Saturday, April 30, 2011


Outdoor Retailer, SLC


words/images judith ecochard

There are people...and then there are watch people.

We know guys that have watch wardrobes that rival any stiletto struttin' fashionista Manolo fanatic.

That includes the men (and women too)--- who are all about the performance/technical aspects of a timepiece---that really is a computer latched onto one's wrist. As opposed to those carrying their gigabit enriched screen devices...and nixing the wrist thing altogether.

Anyone who scuba dives knows how a "watch" is really a life saving piece of equipment.

SUUNTO---hailing from Finland, celebrated an anniversary (precisely)- with a new bold timepiece --- a CORE 75th ANNIVERSARY Edition digital watch that outdoor sports enthusiasts in mind. With an altimeter, barometer, altitude log, semi-automatic compass calculations, and compass functions built in...PLUS depth meter, and an audible storm alarm ...that sounds off after three hours of declining pressure. PAY ATTENTION...can be life saving...

Our fav feature...sunrise and sunset times all over the world---whereby one selects a region including wide swaths of the planet like Oceania/Pacific--- then city (more or less of one, that is). It's all pre-programmed proving that it is 18:00 somewhere on the earth...and always Happy Hour.

Currently out ---we liked the black/green model---but other colors are set to launch this year too ($349).

We also saw a rather easy to use CORE EDITION models too that ranged in price from $499-$299

URBAN-GLAM form with function = SUUNTO's versatile street to mountain handsome ELEMENTUM collection that we saw at OR but is fancy enough for a high end collectables tradeshow.

 The three takes of this style are inspired by Water (AQUA-with diving functionalities), Earth (TERRA-hiker friendy with altimeter/compass) and Wind (VENTAS-yatch ready with a sail race timer, advanced navigational compass and weather indicators. ($900)



From the fashiony, tell time plus watches (STYLE) the embedded with really- TMI of the latest Ironman® branded timepieces outdoor friendly watches for the adventure types (EXPEDITION)----there was  a lot to take in at this booth.


"WHO CARES WHAT TIME IT IS" is more than a marketing pitch...for the new Timex Expedition™ Trail Mate™ ---a watch (bragging 95% accuracy, fyi) ---with altimeter, barometer, alerts, and embedded with accelerator technology that measures distance, speed and pace on the trail, no calibration required...for all of $65.

We also saw this looker, the EXPEDITION E-ALTIMETER™ an analog instrument with a digital altimeter sensor---from 25,000 down to -400 feet...made of robust stainless steel with a neat looking 6 hand dial ($200). It has an Indiglo night light, minimum/maximum altitude recall, 100 meter water resistance...and measurements in feet or meters. Handsome.

At the top of the food chain the hardcore Expedition WS4™ ($200) with an oversized customizable screen capable of delivering tons of info---including weather 411- and in two time zones--- plus the maybe usual timer, alarm, altimeter, thermometer, compass, 50 meter water resistance and the maybe not usual -a user replaceable battery...a carabine version is available too.

The same kind of MO goes into the new Health Tracker($60) and Health Touch ($65) ---
Silicon Straps lots of colors on the TIMEX IRONMAN ALL DAY 50-LAP.

The former keeps pace of speed, pace and distance via the arm swinging motion of the arms and with activity levels/gender input-able ...and if so inclined, the user can also keep a diet diary on this watch...even the Weight Watchers points system...and thereby track calories burned. An alarm can be set to go off when one over indulges too. We thought, an OCD's dream instrument.

The Health Touch, pictured up top- has nice wrist straps choices...and one can easily track calories burned. PLUS it's a heart rate monitor without the chest strap, is water resistant to 50 meters, and has count down timers.

The new Ironman® Race Trainer Pro collection of watches- are good looking!!

AND with the top-of the-line functionalities and measurements one could possibly ever need AND GPS/software upload-able capabilities-including splits, time intervals, laps etc. For KONA wannabes who don't want to miss a beat!


Friday, April 29, 2011


Grand Hyatt, NYC

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

The American Apparel & Footwear Association's annual American Image Awards ceremony is always an industry draw...with designers, retailers, media and business heavyweights coming together this year--- for an evening of a lot of laughs...
Mark Weber, Donna Karan,Whoopi Goldberg

Kevin Burke (l)

AND of course, to pay tribute to honorees:

The set by Ruben Toledo---should be donated to the Smithsonian

Mark Weber-CEO of LMVH, Chaiman & CEO of Donna Karan
Man of Year

Neiman Marcus
Retailer of the Year

Ruben and Isabel Toledo
Fashion Maverick

William Rast
Brand of the Year

UGG Australia
Footwear Brand of the Year

David Koch
Humanitarian Award

AND to also donate 40% of the net proceeds from the evening to the Prostate Cancer Foundation

Julia Koch and Robert Verdi

Robert Verdi was a very quick witted host---full of wise/sly comments laced with well-timed comedic doses of humility. We can see why he is a M of C in demand although he referred to himself as the ultimate last minute fill-in.

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke, President & CEO of AAFA opened with remarks about the state of the industry with comments, we thought interesting---like the "fundamental shift in consumer patterns" (post recession)... and the rising costs of production and raw goods as challenging well as embracing sustainability (eco alert) and new technology to benefit the industry-at large.

David Koch ---a giant in many industries ---including INVISTA™-part of the privately held Koch Industries,  ---made a heartfelt speech about his own personal experience battling prostate cancer ---and how now- thanks to a new drug---the disease is being treated more like a chronic disease then a life sentence.

Hopeful words---as Koch relayed how his doctor was "certain he will live a great many more years and die of something else."
David and Julia Koch

Major Point: Koch also made mention that "those of us who are well off should have a deep feeling of responsibility to help the less well off."

Whoopi Goldberg's trials with menopausal symptoms served as the launch pad for jokes in which she introduced her pals the "real people"  Isabel and Ruben Toledo. Goldberg's comment --- on when she sneezes, she's "wet on top and on the bottom," as a reason why the glam  custom made Toledo coat- was on her arm, got a lot of laughs. The actress/author/tv-host--- added how the couple have a natural glow..."without the botox."
Isabel and Reuben Toledo

In thanking the AAFA for the award...we liked how Isabel Toledo  made special mention of their "friends at Nordstom's in their bravery...and Payless for allowing me to express my vision of the mass market."

And her husband concluded: "...innovation and motivation work very well together." Agreed.

Fitting--- that George Malkemus of the luxury shoe brand Manolo Blahnik, introduced Retailer of the Year, Neiman Marcus...accepted by Jonathan Joselove. Acknowledging the principles set forth by the founders, the Marcus family, Joselove honed in on the retail giant's commitment to "outstanding customer service and product...(whereby) no sale is a good sale for Neiman Marcus unless it is a good buy for the customer."

Vogue's Susan Plagemann introduced that mega bestselling UGG Australia brand with a tribute to the "high quality" and "passion" of the label and "the people behind it  and what they chose to do with it...beyond what a flat sheepskin boot could be" As in that amazing selling genius collab with Jimmy Choo where... "you wouldn't have them in the same bouquet if they were flowers."

Connie Rishwain, in turn, accepting for her UGGS team--- gave them all a big helping her position the brand in that luxury, comfort fashion niche...that btw, has experienced annual double digit growth for the past 12 years.

Nordstrom's Loretta Soffe presented William Rast with the Brand of the Year Award...noting co-founder's Justin Timberlake's passion for clothes---and willingness to really get behind the now lifestyle brand, in a meaningful way that helps retailers sell the apparel.

Colin Dyne, who accepted the award remarked on the label's youthfulness, commitment to authenticity, and consistent message...and how for this "new American lifestyle brand...(it has been) an incredible and painful."

LMVH is a European based conglomerate that we admire for what we consider to be, it's very American-like entrepreneurial gambles on smaller labels. Antonio Belloni ---who was introduced by Robert Verdi with the MC's confession that instead of counting sheep, he downs Ambien and Moet-a LMVH brand...

...touched down from the French based mothership to warmly thank Mark Weber for his inspiration for the entire LMVH family and "his steady hand and ability to energize an organization through a recession." The executive also quoted Weber's comment that  the " pays me for my mind and I throw in my heart for free..."  ---adding that "...we're (LMVH) glad he threw in his heart cause his mind was expensive enough..."

We thought hey---being paid in the sinking US dollar---should carry a premium.

Mark Weber's acceptance speech followed an amazing fast-paced video of Donna Karan brands---(produced by Patty Cohen- deservedly-- profusely thanked).


Remarking how "Tony is so smart it is scary," he then noted that "...our industry is often maligned but it is one of the five essentials of life... and employs millions of people all over the world...we don't cure disease but we are one of the most benevolent industries." AMEN.
Mrs. and Mr. Weber-all smiles

He then recounted his personal history in the biz...and how his motivation to excel is not about the "money, title or power...or politics."

"I would have worked for free."

Weber thanked his team many times--- and acknowledged how as an American in a European company, there was a different culture to work with--- and a lot to learn. But like he figured out how to get an AAFA award since he was a 26 year old, attending his first American Image Awards dinner...

"I did okay for a kid from Brooklyn."

Very cool.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Lumberjacks in Manhattan

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

John Bartlett

John Bartlett is one of menswear designer icons---and we were thrilled to hear bout his JOHN BARTLETT CONSENSUS (sportswear) and JOHN BARTLETT STATEMENTS (furnishings) brands for mass merchant Bon-Ton Stores.

Designed for guys wanting a clean all-American fit, the presentation we saw at an Editors' preview ---had nice combo patterns and solids that fell into three Bartlett showed us---

Updated Ivy, with nice grown-up collegiate tailored pieces, classic argyle prints, charcoal slim suits with dress shirts and ties, duffel coats...

 Military autumnal shades (rust, olive green, brown), with GI Joe details like epaulets and updated cargo /five pocket jeans.
Makeup guy with back to camera---not that these dudes needed any

--- and Lumberjack with great plaids, a yarn shawl collared cardigan and fair isle pattern sweaters--- even a skinny tie worthy black suit a Joey Ramone might like.

Amazingly, the prices of these well made separates are all under $200 with the top price--- going for the very cool synthetic leather airman's style jacket..

Although Bartlett stressed to us he thinks the midwest customer will really gravitate towards these value items that are on trend, not trendy...

We think this collection has coast to coast potential.

Added Touch-pops of color in the webbed belts and kickers.


Grand Hyatt, NYC


An industry powerhouse crowd of fashion industry people always dresses well---and largely in black, of course.


We loved these Irregular Choice shoes on comedian/actress/tv host Whoppi Goldberg---who gave us lots of laughs delivering one the funniest intros to an awards winner(s) (the off the charts talented Isabel and Ruben Toledo)---ever.

She brought them at the shoe label's downtown store (276 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012-3304)...commenting:

"They're the best."

Earns a salute from us.

Mark Weber, CEO, LVMH Inc. Chairman and CEO Donna Karan International, Donna Karan and Whoopi Goldberg at the AMerican Image Awards


Outdoor Retailer, SLC

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Talk about the “it” pants for the upcoming seasons…

Khakis haven’t gotten so much fashion tongues wagging since those dancin’ Gap ads --- and the ubiquitous Dockers/casual Fridays phenom…but they’re back in vogue with that set ----with different fits (slim, flat front, military), cuffed or straight legs--- or the ultimate, we guess--- bespoke.

The costs of that finery might cause a cackle or two for a whole host of humans that have always worn this durable American classic of cotton canvas/twill, itself a fashion statement inspired by the Brit’s Corps of Guide troops in India as the dusty tan uniform of choice to avoid sniper fire.

Mountain Khakis, a Jackson Hole Wyoming based company got their take on this timeless rugged apparel ---100% right from the outset…with its Original Mountain Pant –made of proprietary 10.4 oz cotton canvas ---

And with the details that make all versions of them standouts: perfectly angled hand pockets, triple stitching, YKK® zippers, grosgrain lined waistbands, action gussets, antique nickel shank buttons…

MK Fall 2011 offers several new additions.

First we saw MK’s updated take on Men’s denim. Made of no-shrinkage 10.8oz denim…the dark and light rinses vary but the details…like triple stitching, drop yoke back pocket, action gusset, rivet reinforced stress points, 5 hand pockets---are the same. With a nod to have it your way---available in mid-rise, relaxed fit, or straight leg…$79.95 ships AUGUST 2011.

Also deliverable for August 2011-smartly made shirts and jackets, for men. 

The Stagecoach Jacket ($154.95) and Stagecoach Vest ($114.95) also make use of the 10.4 oz proprietary cotton canvas…and are handsome!

Design features include the same iconic angled pockets as MK pants, lined brush tricot core for warmth without the bulk, side panel gussets, drop tail back hem, western yoke back, 2 handwarmer pockets…

For the jacket=nylon lined sleeves for easy on/off.

For the vest-a low profile for easy layering, 

---a subtle, we think-mandarin style collar.

---And made so that the seams come together and the outside zips are concealed---consistent with the inside zipper pockets. In Granite, Pine, Ranch and Yellowstone.

The Old faithful Sweater ($119.95-Oatmeal, Charcoal, Storm Blue) is a multi-functional top. 

Made a soft feel 12.8 oz knit polyester, we loved the adjustable snap cuffs, and very nicely done chevron snap (antique nickel) chest pockets, YKK® zippers, and grosgrain-reinforced interior windflap.

The Teton Flannel Shirt uses MK’s heritage colors in a vintage flavored plaid/ 6.5oz cotton flannel---specially finished with an eco-friendly proprietary Lava Wash™ process for a terrific soft feel straight away. 

With the two chevron pockets, antique brass snaps---and like MK’s other tops, a drop hem that’s practical.

Other long sleeve options-the Original Mountain Denim Shirt ($79.95) of three season 6.7 oz denim---finished with the proprietary Lava Wash™ process. 

AND with a very cool, custom bison snap that celebrates MK’s western heritage…as does the western front yoke design.
Subtle branding...

Even urban office workers will want to work (hey, hey) the Teton Twill Shirt ($69.95) into their wardrobe…

The 4.80z cotton shirt, softened up with the proprietary Lava Wash™ process-has grosgrain reinforced placket and pocket openings and reinforced contrast cuffs…the casual fit is comfy, not sloppy.

A shirt worn since the pioneering days, the Trapper Henley refreshes a classic---made of a versatile and cozy blend of 9.2oz cotton/superfine merino wool blend. With a 3-button placket, drop tail hem and single rib knit cuff and collar. In four colors, it’s fine to wear on it's own or layer. ($54.95)

PLUS: Organic cotton T-Shorts, Organic cotton/recycled poly hoodies, headwear and belts…. and assorted versions of the coveted twill and cords MK pants that some customers clearly live in all year round.