Monthly Archives: August 2011

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How English mixing contributes to self-distinction through fashion?

There is little debate with the view that English is the most widely used language in
international economic, scientific, political and educational fields. Even though the exact figure of
English users in the world is not clearly known, the conservative estimation is that approximately 2
billion people out of 5 billion world population are exposed to the English-used environment
(Crystal, 1985). It means that every third person in the world is using English as a native language or
an additional language (Kachru, 1992).
Due to the rapidity of English spread, this figure cannot be
confirmed, but it is beyond a doubt that the number is increasing. The global spread of English has
drastically changed the language situation in South Korea, one of the East Asian countries which
belong to the expanding circle of World Englishes according to Kachru’s categorization (Kachru,
1982;1986;1992). Among various changes, which Korean has underwent so far, one of the most
noticeable shifts is growing use of English Mixing (hereafter EM) in the Korean linguistic
Owing to the ample amount of English words in Korean daily discourse, EM is increasingly
the object of numerous linguistic research and cultural analysis (Kim, 1998; Baik, 2001; Lee, 2003).
Most of these studies on Korean-English Mixing focus on the structural or the functional analysis of
these mixed behaviors. However, recalling that code-alternation is the psychological product of a
speaker’s response to social order and cultural context (Gal, 1988; Blommaert, 1992; Canagarajah,
1995; Heller, 1995), EM in Korean discourse should be analyzed in the socio-political context.
Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate how EM contributes to the endowment of symbolic
power in South Korea.
More specifically, this study concerns how fashion system is related to the
notion of power and class through EM. For this purpose, I will focus on index headlines and subheadlines
of Korean women’s magazines as research subjects.
As this study mainly concerns the quantitative aspects of English Mixing in Korean women’s
fashion magazine, the qualitative analysis is insufficient. Moreover, a statistical analysis is needed to
support the relation between English and fashion more strongly. Actually, As EM is so widely spread
in every field of Korean society, it is not so simple a matter to identify EM in the actual discourses.
In addition, the corpus of this study is rather small to support the main argument of this paper.
However, this study implies a lot of potentials in various areas. It mainly sheds insight on how
symbolic power is gained through fashion and English. From another perspective, it is a matter of
gender research. As women’s fashion magazines have a critical role in the maintenance of cultural
value and representation of gender identity (Caldas-Couthard 1996), we will be also be able to
investigate how English relates to gender identity through fashion in Asian countries.
Even though
synergistic effect of fashion and English as symbolic capital is a very interesting subject to study,
this hybridization of two is so naturalized as to create mythology of the modern society, which is
hard to deconstruct. To demythologize the fusion of English and fashion, the more profound research
will be needed.

Global Markets: Italian and American Business Models

What makes American business succeed in the global market place ?

McDonald’s, Ford, Kodak, Cocacola, Microsoft — These international giants achieve global presence by adapting a standard business formula to local environments.

Global Markets: Italian and  American Business Models

What is a global formula and how is it applied in specific countries? In a fall Professional Linkage Seminar taught by Italian marketing consultant Alberto Cusi, BIP students will discover how companies succeed or fail to apply standard formulas to local situations.

Before forming his own consulting company, Alberto Cusi acquired his consulting experience in sales, marketing and strategy for GEA, an international management consulting fi rm that supported companies such as Barilla, Bayer, MaxMara and Walt Disney.

He wrote a book-length study of the introduction of Pringles potato chips into the Italian market.

Mr. Cusi will introduce students to the two pillars of global business formulas – standardization and localization. The class will discuss both positive and negative examples of how these formulas have been carried out. Students will study the differences between American and Italian (and, more generally, European) methods of management and business procedure, along with the differences in what constitutes business success.

As class work, students will select a local company to research and then compose a presentation examining and evaluating that company’s business formula and response to globalization.

The global apparel market is a consumer-driven industry

ZARA: Fashion Follower, Industry Leader

The global apparel market is a consumer-driven industry. Also, globalization and new
technologies have allowed consumers to have more access to fashion. As a result, consumers are
changing, competition is fierce, and companies are evolving to meet these demands. Zara, a
Spanish-based chain owned by Inditex, is a retailer who has taken a new approach in the industry.
With their unique strategy, Zara has the competitive advantage to be sustainable. In order to
maintain that advantage and growth they must confront certain challenges that face traditional
retailers in the apparel industry.

Financial Analysis and Comparison

To prove Zara has the prospect of sustainable growth in the international apparel market,
it is important to understand and compare the financial differences of Inditex, its parent company,
and its major competitor. The most interesting of Zara’s competitors for comparison is Hennes
and Mauritz (H&M), who as the case study states, “was considered Inditex’s closest competitor,
[with] a number of key differences” (Ghemawat 5). H&M differs from Zara because they
outsource all of their production, spend more money on advertising, and is price-oriented. The
key similarities for comparison between Zara and H&M are that they are European based
companies, are fashion forward at lower price retailers, and have a strong international expansion
strategy (1; 5).
Just looking at Exhibit 6 from the case it is easy to see that their financial status is are
comparable (24). Their net operating revenues are closer to each other than that of Benneton or
the Gap, as is their net income. The best way of comparing Inditex and H&M’s financials is by
using ratios and not merely a visual assessment of the financial statements given. The current
shows that for every euro in short-term debt, Inditex has 1.02 million euros in current
assets. H&M however, has 3.40 million euros in current assets for every euro in short-term debt.
From this we can infer that Inditex is less liquid, possibly because they have more fixed assets
and turn their inventory over quickly. To support this inference, the inventory turnover ratio
calculated that Inditex turns over its inventory 4.42 times per year. This does not mean, however,
that H&M is more efficient due to its liquidity. H&M is not making good use of the cash that
they have because cash not invested does not generate a return. H&M’s excessive inventories
may be the main contributor to its high current ratio because they do not own manufacturing
facilities and have to store products in a warehouse.
The operating profit margin
was calculated to measure the efficiency of the companies’
profit per euro of sales. Inditex’s operating profit margin is 21.6% and H&M’s is 13.1%. Inditex
is more efficient in generating a greater profit per euro of sales than H&M. Inditex’s higher
operating income
is a result of keeping their costs of goods sold and operating expenses much
lower than H&M’s. Inditex’s decreased costs are made possible by in-house production, lower
advertising expenses and keeping a cost-effective number of employees per store. H&M only has
771 stores to Inditex’s 1,284, but has a higher number of employees per store
, 29.7 to Inditex’s
20.8. H&M’s high employee to store ratio is partially to blame for their high cost of goods sold.
There is a disparity between the working capital
of Inditex and H&M, which is the
money available to meet current obligations. Inditex only has 20 million euros of working capital
as compared to H&M’s 1035 million euros. This is because Inditex invests more than H&M in
fixed assets
, Inditex owns 1228 million euros in property, plant, and equipment and H&M only
owns 661 million euros. Having a small amount of working capital could potentially hurt Inditex
because it could affect their ability to meet any liability obligations that may arise.

Strategic Advantages

Zara has been able to achieve excellent financial status due to its core competencies that
provide the chain with a competitive advantage over traditional retailers in the industry. Zara is an
apparel chain that works differently from traditional retailers. Generally, a traditional retailer such
as Express owned by Limited Brands (a top U.S. specialty retailer group), outsources all of its
production while focusing on distributing and retailing those goods. This is due to the fact that the
global apparel industry is “highly-labor intensive” rather than capital intensive (2). Fashion
retailers and apparel manufactures are always seeking to lower costs by outsourcing production to
developing countries where the lowest labor rates are found. In contrast, Zara is a chain that has
developed a successful diverse method of doing business in the fashion industry. Zara by working
through the whole value chain is very vertically integrated and highly capital intensive.

Vertical integration, a distinctive feature of Zara’s business model, has allowed the
company to successfully develop a strong merchandising strategy (Herreros). This strategy has
led Zara to create a climate of scarcity and opportunity as well as a fast-fashion system. Zara
manufactures 60% of its own products. By owning its in-house production, Zara is able to be
flexible in the variety, amount, and frequency of the new styles they produce. Also, 85% of this
production is done through the season, which allows the chain to constantly provide its costumer
with very updated products (Ghemawat 9). Traditional retailers lack this flexibility. Traditional
retailers are obligated to place production orders to manufacturers overseas at least 6 months in
advance of the season.

Zara’s in-house production purposely creates a rapid product turnover since its “runs are
limited and inventories are strictly controlled” (12). This rapid product turnover creates a climate
of scarcity and opportunity in Zara’s retail stores. The climate also increases the frequency and
rapidity with which consumers visit the stores and buy the products. Regular customers know that
new products are introduced every two weeks and most likely would not be available tomorrow.
Therefore, Zara’s scarcity climate allows the company to sell more items at full price. This
strategy minimizes Zara’s total cost because it reduces 15-20% of markdown merchandise
compare to a traditional retailer.

Furthermore, Zara’s unique quick response system, composed of human resources as well
as information technology, allows Zara to respond to the demand of its consumer better than the
competition. Zara, who focuses on the ultimate consumer, places “more emphasis on using
backward vertical integration to be a very quick fashion follower than to achieve manufacturing
efficiencies” (12). It is extremely important for Zara to speed the information flow of consumer
desires to their apparel designers. For that reason, Zara has human resource teams in the retail
and manufacturing environment that work exclusively toward this goal.

In the manufacturing environment, Zara’s product development teams are responsible for
attending high-fashion fairs and exhibitions to translate the latest trends of the season into their
designs. Also throughout the season, Zara’s product development teams are constantly
researching the market by traveling to universities, and clubs around the world to track customer
preferences. Additionally, the young, fashionable, and international staff helps to interpret the
desire of the moment (Zara).

Possibilities for Failure

Like traditional retailers, Zara has a threat of failure that can harm its sustainable growth.
The European switchover to the common currency called the euro has created the potential threat
for the Spanish Zara chain. In July 2002 the euro was the only currency accepted for all
transactions in member countries of the European Union (“Euro”). If the euro becomes stronger
against the American dollar, than production costs will increase for European producers. The
euro switchover will increase Zara’s cost of production. That cost increase will be carried over to
the consumer with higher prices. This threat of the euro may also create a threat of decreased
sales because apparel prices will be too high for the traditional Zara shopper. Another threat lies
with the quota elimination under the World Trade Organization agreement on textiles and
clothing expiring in 2005. Traditional retailers who outsource goods can benefit from greater
access to less expensive manufacturing. Zara will suffer from a high euro and the threat of its
competition offering more inexpensive products.

Zara’s direct competition may be their largest threat, especially when expanding into new
geographic territory. Almost any retailer can be a threat to Zara due to their wide range of
merchandise categories. Zara offers clothing and accessories for men, women, maternity,
children, and baby. Many other retailers also offer goods to one or all of those merchandise
groupings. The Gap is one of these competitors because they are also international and sell the
same range of merchandise with a less trendy style. H&M (Hennes and Mauritz) is probably
Zara’s most similar and threatening competitor. They too have been quick to “internationalize”,
which allows them to gain sales in countries outside their native Sweden (Ghemawat 5). H&M
also is more attentive when entering new markets and tends to enter one country at a time, as
opposed to Zara who multitasks globally (5). H&M builds distribution centers in their
international locations in order to cut down lead times and potential logistical costs. Another
threat to Zara is that H&M carries trendy clothing choices that they have designed based on the
melding of international apparel tastes. However, H&M offers these styles at a cheaper rate than
Zara (5).

H&M also uses more advertising than Zara, but not as much as the Gap, which may aid
them in entering new markets successfully because the local customer is aware of H&M’s
merchandise mix.

Why study Fashion design in the United Kingdom?

Why study Fashion design in the United Kingdom

Checklist: Why study Fashion design in the United Kingdom?

• a UK arts, crafts or design qualification will be respected internationally

• students have the opportunity to be taught by world famous figures, at the forefront of the creative world

• many institutions have links with professional individuals, agencies and organisations, and you may be able to
work on commercial projects during your study

• the qualifications at UK institutions represent the largest range of visual and creative arts courses in Europe –
whatever your specific interest, the UK can offer a course to suit you

• European resources are easily accessible

• the opportunity to improve your fluency in English will improve your job prospects in English-speaking countries

• UK qualifications not only encourage you to produce work of the highest quality, but offer you a shop window in
which to display your talents.

1 What can I study?

You can take practically any aspect of fashion design, including the following :
• embroidery
• textiles
• lace-making
• machine knitting
• footwear manufacture
• leather technology
• womenswear
• menswear
• sportswear
• knitwear
• clothing textiles
• fashion promotion
• clothing engineering and management

What can I study alongside fashion?

There is a vast range of course combinations available.  There are nearly 300 fashion courses on offer at HND and
degree levels, covering everything from fashion with accountancy to fashion with a foreign language.
When would I specialise in the branch of fashion I want to study?
Usually after your foundation course or foundation year.  Some four year degrees (including all Scottish degrees)
incorporate a foundation year, so if you do not want to change institutions after your foundation year, you should
research the course content carefully beforehand to make sure it covers the subjects that you want to specialise in.
Could I gain some practical experience during the course?
Some courses do offer this and some offer experience abroad.

Kate and Pippa Middleton Expected to Cause a Sheer Hosiery Trend in the U.S.

Pippa and Kate.

Pippa and Kate.Photo: Indigo/Getty Images

Kate Middleton’s love of sheer hosiery is practical for her new life as a member of the royal family, whose best assets have never included a casual, loosey-goosey attitude toward getting dressed. Hosiery is also a good thing to wear when you have many photo ops on helipads, where it’s windy and your dress might be feeling a little loosey-goosey itself. Since the nineties, sheer nude hose have been largely viewed in this country as an unfortunate thing some unfortunate women still have to wear to work per a stuffy office dress code. However, they are starting to become trendy thanks to Kate and her panty hose-loving sister, Pippa. Whatever gene causes them to gravitate towards the sheer legwear is quickly evolving in celebrities as well: Sarah Jessica Parker, Mischa Barton, and Hayden Panettiere have all been seen wearing hose over the past few months. Average young women in the U.K. — where Hanes and L’eggs report an 85 percent increase in sales of nude hose over the past year — are also starting to copy the look. Something similar is expected in the U.S. as well.

In fact, demand for nude hose is already being seen here. An executive at Kayser-Roth Hosiery reports that bookings for nude hose are up twelve percent in the U.S. in May. “The demand for very sheer, nude and transparent looks is not an accident — it’s being driven by London and it’s all about being very elegant,” she told WWD.

The rekindled interest in sheer hosiery comes as no surprise to Valerie A. Mackie, marketing director for legwear at Invista Inc., who projected a “renaissance” last fall.

“I think what’s fueling the renewed interest is a younger consumer who hasn’t worn hosiery in the past…that’s why thigh highs are so strong at Victoria’s Secret, with the Silks brand in Canada, and in countries like Spain, where thigh highs represent as much as 50 percent of total sheer hosiery business,” said Mackie.

Thigh-highs and nude hose feel like very different things to us — thigh-highs are about being sexy! Something young women overtly gravitated toward, especially near the end of the last decade, with pop stars like Rihanna and Lady Gaga running around in barely any clothing. Sheer panty hose are about not having sex appeal, cellulite, or bruises — three things royals and their siblings must want to avoid exposing in the tabloids very badly.

The Royal Road to Sheer Hosiery [WWD]

Best Bet: Motel Denim Playsuit

Best Bet: Motel Denim Playsuit

When separates feel like too much effort in the heat, summer becomes the season of the onesie. Reminiscent of the all-denim looks from Stella McCartney’s spring 2011 collection (which the designer herself has been seen sporting), Motel’s Winnie denim playsuit looks like an easy choice for grab-and-go weekend wear. Details like the buttoned shoulders and V-neck open back make it a standout look on its own for day, though a bold accessory or two could make this an effortlessly chic outfit for a casual evening.

Motel Winnie Open Back Piping Detail Denim Playsuit, $72.40 online.

Happy Friday! Here’s a Tim Gunn–Themed Treat for the Weekend

Happy Friday! Here’s a Tim Gunn–Themed Treat for the Weekend

While the designs on the catwalk in last night’s Project Runway premiere may have been a tad lackluster (though really, you can’t expect much from sleepwear), Tim Gunn was in fine form. Not that we’d expect anything less. From giving the designers an early-morning wake-up call to blowing them air kisses, he remained a dapper and delightful quote machine. Here’s a quick compilation of his best moments from the episode:

Project Runway Recap: A Rude Awakening Indeed

Project Runway Recap: A Rude Awakening IndeedWatch the slideshow

Photo: Courtesy of Lifetime

Project Runway





Come As You Are

Complete Series
Coverage »Vulture TV Recaps

Here we sew go again. “Are we really back here?” asks Heidi, with a smize and a grin, to open Project Runway’s ninth season. And as we wish our Thursday nights goodbye for the foreseeable future, we must say we were wondering the same thing.

Things kick off with the obligatory, comforting montage of supposedly confused contestants wheeling their suitcases through New York, which is just silly because: CABS. This is New York, there are cabs. Lots of cabs. As a further means of introduction, all twenty designers have to tout their bestest wares on a rack for Heidi, Nina, Michael, and Tim. And based on this selection of their pre-show work, four are out just like that. It’s a dizzying affair, and as a primer on this season’s players, more than a little confusing. After a brief back-and-forth amongst the judges — Nina is already questioning someone’s taste levels, yay! — the four almost-rans get their ticket home: table-waiting David , romper-hating Amanda, brilliantly named Gunnar Deatherage, and poor Serena who’d postponed her whole wedding (in Iceland, no less) for the show. We feel bad, because this whole ordeal was so unnecessary. Just narrow down your cast before starting the season, Project Runway, it’s not that hard. (And then you wouldn’t have needed a ninety minute long episode either.)

The sixteen survivors have their little toast and woo-hoo moment with Tim and a possibly tipsy, word-slurring Heidi, then it’s off to their apartments where, in a clear sign that none of them are meant to be real fashion folk, they seem to go straight to bed. Smart move on their part though, as Tim sneaks into all their rooms at 5 a.m. and starts a mass spooning session wakes everyone up. But this isn’t just for a slumber party or whisper-fest about cute boys, it’s a CHALLENGE. Yep, the contestants must transform their sleepwear into runway-worthy fashions (a single white bed sheet to use as extra fabric is optional). Something to note at this point: Considering that by the latter stages of every season the contestants are always visibly sleep-deprived and drained, the fact that the producers are messing with their sleep cycles on night one is an encouraging sign, at least from a ensuring-there’s-mindless-drama-and-crying point of view.

Still clad in their PJs, the designers take an early morning stroll through Midtown to get started at Parsons. We quickly learn this week’s primary workroom-related storyline is that Miss Trinidad & Tobago, who only learned to sew four months before auditioning for the show, has no clue what she is doing. There is literally next to nothing fashion-related that she seems to have any experience in — from draping to dyeing to sewing to even threading a sewing machine. Other plot points of note (because with so many folks fighting for screen-time, the editing is never going to be subtle): Mormon baldie Joshua has not allowed any room for adjustments in his garments — of course this means he’ll get the model who lied about her measurements; and Rafael will not share his bedhead with the cameras, flat-out refusing to remove his leopard-print headscarf to incorporate it into his design until the last minute. (Even after some serious Tim Gunn tough love.) Also, oldie Bert proceeds to use his boxer shorts in his design, despite the potential for “nut juice,” a phrase we wish we’d never heard, and Olivier — the one with the hard-to-place accent — is beautiful.

In a sly-but-not-unexpected promo move — because she’s headlining a new TV show this fall — Christina Ricci is this week’s guest judge. She, along with stalwarts Michael, Nina, and Heidi, watch the runway show with well-practiced blasé bemusement, and the occasional wry half-smile, which, as always, the designers over-analyze to death as a sign of their impending victory — or doom.

From the top- and bottom-scoring designers who get their crit from the judges on the runway, oldie Bert is awarded the first win for an asymmetric wrap dress (and more importantly, for having listened to the judges’ feedback from his first meeting with them), and Rafael, who’d taken off his headscarf but evidently too late, got the boot. Clearly, the eye-sex he thought he’d been having with Nina back at the final casting round counted for nothing.

Click through our slideshow to see all sixteen outfits, and mourn the many comfy sweatpants that are no more.

Baseless Week #01 Prediction, Fashion Week Finalists: Anthony, Danielle, Olivier.

Doesn’t Courtney Love Look Demure?

Doesn’t Courtney Love Look Demure?

Photo: Jon Furniss/WireImage

Courtney Love attended Ladies Day at the Goodwood horse racing festival in Chichester, England, yesterday wearing a delicate floral-print dress from the popular 2011 fall Miu Miu collection. She paired the dress with Giuseppe Zanotti peep-toe heels, a feathery fascinator, beige gloves, and a large snakeskin handbag.

Doesn’t Courtney look all nice and fresh and presentable? Or do you prefer her less ladylike ensembles?

Jane Pratt Apparently Charges $15,000 for Speaking Engagements

Jane Pratt.

Jane Pratt.Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

The Observer called Jane Pratt’s publicist to see if she could “deliver a brief address to a small group a month from now, in New York,” and was quoted a fee of $15,000, supposedly a deal because Pratt wouldn’t have to travel. Apparently they still booked her, though, on the condition that they get to pick her outfit. [NYO]