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23/08/2017

A Running List of Fashion Bankruptcies

On the heels of an array of retail bankruptcy filings in 2016, New York-based designer Bibhu Mohapatra and retailers The Limited, Wet Seal, and most recently, Payless, have all filed for Chapter 11 protection this year, signaling that there is no end in sight to the constant string of fashion companies struggling financially.

Some of the most recent retail bankruptcies have been those of the traditional mall retailers, whose businesses have suffered significantly in light of fast fashion's growth. Moreover, market giants, such as Wal-Mart and Target have wiped out a number of other companies, who were unable to compete with their pricing power and general reach. And as noted by many sources, any existing retail problems only increased when Amazon arrived on the scene.

For the uninitiated, Chapter 11 bankruptcy – one of the most commonly utilized forms of bankruptcy – allows a company to continue operating while it executes a reorganization plan. Chapter 11 can take a number of forms, but in short: A chapter 11 case begins with the filing of a petition with the bankruptcy court by the debtor (the entity that owes the debt – aka the retailers in the cases at hand). This is followed by the debtor proposing and executing a reorganization plan, which may be used to compromise or even eliminate certain classes of debt.

All the while, the debtor usually remains in possession of his assets and continues to operate any business, subject to the oversight of the court and the creditors committee. Typically, a company that has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy trying to stay in business, and as indicated below, this complex proceeding can be very effective in solving short term business problems in an otherwise viable company or winding down a company with valuable assets.

Retail Bankruptcies

Here is a look at some of the most recent retail-related filings, as well as some significant ones dating back a bit further.

July 2017 - Alfred Angelo

The major bridal dress chain abruptly closed an array of its stores in July leaving brides and bridesmaids dress-less, panicked, and in limbo. Alfred Angelo – a Florida-based company that stocks at nearly 1,400 boutiques across the U.S. and internationally, including self-owned and operates stores in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, and D.C. – has since confirmed the store closures and that it has filed for bankruptcy protection.

July 2017 - True Religion

U.S. denim retailer True Religion Apparel confirmed that it has filed for bankruptcy protection and signed a restructuring agreement with a majority of its lenders. True Religion, a company whose denims have gradually fallen out of style, filed for creditor protection under Chapter 11 in the U.S. bankruptcy court in the District of Delaware, and listed assets and liabilities in the range of $100 million to $500 million.

June 2017 - Papaya Clothing

Teen apparel seller Papaya Clothing has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The privately held California-based company, which maintains a network of 80 brick-and-mortar stores and about 1,300 employees, said in its filing that its financial difficulties came from competition from e-commerce and a poorly timed expansion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Opening its first store in 1999, Papaya added about 50 new stores in the last six years. The expansion took “a heavy financial toll” and significantly increased operating expenses, court papers stated.

May 2017 – Rue21

U.S. teen fashion retailer Rue21 Inc filed for Chapter 11 protection on Monday in the Western District of Pennsylvania bankruptcy court.The retail chain, which sells budget-priced clothing and accessories at over 1,100 stores across the United States, listed assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion and $10 billion, according to the court filing.

April 2017 – Jaeger

British brand Jaeger has gone into administration, following confirmation from the brand it filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators. According to the BBC, Jaeger, which was founded in 1884 and has counted actresses and Kate Middleton among its fans, has struggled to keep up with rivals, such as Burberry, or see off competition from fast-fashion chains including Zara and H&M.

April 2017 – Payless, Inc

Payless filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in St. Louis, listing liabilities of $1 billion to $10 billion and citing a plan to immediately close about 400 underperforming stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. “This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify,” Chief Executive Officer W. Paul Jones said in a statement.

March 2017 – BCBG Max Azria

BCBG, a venerated contemporary brand, which has been a major force in the Los Angeles fashion industry for nearly 30 years, filed for bankruptcy in a third attempt in two years to rescue the business hit hard by changing consumer habits. According to its bankruptcy filing, BCBG is rejecting a number of store leases and closing 120 unprofitable stores that racked up $10 million in losses during fiscal 2016. These stores made up 63 percent of BCBG’s total losses from retail locations with negative contribution margins, the company said in U.S. Bankruptcy Court filings in New York.

Some lenders have agreed to loan the company $45 million to help it get through bankruptcy. That loan must be approved by the judge in the case. BCBG owes lenders about $459 million.

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21/08/2017

Area fashion designers now have local fabric source

Area fashion designers now have local fabric source

As Arizona’s fashion industry continues to take root, a business at Tempe’s fashion incubator is supplying the fabric for that growth.

The Fabric Studio at 132 E. 6th St. is giving designers a place to get the material they need to create fashions and begin their careers.

“We act as brokers,” said Mari Elena Fagre, one of two partners in the business. “We know all about the products. We can help designers get fabric, and then get it again.”

“Designers get fabric to create something, but then getting more can be a problem,” said Mabel Cortez, the other partner. “The designers know they can get fabric on reorder from us.

“Fabric stores cater to the public only,” she said. “But here, now you have a place that understands designers because we are designers.”

Cortez has been a fashion designer for over 10 years, and Fagre used to be a swimsuit designer.

In April, they opened the Fabric Studio in the basement of FABRiC, the Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center, a Tempe incubator. It operates at the site of the former Tempe Performing Arts Center. Its founders hope to make Arizona a fashion destination.

“It’s a unique place to have available,” Fagre said. “It’s a one-stop shop with the incubator.”

The Fabric Studio stocks a variety of fabrics – cotton, linens, silk, wool and more. And they can get them from Los Angeles, Japan, Europe, India and elsewhere. The studio also offers sewing tools and trims.

Fabric usually is sold in large quantities. Designers have a problem getting more than just a little at a decent price, so the Fabric Studio can pool resources and get what designers need.

They can also get it cheaper – wholesale for designers, and discounted retail for the public.

“One designer needed pleather,” Cortez said. “It was $30 a yard at Jo-Ann’s, but $18 here.”

An additional service the studio offers is consulting to help designers find the perfect fabric and trim for their collections.

“More designers out there need guidance,” Cortez said. “They’re trying to get on the map.

“We’ve helped designers in New York, Oregon, even Iowa.”

The pair are working on an online store as well, offering sourcing for fabric.

“Designers are excited by it,” Fagre said. “And not just fabric, but everything else.”

The two see a bright future, both for fashion in Tempe and for themselves.

“I see more brands produced in Arizona,” Cortez said.

“We hope to grow bigger and better,” Fagre said. “Not only get designers from Arizona, but from other states as well. Retail as well.”

“Right now, we’re relying on Google Maps, Facebook ads and word of mouth,” Cortez said. “We’re trying to do more advertising. By the fall, we hope to have a bigger presence.”

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14/08/2017

Rizik’s has been dressing D.C. women

Rizik’s has been dressing D.C. women since Teddy Roosevelt was president. It’s not stopping now

It wouldn’t have been surprising if Rizik’s had closed.

After 109 years in business, much of it from the corner of Connecticut Avenue and L Street in Northwest Washington, the family-owned fashion boutique had run out of family members who wanted to devote their professional lives to hemlines, alterations and the ever-changing moods of first-time brides. A good percentage of the store’s loyal customer base had retired, moved away or died. The Internet had upended the model for independent retail. Rizik’s was not a business with a bright, shining future. It was “challenged,” as one family member diplomatically described it.

But Rizik’s didn’t close. Despite the familial shifts, the cultural upheaval and the dying off, Rizik’s refused to go quietly into history.

Instead, at the end of July 2016, Rizik’s shuttered its doors. Not for good, a sign promised, but for a major renovation — one that dragged on and left more than a few people suspicious that the darkened interior was really just the beginning of the end. “I was not confident at all they’d reopen,” said customer Janet Janjigian.

But then, on April 17, Rizik’s returned. There was no party. No drumroll. The family just turned on the lights and unlocked the doors.

It wasn’t dramatic, but it was remarkable.

The store, originally called Rizik Brothers, opened at F and 15th streets in 1908, a time when life moved more slowly and with greater formality.

The Rizik brothers had come from Lebanon at the turn of the 20th century and established themselves as haberdashers importing lace from Europe. After saving a bit of seed money, they opened their own dress shop and began selling ready-to-wear, which was beginning to blossom in New York.

Rizik’s catered to the well-to-do, to women who had social clout and busy social calendars. The brothers became known for their attention to detail and their customer service. A woman in a pinch could walk into the boutique, buy an evening gown for a formal dinner later that same day, and have it altered in time to make the cocktail hour.

In its heyday, which lasted into the late 1980s, when gross sales were reportedly about $4 million a year, customers from Mamie Eisenhower to journalist Helen Thomas shopped there for professional wardrobes and inaugural ballgowns, wedding dresses and little pick-me-ups.

There was nothing edgy about Rizik’s. It was a store filled with glimmering chandeliers and soft love seats, deep pile carpeting and hushed tones. The day-to-day business was overseen by two second-generation sisters: Miss Renee and Miss Maxine, who even today have a quietly firm demeanor, but one that always allowed for this mantra: The customer is always right.

“If the customer says it’s black and you know it’s navy — it’s black,” says Maxine Rizik Tanous. “You never asked a customer her size. You never asked what she wanted to pay. You asked her what she wanted. And whatever she wanted, you gave it to her. You never let a customer go out disappointed.”

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