Random fashion thoughts - Part II (A New Hope)

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by LA Guy, May 15, 2015.

  1. VitaTimH

    VitaTimH Senior member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that your problem is less with the act of curation per se and more with curation aimed at generating the widest appeal?
     
  2. accordion

    accordion Senior member

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    So I don't know how much this relates to fashion or with what Synthese wrote about but I think retailers are curators by default, and the more content there is in general, the more important curation becomes. A non fashion example is I don't have time to go through every magazine and newspaper to find out what's worth reading, so I read a bunch of portal sites that curate news and editorial content for me. They're not really presenting the content aside from summarizing the articles, but their selection embodies taste and value judgement I either trust or try to be aware of. Similarly, fashion shops pick, very selectively, from a sea of designers, whether due to their commercial or artistic appeal, and style and describe pieces to highlight their value.

    If to narrow the definition of curation, then the only shop I've come across that also curates is http://endyma.com/collections/ . I think SP is the only NA retailer I buy from that has distinct taste and are successful enough apparently to maintain their selection, but then some of their newer brands have been carried by JP webstores for years now. I can see how it may become annoying when webshops make hipster photobooks and post music on their site (ssense), but in general, styling/presentation is part of their job, and I appreciate when they do it well. I agree that very few good retailers are good curators, but mostly because retailers have to make money above preserving and presenting cultural objects unlike museums. Their tastes may be boring due to financial constraint. I like that Totokaelo stocks Dries and Haider Akerman. In a place other than NYC/LA and to people who don't have fifty webshops bookmarked, they are pretty cool. They might get killed in New York though. DSM/lagarconne might be good comparisons selection wise. Barneys has the entire toto lineup but that's not surprising.

    Also, this gets brought up a lot in this thread, specifically when the new Atelier revealed their selection. As consumers we always want retailers/buyers to push and expand our tastes. But it's very difficult for B&M shops to remain distinct yet profitable, and I imagine especially so for a really ambitious store like Toto. I think they hit a pretty nice spot between mass/individual taste. I mean yes they carry Rick/Margiela/CP/Geller, but they also have yohji/haider/dries which most shops that carry the aforementioned brands don't have. They post measurements, take nice, big pictures and allow comments on their site which I don't think I've seen before. Like I'd feel pretty cool if I shopped there.

    actually now that I look at I can see how their selection makes no sense but it's w/e, plenty of worse shops.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I've never bought anything from the webstore, nor have I ever visited the physical location, but from what I've seen from the webstore, I like it a lot more. I like the mix of street and high fashion and that they buy color. The identity of the store intrigues me a lot more. I would certainly be more likely to shop there, but I do feel that part of that is just because it has a lot more of that street element that I like.

    I really wish that there were more stores like No Man Walks Alone, where you can find Formosa suits next to Monitaly next to Stephan Schneider. It is surprising and seems random, but because the owner and buyers have high taste levels, the store can be many different, but all coherent, things.
     
  4. Synthese

    Synthese Darth Millennial Dubiously Honored

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    No, it's with the reduction of curation to the pursuit of homogeneity - in all things, but in our case in the realm of clothing retail.
     
  5. msg

    msg Senior member

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    Yes, but clothing retail needs to make money. And in some cases, the need is to make a lot of money, to pay the rent on your expensive retail space, for example. Homogeneity is safety.

    Other than the obnoxiousness of the word curation, I'm not sure there's a viable alternative to the principal underlying the word that would allow a retailer success. Toto, Steven Alan, etc can't afford to buy, discount, and warehouse clothes at the scale of Nordstrom or Barneys. So they "curate" for safety.
     
  6. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Gary's Loft (www.garysloft.com). We have the penthouse suite. Milk Bar is okay. I know that people like it. I liked the truffle donuts or whatever, but I agree that it generally left me cold. For me, NYC and San Fran are full of places like that. They have this incredible rep, and people go bananas over them, and in the end, it's... okay, but not truly awesome. I guess that NYC is just one Supreme drop after another. If you have better suggestions, I'm all ears.

    I visited Mohawk women in Pasadena. It was okay, but not amazing. That was earlier this summer, and it had all the silhouettes that are in for women right now. High waisted pants. Cropped flowy blouses or really long oversized ones. A bunch of A lined stuff. Some high waisted skinny denim. W/E.

    The selection makes absolute sense. It's a list of all the cool brands de jour. "Oh, cool black clothes with a little bit of "ethnic" in the blend. Fucking yippee kay yay. There is nothing surprising or uncool or idiosyncratic about the place. I could go on a megastore like The Corner or a generically nice department store like Barneys and get the same brand mix. I think that the store would be more interesting if it had something like Chrome Hearts or RRL or Roberto Cavalli in there, so that I would at least be like "wtf is going on here? What was the owner thinking?" That would be interesting. As it is, both the webstore and the physical store (at least, the one in Seattle), I walk into, and I know right away "Okay, yeah, this store is for cool people who like Paris more than Milan"

    I want a store that takes me on a journey. A store that shows me that the proprietors are not looking for a "coherent identity". I want a pirates treasure room of cool stuff from all over, not a hipster hideout with a lot of blond wood and white walls and some black and chrome furniture.

    Incidentally, I think that if a shop is to have a "coherent point of view", at least make it interesting and not just what is cool right now. That's one of the reasons that I really like Self Edge.
     
  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Homogeneity is the opposite of safety. If there is nothing surprising or interesting about your store, why would I buy anything from you? Why wouldn't I just go to Barneys? Or TheCorner, where returns are easy and hassle free.
     
  8. msg

    msg Senior member

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    Well, we know 40% of their business is b&m. Is that typical?

    I wonder how many people buying online from them are aware of the alternative online options. Where does someone learn about The Corner or Yoox?

    I agree with what you're pointing out - which is why I'm skeptical about NYC success - but I wonder whether your preferences as a consumer would result in a successful business. There's clearly still money to be made by being safe. Until Bezos steps in and kills the margin on retail for everyone.
     
  9. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    For stores with a well built out webstore, very typical. I know that we have affiliate vendors that are predominantly online, even thoug they have physical locations. Even for stores without well know webstores, I am usually told 20-30% of their business is online. Online is the one sector in retail that growing year after year.

    The Yoox group is a billon dollar business. They have marketing spends out the wazoo. They have huge advertising spends. All the ads on my browser are Yoox/The Corner and Rakuten retargets. I think that they spend a few bucks marketing to just me every day. If someone is interested in clothes, and shop online, chances are they know about Yoox.

    My personal preferences would result in a disaster. I am a very niche customer. That said, there are plenty of successful retailers that have a more eclectic approach to buying. That goes from very large groups like Flannels to a much smaller operation like The Bureau.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  10. winston86dit

    winston86dit Senior member

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    60 percent of Toto's customers, from what I have been told, all hail from NY thus the new store opening. Most likely, the B&M in Seattle will close and the office there will still stay in tact (cheaper rent/warehouse space as well as salaries for employees).

    I agree the store is bland. I think it started with good intentions and to be something different, especially by Seattle standards but at some point the vision became so broad it ceased to have any impact. It got lost in the fray. There are so many good online stores, and for ones that carry EVERY "it" brand, I would much rather look at MrPorter or Net-A-Porter.

    Agree with you LA guy, I really only like to shop at retail stores that are exciting and it pushes something a little different. Or it at least has an interesting point of view. I think Union is a good example of this. I always end up seeing or stumbling upon something interesting and that store is 1/4 of the size of most others. DSM is another. Sarah's curation over at Colette is always kooky and fun as well.
     
  11. accordion

    accordion Senior member

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    I think we often forget how small of a niche SF streetwear and online men's fashion is overall. People get ripped on for wanting CP achilles. I imagine posters walking into Acne/CP clad yuppies and hipsters everyday, at work, on their way to home. I've seen Common Projects less than five times since I've become aware of them, this is in cities, suburbs, schools, in different countries, at social events with asian kids who drop all their spending money on clothes. I would guess the kind of people who browse fashion forums, as a whole, are so few and have so little spending power compared to other types of clientele and women especially that there is zero reason for retailers to cater to niche or good taste. If a shop has cool buys they probably just do it for art's sake. I've never been to Barneys/Bergdorf but I went to all the smaller stores in New York mainly cuz I thought the SAs there would know more about their selection and have better suggestions. This wasn't true for the most part but I would still buy something that Barneys has from a smaller store provided prices are similar because of the more personal and personalized experience. Not that I have super good taste or anything but the fact Toto carries Dries always made them cool to me since I've never seen it online (besides Mohawk) outside of mega sites that have very little info and pictures of the pieces.

    Also, what are some webshops similar to Toto that you guys think have good taste and presentation, if Toto not being one of them? DSM I agree, is lagarconne better? IF had a bunch of cool stuff but it was really unorganized and they don't have webshop. DSM's webshop is crappy. I've been to the I.Ts in China and they basically had a bit of everything that was cool but very little of anything.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  12. Find Finn

    Find Finn Senior member

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    Every time I see the word Toto, I think of bum washing toilets.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  13. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    What general style are you looking for?
     
  14. accordion

    accordion Senior member

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    I don't...really know, just anything that looks interesting. No pure dark artisan or denim/workwear shops, anything in between is okay.
     
  15. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Www.thebureaubelfast.com
     

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