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March 15, 2008
Women's Wear Journal
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Underwear Bill Before Senate
Debate on the Senate floor sagged to a new low as legislators debated for the first time a bill that would prohibit public school students from wearing low-riding pants that expose their underwear.
The chamber spent more than a half hour debating the baggy pants ban. Though similar legislation has been debated in committee for the past three years, this is the first time the bill has reached the chamber's floor.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, says youngsters need to be trained on how to dress appropriately and that it's distracting for girls to be able to show G-strings and boys to show their boxers. Briefly, his bill would dole out punishments ranging from a warning from the principal after a first offense, increasing to a 10-day out-of-school suspension for a fourth offense. In previous bills, he had suggested criminal punishments.
Lawmakers pulled up a series of arguments against the pants proposal, however. Some wanted to know how violators would be identified and who would decide a violation had taken place. Others argued the state shouldn't interfere with the rights of individual school boards to create and enforce dress codes.
Debate on the bill wasn't all buttoned up. Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, couldn't resist introducing a quickly rescinded amendment to exempt students who are studying to become refrigerator repairmen or plumbers.
16,000 Workers Strike
Violence has erupted in the southern African kingdom of Swaziland after more than 16,000 textile workers went on strike to press for better pay and working conditions.
The strike at 10 factories began and has been marred by clashes between textile workers and the police in the capital Matsapha.
Alex Fakudze, president of the Swaziland Manufacturing and Allied Workers Union, said the strikers are demanding a 12% pay rise, and that many currently earn less than US$100 a month.
The textile industry is the second largest employer in Swaziland.
Many of the factories are owned by Taiwanese businessmen who are trying to take advantage of preferential trade conditions with the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Saks Q4 Profit Jumps 83%
Luxury retailer Saks Incorporated has posted an 82.9% hike in fourth quarter profit, helped by strong sales, a one-time gain and higher tourist traffic.
The New York based company said that net income for the three months to 2 February was $39.5m, or $0.26 per share, compared with $21.6m, or $0.14 per share, in the same period last year.
The fourth quarter included a net gain of $10.4m, or $0.07 per share, it added.
Saks, which operates the Saks Fifth Avenue and Club Libby Lu stores, said sales rose 4.7% in the quarter to $999.7m, with same-store sales up 9.0%.
However, Stephen I Sadove, chairman and chief executive officer, warned that sales momentum "began slowing in the latter part of the fourth quarter," particularly in handbags, footwear, and men's products.
For the year, Saks swung to a profit of $47.5m, or $.31 per share, from a loss from of $7.3m, or $.05 per share in the previous year.
Total sales rose 11.7% to $3,282.6m in the 12 months, with same-store sales up by the same amount.
In his outlook for 2008, Sadove said he remains "very positive about the long-term prospects for the luxury sector and specifically for our Saks Fifth Avenue business."
But added: "We expect to continue to face an increasingly challenging macroeconomic and promotional environment in 2008 and are taking a more conservative approach to planning the business for this year."
The Company operates 54 Saks Fifth Avenue stores, 48 Saks Off 5th stores, saks.com, and Club Libby Lu specialty stores.
by Lawrence O. Brown
Lingerie Made of Wood
A clothes designer is branching out by creating an entire range of eco-underwear - made from wood.
Eco-friendly and non-toxic dyes are used to color the underwear.
Although the underwear and bras are derived from white pine trees there is no risk of the wearer getting splinters in uncomfortable places as they are as soft as silk.
Fibers are extracted from the tree branches before being spun into a fabric which is then used to make the eco-underwear.
The makers claim fabric has dozens more microscopic holes than polyester, meaning more air can circulate making them more hygienic. And their natural
fibers also absorbs twice as much humidity than cotton which prevents bacteria from growing.
Eco-friendly and non-toxic dyes are used to color the items in a wide range of shades before they are ready for sale.
All the underwear is packaged in left-over fabric and recycled clothing.
The lingerie has been created by French fashion designer Sophie Young.
Sophie said: "My child developed an allergic reaction and asthma which was partly triggered by dyes, chemical products and pesticides.
"I am a member of the Association Asthma and Allergies in France and wanted to create a line of lingerie respectful of the environment.
The production process starts with large branches being selected from white pine trees in North America and Canada during normal harvesting.
The wood is then shipped to Montilliers in France where scientists break it down with the use of enzymes to turn it into a doughy consistency.
Fibers are then extracted from the dough and wound into enormous 900lbs bales before being spun to make the fabric called
Lenpur. Designers have said the process is similar to the traditional art of spinning cotton.
A small amount of lycra is added in to make the undies feel more comfortable and to help maintain their shape. The range is called g=9.8 which is the scientific figure for the earth's acceleration due to gravity.
Young went on to say, "The underwear can be washed in a machine at 30C but we they are not suitable for tumble drying as it is not ecological.
Is Victoria's Secret Too
Victoria's Secret, the lingerie company that introduced the Very Sexy bra, the Fantasy Bra, and
the Internet-server-crashing fashion show, has become "too sexy" for its own good, its top executive said.
"We've so much gotten off our heritage ... too sexy, and we use the word sexy a lot and really have forgotten the ultra feminine," said Sharen
Turney, Victoria's Secret's chief executive.
Victoria's Secret was launched with the idea that Victoria was manor-born and lived in London, Turney said.
"I feel so strongly about us getting back to our heritage and really thinking in terms of ultra feminine and not just the word 'sexy' and becoming much more relevant to our customer," Turney said.
Turney said Victoria's Secret has gotten younger with a strong focus on its successful Pink line of lingerie and loungewear created for college-age women, and has tried to chase those customers
Turney said Victoria's Secret wants to increase its level of sophistication.
"We will also reinvent the sleepwear business and focus on product quality," she said. "Our assortment will return to an ultra feminine lingerie brand to meet her needs and expectation."
Sales at Victoria's Secret, as at many other clothing retailers, have been slipping.
Victoria Secret's parent, Limited Brands, said that its fourth-quarter profits fell 12% and that its first-quarter earnings would come in below Wall Street expectations.
Same-store sales at Victoria's Secret fell 2% in 2007, and sales in the fourth quarter dropped 8%.
The chain was started in San Francisco in 1977 by Roy Raymond, who said he was embarrassed trying to buy lingerie for his wife and hoped to provide a comfortable place for men to shop.
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