By Paul Pannone
Reaction to an eWedNewz story involving the changes taking place in the men’s formal wear category struck a nerve yesterday bringing forward successful operators that say they’re suffering for the actions of their peers. The spotlight is on tuxedo rental stores carrying outdated merchandise, expired and fictitious brands, renting them to the public for premium dollars.
Since August a upheavel in the men’s formal wear business could be heading towards a showdown at the OK corral, as old– and we mean old– gets a kick in the pants by new products endorsed by today’s celebrities, including the Situation.
“At age 92, Cardin has certainly aged considerably better than his tuxedo label, but then again you can’t give tuxedos a little blue pill,” according to one formal wear retailer.
Fashion experts and strong supporters of tuxedos are coming forward to say they’re intrigued by the move to update the old standards with excitement and a new approach.
“A couple of images of The Situation can hold my interest for 90 seconds. I may laugh at him. I might make fun of him — but I don’t stop looking at the pictures. In the end, I have to say that the images were great and I wish that I had abs like that.
The Calvin Klein commercial had all of the right elements — sexy people who are only partially dressed. However, they were nothing compared with images of the situation. They didn’t draw me in. They didn’t make me smile. They tried very hard to impress me. I’m not the target audience. I don’t believe that I was appropriately impressed.
Yes. The commercial was beautiful. However, it didn’t hold my interest in the same way the The Situation does. I didn’t even notice if the male model had abs,” said Jim Duhe.
Duhe, a 40 year fashion expert, says the tuxedo business is in serious trouble for many reasons. Duhe told eWedNewz the category gets no editorial support from his competitors but also puts the blame on the lack of innovation from tuxedo business itself.
“How do you expect fashion editors to get excited if the people in the business don’t have a story to tell?” he told eWNz.
In the statement Duhe includes manufacturers and retailers he feels have fallen short of delivering the right message to the consumer.
Sheryl Davies told eWedNewz, ” The tired old tuxedo rental turned off this generation of marrying males. They slid so far as to wear short-sleeved shirts, sneakers and nothing special suits. Now, they can outfit themselves and complement their brides, on their monumental day by again dressing with pizzazz. This is great news and maybe the nudge is good for the companies who have never changed their marketing tactics. I love the new styles and I love that tuxedos are back in the limelight. A tux says, It’s a special occasion.”
Davies, another long-time wedding expert, says she’s watching the current changes taking place in the wedding business and commends the proactive moves taken by some of the leaders in the formal wear business that speak to a new generation.
Formal Wear operators in New York look to major branded products like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren to lead the way to a comeback for tuxedo rentals.
NY Tux Girl says,”Being in the wedding business for over 21 years & doing tuxedos, I agree that the Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren are great rentals for us. In New York guys like better quality and better fit (more) than what we had years ago. The super 100′s are the best quality we carry.”
So why are stores still supporting fictitious brands and carrying old styles? eWedNewz polled operators across the country that blame the lack of innovation from manufacturers over the past decade; certainly through the recession and declining use of formality in social events. Manufacturers in turn blame store owners for failing to update merchandise and not supporting new fashion. Meanwhile the standoff between suppliers and retailers can be heard in countless stories of misinformation in the marketplace.
Market leaders like Jennifer Galletta writes, “ We had a lady call yesterday looking for the OLD Contour for her son that didn’t want to drive all the way out east (Long Island) to rent. She laughed and cursed the groom when I told her it’s 15 years old and couldn’t get them anymore. All she could say in disgust was Ew, I don’t want my child to wear that!”
Tony Commisso (far right) toasts tuxedos for providing a good living for his family. Commisso is giving back to his community and industry in so many ways. One specifically is buying new merchandise to give to his customers that have placed their trust in him.
“I have witnessed two old-time father & son tuxedo operators in the Albany, New York area deceiving the consuming public. I have a firsthand experience where a client came rushing into my store pleading for our help in getting her son a replacement for a white dinner jacket for her son’s graduation ceremony. The mom showed me what they had rented from the other store this supposed white dinner jacket had yellowed so badly they shouldn’t even been able to pass it off for Ivory. The buttons were brown and brittle but it did have some signs of its glory days of old when the lining still had traces of white.
I looked at the tag inside and I thought how tragic, as I blurted out, “Pierre Cardin! This guy’s grandchildren are dead, that’s how old this coat is.” She gave me a quizzical look and I said “this coat is from the ‘80’s.”
I hooked her up to her delight and received accolades of her being eternally grateful. It was nice to hear but my hypothesis of most people’s true definition of eternally grateful, is the length of time it takes them to say eternally grateful. Anyway I hope the tux shop operators had that coat sent to the Cardin Family plot in Treviso, Italy.
At age 92, Cardin has certainly aged considerably better than his tuxedo label, but then again you can’t give tuxedos a little blue pill. The sartorial is in no way intended to offend Pierre Cardin or his family, just the tuxedo operators who still rent merchandise with a label and shelf life long expired,” according to Commisso.
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