Stashoholism Confessional and Book Recommendation

Fabric Mart, 3-2012

So, I've been feeling a little out of control on fabric buying lately.  I decided that I would not buy any fabric during Lent.  It's not that long, and heaven knows I don't need more fabric, or at least no need would arise in 6 weeks.

I blame Cidell for this.  She sent me a tweet from Fabric Mart about it receiving a shipment of Dry Flex knit.  You know I've been looking for good quality knits for months.  They had it in peacock, one of my favorite colors.  I tried my mantra, "There will always be more fabric."  (My other mantra:  "Buying more fabric keeps me from projects I love.")  But in fact, this kind of fabric is not easy to find and definitely not at that price, and Fabric Mart's stock was quite limited.

Because it has flat rate shipping, it is just economically foolish to buy only one piece of fabric from Fabric Mart.  Right?  (OK, fine, I know that the best "bargain" is spending no money at all.)  But they were also having a 20% off sale.  (There will always be more fabric.)

At any rate, the knit print was so cheap I couldn't pass it up, and it turned out to be really lovely in person.  The print is high end-looking, if that makes sense, and the light parts are light gray rather than white.

The dupioni will be great for a silk shell, of which I don't have enough.

The purple silk was on deep discount as there was only one yard left and it was just so pretty I had to give it a home.  It will be a lovely airy blouse.

Oh right, and the dry flex knit is AWESOME.  Very high quality, thick, good recovery.  It could even be used as a bottom-weight for yoga pants.  I ordered 3 yards and will be glad to have this available in my stash for years.

I have to say, I'm not sorry and I would do it again.  But from now on I really will endeavor to keep my Lenten pledge.


Enjoying sewing does not mean that you enjoy fashion, and enjoying fashion does not mean you have any interest in the business of fashion.  But if you have an interest in the business of fashion (or , I would argue, business *or* fashion), you must read this fascinating book. 

It explores how luxury brands--couture houses such as Dior and Chanel, custom luggage makers such as Louis Vuitton and Hermes--went from tiny purveyors of wildly expensive goods to the very wealthy to aspirational and then to attainable by the middle class. Chapters cover the consolidation of luxury brands (LVMH being the behemoth), vertical integration of the supply and distribution chain, the development of smaller items such as perfume to drive revenue and brand recognition, the explosive rise in the market for luxury goods (or luxury-branded goods, at any rate) outside Europe and the United States, counterfeiting (chilling), and the move from fashion into "lifestyle."

I may not be making it sounds interesting, but trust me, it is *riveting.*

It's not perfect, of course, and I identified two negatives.

The first is not Thomas's fault: the book just happened to be published on the cusp of the Great Recession. So the tone that takes continued, free-for-all growth for granted is a bit quaint and the data is dated. In addition, one of the big stories of the Great Recession has been the stability of luxury brands. They are not recession-proof, but have not contracted to the same degree as other industries, from what I've read (the Wall Street Journal does an excellent job covering the business of fashion). It would have been interesting to read about that in the book.

The second is totally Thomas's fault, and is evident in the book's subtitle, "How Luxury Lost Its Luster." A more fitting subtitle would have been "The Democratization of Luxury" or "How Luxury Became Big Business." But there is a tone throughout that indicates Thomas's great regret is that "true" luxury disappeared before she could join the luxury class.  The last chapter is devoted to reassuring the reader that the rich still have ways to spend lots of money on things that ordinary people cannot obtain, such as $800 made-to-measure bras (to which I say, eat your heart out over Sigrid's gorgeous bras!!!!).

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