Please forgive GWAS' current obsession with Georgina Safe's fashion coverage for SMH, but I'm just fascinated by the spectacle of the GIANT double-page spread, and the commensurate fashion stories appearing earlier in the paper, each Thursday (which, I might add, I get on Fridays...such is rural life).
I was also more than a little smitten to see one of my favourite Sydney fashion designers smiling back from the latest edition (take a bow, Clare Press of Mrs Press) beside Natasha Silva-Jelly's byline. The boutique retail sector is suffering, says Silva-Jelly, "besieged by the new world of e-commerce", but there is hope for those who embrace the internet, mobile, social networking and VIP in-store events, while differentiating their in-store offering and services, just like Press and, at the mass end, Sportsgirl.
As with last week, fashion also got some front-of-book coverage with Georgina Safe's 'Online the new black, but malls still sparkle'. It's a story hooked on the launch of Westfield's online shopping portal, westfield.com.au, which notes half of all shoppers research online before going in-store (they are known as "pre-shoppers") and they spend 41% more in bricks-and-mortar stores (hence, online is not a threat to the Westfield real-estate). Imagine the end to the shopping mall!
Of course, the biggest bummer of all, as far as retailers are concerned, was presented on page one of Thursday's paper by Peter Martin and Philip Wen, accompanied by two young female shoppers and a side-bar showing us consumer confidence has fallen 9% over the past year: "Australians are richer than ever, paying off debt at an unprecedented rate – but still losing confidence in the economy," they write. "Total borrowing by individuals and corporations is down 11 per cent over the year, the biggest slide on record."
The sentiment is echoed in 'New labels struggle to soar': "I was finally getting to a point where I felt like I was getting somewhere after years of working seven days a week, then the GFC halved the business and took us back to square one," says Jayson Brundson, who adds: "Fashion in Australia is a luxury. It's not a culture here. What's more important is having the lifestyle, buying a surfboard, a car or a computer rather than buying a dress or appreciating fashion as part of your culture as you would do in Europe."
Fashion looks prettier than ever in print, but perhaps isn't so safe.
Girl With a Satchel
Girl With a Satchel