Stuck in the Middle

I walk by the once sprawling Lohmann’s located in Chelsea on Sixth Avenue, now quiet and ready for Barney’s to occupy its space. Talks of Sears closing, and JCPenny just hanging on by a thread. Don’t get me started on fashion brands that have bit the dust quietly as well. It got me thinking about that good ol’ economic term “middle class”. As far as I can see, lots of people are still struggling in NYC and other parts of the country, so what’s going on? Why are people shopping deifferently?
Honestly, I haven’t stepped in a Sears since I lived back home in California. And that doesn’t even count because I would walk through there to get to the mall. But I digress. The same with JCPenny and now forgotten Mervins. Since the recession of 2009 American spending has changed dramatically. People both rich and poor want that dollar to stretch. So retailers either had to adapt to this change or fall to the wayside.
Then I think of how I shop. A fashion designer living in NYC provides livable salary, but still I’m not rich and the majority of my money goes to the box I live in, but that’s another blog for another day. For me, since I have done projects for Sears and JCPenny I know where their goods are coming from and the quality they possess. The quality is bad and the markup is quite laughable to be honest. I definitely believe in if you give your customers shit, they will give you shit right back. Meaning they will take their business elsewhere. Plus with the many online choices to soho, why would they stay loyal.
This “quality over quantity” mindset was instilled in me from my grandmother and mom. Especially when it came to clothing. Good quality lasts and that is how I shop. So for me personally, I would rather scour eBay, Net a Porter, and Gilt for that Celine coat at a crazy discount. Then spend money on a coat that will fall apart within two winters.
This attitude is being felt across the retail and fashion industry. As stores and brands close, the “middle-class” is growing and turning into a more vague and might I say out of date term.

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