Thursday, February 21, 2008

J Crew's Women's S/S 08 Lineup

As we head back into the first months of spring, a few retail outlets come to mind for the usual spring shopping. This week we look at J.Crew's (NYSE:JCG) Women's lineup.

It seems as though this spring, the clothing is a bit more conservative than normal with a few odd quirks. In comparison with Anthropologie (NASDAQ:URBN), it seems as though much of their collection really is hit or miss. Half-jokingly, I compare some of J.Crew's collection with the older-woman style of Talbots (NYSE:TLB), moving away from a more youthful look. One very stand-out part of the S/S line is their obsession with the above pictured Paisley print (pictured above). This is certainly a different style direction than much of their pieces and might be a clash rather than a complement.

I think the brand may be getting a little too conservative for some of its core buyers in their early 20's. Perhaps perfect targets for Rugby (NYSE:RL)?

Sentiment: Neutral-Bearish.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hedge Funds Corral American Apparel

American Apparel (AMEX: APP) shares are being widely fielded by hedge funds. SEC 13G filings (which indicate that an investor or fund has amassed >5% ownership stake in a publicly traded entity) have been filed by Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Fir Tree, and most notably, SAC Capital Advisors.

SAC Capital Advisors is run by the ├╝ber-successful fund manager Steven Cohen, who routinely pays himself upwards of half a billion dollars a year (and more than a billion in 2005) for managing the fund, and is the 47th richest American, according to the latest figures. More importantly, Mr. Cohen has had a stellar track record investing in retail. Google Finance Board user mlrtist wrote:

" might interest you guys to take a quick look back at Cohen's involvement in [youth retailer] Wet Seal's dramatic turnaround exactly 2 years ago." - Retail - Wet Seat Turns It Around

Quoting the article from

"For S.A.C., Wet Seal has proved to be a huge success. The shares have nearly tripled since the firm bought its stake over a year ago..."

"The results imply that S.A.C., which held a 9.9% stake in Wet Seal as of Dec. 31, found a cheap way to break in on the teen fashion specialty-retail business, where Wall Street darlings like Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters and Pacific Sunwear have been delivering some of the highest returns in the stock market in recent years. Wet Seal operates about 300 stores across the U.S."

If Steven Cohen tripled his investment in Wet Seal, then we might take a good long look at American Apparel just by association.

(Full disclosure: author owns shares of American Apparel both directly and indirectly at the time of this writing; does not own shares of any other firm mentioned in the article.)

13G Filing - Morgan Stanley

13G Filing - Fir Tree
13G Filing - SAC Capital Advisors

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wardrobe Remix

Photography social network/photo storage site Flickr's got a new attraction, a group called Wardrobe Remix, that we love.

Browse through the photo pool and you'll find a lot of hipsters masquerading as pseudo-'Sartorialist' muses, and once in a while you'll come upon a fantastic, unique outfit.

Here are some of my favorites:

Wardrobe Remixers of the Week

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Puma's Hideous Creation

Puma has had a fantastic run these last five years, creating molded, provocatively-designed footwear often inspired by racecar driver's shoes, like the Speed Cat and the Mostro.

I went to Nordstrom's yesterday and checked out Puma's womens shoes in B.P. and was frightened by what I saw:

They call it the 'Spadrille'.

What do you think?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Linkfest!

Turning most of our focus over to fashion week coverage we have a few great articles for your viewing pleasure this week.

Fashion Week Coverage

Business of Fashion contends that "celebrity haute couture" will be the new standard after this fashion week. In addition, they have some great coverage of Gucci's new flagship store in NYC.

My Fashion life has coverage of the following collections, Arthur Mendonica, Naeem Kahn, American Express w/ Peter Som, Malan Breton, Karen Walker, Iodice, Rag and Bone, and our favorite, Gap's new look.

Styledash had coverage of Lacoste, Rock and Republic, Nautica, and Project Runway's Viktorya Hong.