Friday, March 9, 2012

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!!!!).

There is a link to my Goodreads shelf on the right hand sidebar.  Please send me a friend request if you join!  


Brooke said...

I am jealous of your dry-flex knit. After making the princess running costume, I know how hard it can be to find nice wicking fabric in decent colors.

NancyDaQ said...

I read Deluxe on vacation last winter. I agree, good read, but I wish they would publish a new revised edition. And yeah, she does sound a wee bit regretful that "luxury" is more available to the masses.

Mary said...

In my mind as I salivate over your purchases...

There will always be more fabric. Buying fabric keeps me from projects I love. Repeat as needed.

Good buys Trena! A girl cannot have too much teal.

badmomgoodmom said...

I found the book interesting, too. But it did suffer a bit from her "I live in Paris" attitude. And then she dissed Torrance, a town which I know well and love.

I wonder what dirt she has on Prada that her editors/Prada lawyers made her leave out? She seems to really abhor Prada's practices, but that section was really sparse.

BTW, I got rid of word verification and rely on the Blogger spam filter, which is pretty good. Try it and see if it works for you.

Clio said...

LOL. As a some-would-say-lapsed-but-I-say-recovering Catholic, I look forward to hearing how your Lenten abstention plan goes. ;-)

Great haul!

Samina said...

Thanks for the laugh! You do realize that you can't blame Cidell for your going to hell, but you'll likely be one of the best dressed when you get there ;-p

Jilly Be said...

I don't know whether to glare at you for letting me know that FM carries the dry-flex knit (which I WANT), or be relieved that I don't like any of the colors they have left.

Meanwhile, I'll join Mary in the chant: There will always be more fabric. Buying fabric keeps me from projects I love. Repeat as needed.

emadethis said...

I always miss these sales at Fabric Mart. Maybe I'm just not really looking on their site. The knit is great--I'm so glad it's lovely! As many cookbooks as I read, I think I should join Goodreads if for no other reason than I have bad recipe radar I know too many people who can't spot a clunker in cookbooks.

McVal said...

That sounds like a very interesting read! THanks for the review!
And I don't believe in giving things up for Lent. Someone else a long time ago already did that for me...
So you wanna to fabric shopping with me? ;P

StephC said...

Thanks for the book rec, it sounds right up my alley.

I love reading economic/business/social science from right before the recession... The idea of unbridled infinite growth sounded stupid to me then, and now I can read that sort of stuff and think "I KNEW it wouldn't last!!" ;)

AllisonC said...

I love all the fabrics you got and don't blame you (or Cidell!) for breaking your promise to give up for Lent. The book sounds interesting, I will give it a try even though I am sure the tone is going to annoy me too!

lakaribane said...

I love the poly knit and the silk dupioni. I have a MAJOR weakness for rayures bayadere (there's an accent on the first e but my pc doesn't feel like putting it, LOL!).

hanne said...

Sad that so many of the fabric resources have gone away. I have trouble finding any fabric that I want anymore. Used to be the old Gstreet had fabulous fabrics that were affordable.
I was there last week, and all the things on the flat fold table were just god awful! The rest of the fabrics were god awful expensive! I used to be a great fan of Gstreet, but, I see no reason to ever go back.
You are young and can not be expected to know how it was back some years ago. A whole generation has never known a REAL fabric store. If you only knew what you young ones are missing!! If you tell the young ones about what it used to be like, they look at you as if you have two heads and dismiss you as if you are old babbling lady! I am only 60. Plenty of us remember. I suspect that many my age have just given up.

It seems as if we have gone backwards. I now have to purchase fabrics that I cannot experience, online, and wait for the mail. No more can I go to the store and find beautiful stuff to fondle on the way home. I miss it SO much!!

Elizabeth said...

I would love to read this, and also pass it along to my daughter.

While living in Paris a few years back, it was real apparent where the true luxury still was. Louis Vuitton, was constantly bombarded by tourists of all kinds, trying to capture a bit of the luxury somehow. For some reason it all seemed to loose it's luster because of this.

Down the street would be my favorite luxury leather goods boutique, and that would be Lancel. I personally think their pieces are more beautiful than LV. You can't find Lancel in the States, unless you go to the JFK airport duty free stores.
Seems like France is trying to keep them a secret and have that one little piece of luxury, that the masses don't know about.

meli88a said...

I laughed out loud when I read this:
I ordered 3 yards and will be glad to have this available in my stash for years.

You are so funny and honest.

The book sounds very interesting, and I burn through books on my commute (1 hour by public transit each way, every day!) so am always looking for something new. I'll look you up on Goodreads and look forward to recommendations for new books!

Anonymous said...

Love your site, Trena! Remember, book titles are part of marketing, and the author may not have final say. They certainly are ever more flashy, while quite often less accurate. Also, what is dry-flex knit?

Meetzorp said...

I read that book not so long ago, too!

It reinforces some of my own snobberies, however. Such as the raging internal monologue I endure every time I go to a higher-end store (like Coach) and see all of their plaid goods with mismatched seams and general poor construction. Hardly anyone knows what quality looks like anymore.

poppykettle said...

A Lenten fabric diet sounds like a fabulous idea - goodness knows I need to reduce consumerism in this area! Thanks for the write up on the book - It definitely sounds like something I would love to read.

poppykettle said...

A Lenten fabric diet sounds like a fabulous idea - goodness knows I need to reduce consumerism in this area! Thanks for the write up on the book - It definitely sounds like something I would love to read.

kathy said...

You only live once.
Making it easy for my kids to sort out my belongings when I die is not on my agenda. She who owns the most fabric wins.

Sew Ducky said...

You have some lovely fabric, a few I looked at.

Will it make you feel better that I just ordered MORE? (I didn't give it up for Lent, however.)

Anonymous said...

I purchased about 3 yards of their dry flex too. What needle do you plan on using to avoid skipped stitches? I'm tried a piece and frustration got the best of me that night. I love the weight, texture, and recovery. Thanks for letting folks post anonymously

Pattipurls said...

I should have gone on a lenten fabric diet, but I purchased the same blue/gray poly from Fabric Mart and am now the happy wearer of Vogue 1027. I'll be curious to see what it becomes for you!