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    Back Pocket Design

    Feb 22nd, 2011
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    Back Pocket Design

    How do you tell one pair of designer jeans from the next?? ?Simple, all you have to do is take a look at the back pockets. ?The designer denim craze has created a population that is obsessed and fascinated with back pocket designs. ?Most brands today have such a distinctive back pocket that makes them easily identifiable.

    With unique colors, stitching, shape, and size, choosing the best back pocket for you can become a daunting task. ?Just because the design may appear to you on the hanger does not mean the back pocket will work on your body. ?Keep reading to see which

    Every brand has a distinctive color, stitching, shape or size that can either enhance or detract from your behind when you are wearing them. They may look great on the hanger, but do nothing for you when they are on your body. We“ll try to help you understand what“s best for your size and shape.

    Oversized pockets:

    Oversized pockets can be funky and fun but they do not necessarily work on all bodies. ?When oversized pockets are placed very low and end up sitting more on the back of your thigh than on your butt, they can create the appearance of a perky butt on smaller seats. ?For those of us with a larger bottom, these oversized pockets can make our behinds look even larger and shorter. ?Check out J & Company’s Malibu jean for a great clean oversized pocket.

    Embellishments and Flaps:

    Heavily embellished back pockets can really make heads turn. Intricate embroidery (like that on J & Company’s Beverly New Dagger), multi-colored stitching (on Antik’s Bootcut and Wide Leg) , and fabric insets (like that on Kasil’s Eleanore) are all designed to focus attention on your assets. These types of pockets are great for adding dimension and interest to your seat. While this is perfect for flat seats, making them appear fuller and rounder, it can be too much added bulk for those with fuller behinds.

    Special Shaping:

    Technology and art come together creating pockets with an extra lift. ?Asymmetrical pockets with angled corners and unique shaping are specifically designed to flatter your seat. Darted back pockets create extra curve for your seat while special angles and corners work with your curves to give an illusion of lift. Done right, these jean pockets work well for anyone.

    Siwy jeans are one brand that is integrating this special shaping into their design. ?The tulip-shaped back pockets on both the Hannah and Kat jeans create the appearance of a fuller and perkier behind.

    Blue Cult’s Original Buttlifter and Kate Buttlifter also use this special technology. ?The yoke or back seam is removed from the jeans which allows for higher pockets and an instant lift. ?Diagonally placed darts also give the illusion of a perkier behind.


    A basic back pocket design may seem hard to find these days but a simply designed rear is a classic way to show off simple signature stitching. ?The classic back pocket has a basic spade shape that flatters every figure. ?Red Engine jeans have mastered the art of the basic back pocket. ?Wrangler 47 is yet another brand that keeps it simple and classic when it comes to back pockets. ?These simple designs are clean and refreshing in this age of back pocket mania.

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    Cotton’s sudden boom raises specter of a bust

    Dec 21st, 2010
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    Cotton boom (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / November 11, 2010)

    Cotton’s sudden boom raises specter of a bust

    San Joaquin Valley fields are white with cotton, and the price has quadrupled as Asian demand grows. But as one farmer asks, will people pay $2 or $3 more for a cotton shirt?

    By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times, December 20, 2010

    King Cotton is back.

    More than a decade after the state’s “white gold” crop started losing its luster, booming commodity prices have farmers cashing in on growing export demands — and have turned great swaths of Central California a snowy white during harvest season.

    Cotton-picking machines chug across old vegetable fields, former vineyards and land long fallow. Stacks of Pima cotton, as long as a semitrailer, stand row upon row as far as the eye can see, waiting to be shipped to mills and turned into Jockey underwear, Fieldcrest towels or L.L. Bean shirts.

    The bits of white debris dusting the sky and lying on the side of the road, lost on the drive from field to port, hardly seem a blight. Instead, in towns such as Huron, Lemoore and Firebaugh where joblessness has soared, they are signs of hope returned.

    Cotton gins at once-shuttered plants rumbled back to life. Machine shops are recruiting mechanics who understand the underpinnings of Boll Buggys and cotton strippers. Seed salesmen are scrambling to keep up with orders from farmers eager for spring to come to their gold-green expanse.

    “It feels so good to think that things could be good again,” said Kathy Neves, office manager of Huron Ginning Co., which rehired 30 workers and turned its machines back on this fall.

    Although California’s current production numbers are a pittance compared with the 1990s, when more than 1 million acres of cotton flourished, farmers are ramping up — particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, historically the heart of the state’s cotton industry.

    Growers were expected to plant a total of 309,000 acres of Pima and upland cotton this year, up from 201,000 last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

    A similar movement is happening in the South, Southwest and elsewhere in rural America. Nationwide, the total acreage of cotton planted grew nearly 21% this year to 11.04 million acres. The amount of cotton harvested? It jumped 51%.

    The increases are being driven in part by short supplies caused by poor weather in major producing regions overseas and robust demand from emerging markets such as China and India. Prices surged in the summer and fall as the USDA forecast that cotton stockpiles in China — the world’s biggest user and importer — would be the tightest in more than a decade.

    Investors and speculators, already in the rising commodity markets as a hedge against inflation and the risk of further devaluation of the dollar and other paper currencies, have raced to embrace cotton.

    It’s a radical shift from the depths of the recession just two years ago, when the textile industry collapsed as consumers cut back their spending on luxury goods. It particularly hurt California farmers, who produce 90% of the country’s Pima cotton crop used to make higher-end textiles.

    In November 2008, benchmark cotton futures plunged to 37 cents a pound, the lowest since 2002. Now, the price has quadrupled, closing at $1.50 a pound as of Friday after rising as high as $1.57 last month.

    “The pendulum for cotton tends to swing very widely, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Sharon C. Johnson, a senior cotton analyst at Penson Futures, a brokerage firm based in Chicago. “I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon. It’s going to take two years of strong production to have things level out, meaning it will take that long before world stockpiles — and therefore prices — return to a semi-normal level.”

    The effects are rippling from financial trading floors to the sales floor of Thomason Tractor Co. in Firebaugh, 221 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Business is brisk. It’s sold five harvesters in the last month, pulling in about $2.5 million in sales. Steve Malanca, the general manager, hired two mechanics to handle the growing stream of service calls for cotton machinery.

    One local farmer, who had sworn off the crop years ago, needed someone to reassemble his cotton planter, Malanca said. “There were parts lying in a shack, others stacked elsewhere outside. He said, ‘I need you to put it together. I gotta plant cotton in May.’ ”

    This agricultural boon, however, is more than simply economic. It also has revived a piece of the region’s heritage.

    Cotton came to California’s heartland more than a century ago, as waves of ambitious farmers and local rogues shaped the land with the plantation culture of the South. Even today, mint juleps remain a staple on some bar menus, and Corcoran — home to the Boswell cotton empire — celebrated the 50th anniversary of its cotton festival in October with a frog-jumping contest and floats in a parade through town.

    “There’s an upbeat, positive attitude. It has caused the community to feel good about itself,” Corcoran Mayor Larry Hanshew said. “I’m just concerned about how long it will last.”

    The price run-up isn’t good news for everyone: Analysts caution that starting next year, U.S. consumers will probably be paying more for their shirts, sheets and socks.

    Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and other retailers have warned that the rise in cotton prices means they may have to pay Chinese suppliers at least 20% more for clothing. How much of that cost will trickle down to the retail shelves is uncertain.

    That question nags at Tony Azevedo, a stocky, fourth-generation cotton farmer in Stratford, a rural hamlet 190 miles northwest of Los Angeles. On a recent afternoon, he parked his pickup truck on a dirt road cutting across one of his fields and got out to check on the harvest. Half a dozen mechanized pickers rumbled in the distance. Three farmworkers used hand rakes to collect stray tufts along the road and tossed them into a bin, to be cleaned and sold.

    Worry lines tugged at Azevedo’s weathered face. In the spring, his family plowed and planted 2,600 acres of Pima cotton. By fall, the crops were coming in and his cellphone rang with the sales calls from a local cotton cooperative: A Chinese firm bought some of his cotton at $1.55 a pound.

    “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s great,’ ” recalled Azevedo, 37, whose family owns Stone Land Co.

    The orders piled up. So did the sales price. $1.68 a pound. $1.86. $2. $2.10.

    Autumn is usually a joyous season, the brimming loads a payoff for months of sweat. Azevedo has learned to treasure this moment — but not bank on it. Cotton prices boom and, just as fast, they bust. But not in three generations, he said, has it boomed this high or this fast.

    “It’s not good. I don’t want a market that’s so high no one uses our product,” Azevedo said. “In this economy, will people pay $2, $3, more for a cotton shirt? Or will they buy clothes made with something else?”

    The farmer reached down to pick up a stray clump of cotton and tossed it into the bin, then walked back to his truck. His phone buzzed. Azevedo read the text message and quietly groaned: Another order of cotton was sold to a customer in China — for $2.28 a pound.


    Copyright ? 2010, Los Angeles Times

    Textile Firms Squeezed by Costs

    Jul 27th, 2010
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    Textile Firms Squeezed by Costs


    Posted?TUESDAY JULY 27, 2010

    From?WWD ISSUE 07/27/2010

    Shopping the Texworld show

    Shopping the Texworld show.

    Photo By?Kyle Ericksen

    NEW YORK — Pinched by higher raw material costs and pressured by buyers for faster turnarounds and lower prices, textile suppliers exhibiting at international textile shows here said they face daunting challenges.

    There is a sense the worst of the economic crisis is over, but fabric firms showing at Première Vision Preview and Texworld USA this month said the biggest issue they face is an inability to pass on price increases to their customers, particularly retailers and brands opposed to raising prices in a weak consumer market. Retail prices for apparel have been on a decades-long decline and consumers are likely to resist increases, executives said.

    Cotton, wool and synthetic fiber prices have been rising. At the end of June, cotton was 76 cents a pound compared with 50 cents a year earlier. Wool prices climbed to $3.65 a pound in June from $2.82 a pound last year.

    Despite rising raw material costs, “everyone is here wanting lower prices,” said James Lee, sales director for South Korean textile firm PangRim Co. Ltd., and an exhibitor at Texworld USA at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. “I don’t see garment prices going up [in the U.S.].”

    Carole Simon, an account executive with Taiwan-based Excelassoc Co. Ltd., also at Texworld, said, “The retailer wants the same price or lower. It’s difficult to manage and it’s worse now than last year in terms of raw material costs.”

    Michael Maqsood, director of Experience Clothing Co. Ltd. and Fazil & Co. Ltd., said rising costs in China, in particular, where raw material prices are compounded by a labor shortage and higher wages, provided opportunities for his three factories in Bangladesh. However, the challenges remain.

    “Retailers are much tougher dealing with their customers,” Maqsood said.

    Merchants have pushed back on their suppliers, looking for discounts, more penalties if there’s an error in goods, “any excuse to get lower prices,” he said.

    Exhibitors at Première Vision at the Metropolitan Pavilion & Altman Building expressed a similar sentiment.

    “The retailer won’t increase prices and it comes back to the producer,” said Fatma Atay, export manager for Turkey-based Altinyildiz Corp., which manufactures tailored wools. “I don’t know how we are supposed to deal with that.”

    Francesco Picchi, an owner of Italian woolen firm Picchi SpA, said, “I’ve been in the business 20 years and I’ve never seen the price of wool as high as it is today.”

    During the recession, the number of sheep in Australia declined as farmers chose to use their land for more lucrative crops, and washing and cleaning mills closed because demand was down, he said.

    As global economic forces continue to have an impact on the supply chain, many see an opportunity for new production centers to gain market share. At Texworld, officials from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the State Department highlighted efforts to strengthen industry ties with Pakistan. The show introduced a pavilion sponsored by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan featuring Pakistani textile and apparel companies.

    “The U.S. government wants everyone to know we’re doing everything we can to facilitate business in Pakistan,” said Gail Strickler, assistant USTR for textiles.

    Pakistan, the second-largest U.S. textile supplier behind China, has been the focus of efforts to expand trade. Pakistan shipped 906 million square meter equivalents of textiles to the U.S. between January and May worth $633 million, according to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel. As the ninth largest U.S. apparel supplier, Pakistan shipped 259 million SME between January and May, with an estimated value of $528 million.

    Congress failed to move a bill last year authorizing “reconstruction opportunity zones” in Pakistan and Afghanistan that would provide duty free treatment to a limited amount of textile and apparel products and other consumer goods made in the zones. A renewed focus by the Obama administration on funding for the war in Afghanistan this year could give momentum to Congressional consideration of the manufacturing zones, which President Obama supports.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan signed a trade agreement on July 18 to ease ground shipments of goods between the two countries. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during a two-day trip to Pakistan, unveiled details of a new aid package focused on water and energy projects.

    Sumaira Moiz Farooq, director of Looptex Apparel Manufacturing Sourcing and Design, based in Lahore, said the Pakistan pavilion had helped her company establish itself at the Texworld show. The company, a first-time exhibitor, has worked with Levi Strauss & Co. and other U.S. firms, and wants to expand more in the U.S. Looptex exhibited as part of the International Apparel Sourcing Show at Texworld.

    Suppliers offering fabrics with something different did brisk business at both shows. At Première Vision, Savyon Industries Textiles Ltd., a Brazilian company that manufactures jacquard knits and jerseys, ran through two books of order forms before midafternoon on the first day, said Laurent Prout, the company’s representative.

    Joao Teixeira Duarte, commercial director for Portugal-based Gierlings Velpor SA, which makes fake fur and velvet, said differentiating by investing in product development and marketing in the recession paid off for his company. The firm saw a significant number of buyers during the first day of Première Vision.

    Designer Kathryn Dianos said she “didn’t see much revolutionary in the majority of collections” at Première Vision, but overall it remains an important part of how she puts her color and trend concepts together when she thinks about her fall collection.

    Overall, the shows seem to reflect the mood of the market, with some companies and sectors rebounding from recession faster than others. Most were in step with Jacques Brunel, deputy director general of Première Vision, who said the market has seen significant changes in recent years, even before the economic crisis.

    “Where we had five or 10 people visiting from each company before, now there are one or two,” Brunel said.

    Everyone wants to be in the “jean” business

    May 21st, 2010
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    Kimberly-Clark announced the nationwide availability of the limited edition Huggies Little Movers Jeans Diapers – a unique, fun and stylish denim-inspired fashion for babies during the summer months.

    The rest of the story:?Kimberly-Clark Introduces Huggies Little Movers Jeans Diapers – Yahoo! Finance.


    Cotton Tale: Apparel Prices Set to Rise

    May 20th, 2010
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    After a decade of deflation, the cost of producing apparel is on the rise.

    Prices for cotton are up about 55% from a year earlier, and costs are rising for other raw materials as well as transportation and labor. Recession-scarred retailers, which have only recently recouped their profit margins, will try to pass at least some of the price increase along to shoppers.

    Cotton prices are up about 70% from a year earlier.

    Above, cotton sorters at a textile factory in China.

    “We are facing a very serious problem in terms of increased cotton prices,”Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Chief Executive Michael Jeffries said Tuesday. The increases are making it harder for the high-priced teen retailer to restore margins already eroded by steep markdowns and depressed sales.

    Intimate-apparel maker?Maidenform BrandsInc. says it is seeing rising fuel costs that affect not only what it spends on transportation, but also the price of the petroleum-based synthetic materials that it uses for many of its products.

    “The reality is that there will be some price increases,” Chief Executive Maurice Reznik said in an interview. The company will likely try to tuck them into bigger-ticket items such as shapewear. The price of a $38 shaping top might rise by $2 to $3, Mr. Reznik said.

    The rising costs come as better inventory control has given retailers a measure of pricing power. Once ubiquitous deep discounts are harder to find, and consumers already are shelling out more for clothing. An index measuring the price consumers pay for apparel rose 1% in 2009, the first increase in more than a decade and the biggest year over year jump since 1993, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    “We’re not going to see this ongoing decline in costs, this ongoing margin expansion for retailers and this ongoing savings for the consumer,” says Richard Jaffe, a retail analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.

    Raw materials account for between a quarter and half of the cost of producing a garment, says Andrew Jassin, managing director of retail consultant Jassin-O’Rourke Group LLC.

    Cotton prices increased to more than 88 cents a pound in April, up 55% from a year earlier and higher than they got during the commodities boom last decade, according to trade publisher Cotlook Ltd.’s ‘A’ index, a proxy for the world price of cotton. The index stood at 89.80 cents Tuesday.

    The spike in cotton prices is partly attributable to a drop in production, says Mr. Jassin. As apparel demand fell in the recession, some farmers switched to crops such as soybeans.

    Mother Nature is also a culprit. Severe weather in China, the world’s largest producer of cotton, has damaged the quantity and quality of the country’s crop, says Rob Samuels, senior retail analyst on the equity sales and trading team of Phoenix Partners Group. Some Chinese factories will now have to purchase cotton yarn from other countries, which will translate into rising costs, Mr. Samuels says.

    Companies such as?Hanesbrands Inc. sometimes hedge cotton, because it’s a big part of their costs, but most companies don’t, as they use a mix of fabrics, Mr. Jassin says.

    With consumers still stressed, companies aren’t going to be able to pass along all of their higher costs.?Liz Claiborne Inc. earlier this month cut its 2010 gross profit margin forecast, saying it would widen only by five percentage points instead of a previously estimated six, citing cotton prices as well as higher labor and transport costs.

    “We are starting to see real second-half sourcing inflation,” Claiborne’s Chief Financial Officer Andrew Warren said on a May 6 conference call.

    Wesley Card, chief executive of?Jones Apparel Group Inc., said recently that the company has been buying raw materials such as cotton and leather early with the expectation prices will rise. He also said price increases are likely in the fourth quarter.

    At Jones, whose many apparel labels include Jones New York and Anne Klein, incremental price increases will likely come on higher-ticket, more fashionable items, such as embellished shoes and dresses, instead of price-driven basics, such as plain T-shirts and sweaters, Mr. Card said.

    Many manufacturers and retailers, including?J.C. Penney Co., are changing the blend of their materials to keep costs down. Other companies are looking to lower cost producers outside China. Maidenform this year began moving some of its sourcing to Bangladesh, but is going slow until it gets more confident about the quality of the work.

    Write to Elizabeth Holmes at?elizabeth.holmes@wsj.com and Rachel Dodes atrachel.dodes@wsj.com

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