an underwhelming amount of knowledge. I used to think that it was due to the number of brands that they had to represent, but I'm inclined to think that it is more laziness and lack of interest these days. A lot of consumers don't care, so the buyers don't care, so the the sales reps don't care, and the designer who put a crapload of work into the product has to dumb down the communication lines, which sucks for them. And the consumers and buyers who do care? Well, they are going to buy product regardless, so it's no skin off the nose. It's very unfortunate. I'm not sure whether the designer or the personal consumer loses more because of the apathy in between.

    I think that a lot of what Yoox gets are overrunsm, but I am reasonably certain that Yoox gets some full runs as well, which would explain why certain designers are so well represented (there is a remarkable amount of Costume National on Yoox, for example.)

    On a completely different note, I love the cheese counter.
     
  15. ghulkhan

    ghulkhan Well-Known Member

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    I think you can generalize this to a lot of clother other then denim. If you go to most retailers, they cannot tell you much about a suit or a pair of shoes either. I like my SA at Margiela and some other places but they cant really tell you much about the clothing in terms of construction and other sort of things. Its pretty much the same at most places. Yes there are some places that know really well but those places are hard to find. Thats why we tend to call those places and place orders from them as Jet said. Like Denimbar, BiG, Selfedge or 45rpm know a lot about jeans. When we call them, we talk to them about the product and this relationship inclines us to buy the jeans from them moreso than another retailer even if its a little cheaper somewhere else. I dont know about everyone but I usually get sold if I know that the person seems to know what hes talking about. This has happened to me at Southwillard, Denimbar, BiG, Spectacles for Humans even though I could of gotten the stuff for slightly cheaper if I looked around. However those other places has employees or owners that have really no clue about what they are selling...
     
  16. hermes

    hermes Well-Known Member

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    i think that with retail in general having a huge turnover rate, pretty well any retail clerk doesn't care a whole lot given it's often just a 'temporary' job to them

    this is just a generalization but likely isn't too far off, especially with large retailers who don't train their staff in anything much these days

    it's really just the small niche retailers that are run by people with a passion for what they sell that have outstanding knowledge and actually care about the product and its construction etc.
     
  17. faust

    faust Well-Known Member

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    On a flip side, think of others' ignorance as a blessing for your wallet. I cannot count how many times I have gotten extreme bargains in places like YOOX, Barneys warehouse, consignment stores, etc. Of course, I feel special going to a niche store, because the store owner and I have affinity in terms of aesthetics and such, but my wallet feels much better scoring something amazing to my eyes that to others looks like nothing special. That's where brands can have a reverse effect - an obscure brand will attract less people.

    Another thing about YOOX is its poor presentation, as LA Guy noted. This is where seeing an identical piece in the past, or knowing that a certain brand doesn't make crap (no matter how bad it looks on YOOX pictures, and we all know they are masters at that) comes in handy. It would be interesting to see how much money they lose a year through bad presentation.

    YOOX also strikes me as Italy oriented (that's probably where 90% of their merch. comes from) - for example they treat Dirk Bikkimbergs' merchandise (who is incredibly popular in Italy) like gold, it's last to go on sale, etc. - while no one in North America could give a crap about him. On the other hand, I've seen certain clothes produced in Italy dirt cheap even before it goes on sale at YOOX.
     
  18. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    faust when will the site be back?
     
  19. faust

    faust Well-Known Member

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    faust when will the site be back?
    Hey. I took it back this morning. It was a week of bloodshed, but I now have the site intact at a new web host. Thank you for asking.
     

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