Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy snickers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?

Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing’s… You know, it’s just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I’m still learning about all this stuff and, uh…

Miranda Priestly: ‘This… stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

Remember this moment in the Devil Wears Prada? When Andy is schooled by Miranda…fashion is not just a whim, but a viable business. I think this is a lesson that all of us, as fashion bloggers, should sticky note to our laptops! Yes, we are here for the fun of it….the relationships with readers….the creativity…and to live out a passion that many have shared since birth. But, we also should realize the huge impact we could collectively make on the industry.

Pants and Coat: Jana Kos
Nine West Boots: Marshalls
(Her Clothes are Fabulous)

This has been a sobering week for me. Not only am I working through my husband’s continued unemployment, but the industry delivered a couple of stark reminders as to what today’s entrepreneurs face. I began the week promoting a giveaway with Sheyna Jewelry. They contacted me and pursued a promotion. But, within two days, Sheyna Jewelry decided to pull the plug on their business. Here was a jewelry designer at one time promoted by Oprah , and now, suddenly extinct.

 Then, came the announcement which deeply saddened me…the effect the economy has delivered to New York Designer, Jana Kos. I have been her cheerleader ever since I was introduced to her designs last year. Today, I am wearing a Jana Kos coat and pants…both are fabulous and among the five JK pieces I own…which are the nicest and best fitting garments in my wardrobe. This is one designer I would love to see succeed, but the letter below reveals that may not happen:

Dear Style Partners,

As president of Jana Kos, Style Partners Inc. I have been dealing with the grim realities of our current economy and its impact on a small company such as ours. Because of our size, we pay a premium for manufacturing, shipping, warehousing and distribution. Our raw materials costs have risen over 45% in the past year yet our sales and recruiting have not been able to make up for this increase. As a company we lack the systems of order processing and services in comparison to our competitors, and it has been an incredible hindrance in our recruiting process…..and a source of frustration for all of us. We present much too broad of a product offering for the amount of sales generated, resulting in excessive inventory and revenue loss. Our styling is limited by minimums, cash flow and constraints of our manufacturers. For 3 years and 12 collections, we managed to present to you a collection with new styling, innovative fabrics and have tried to keep up with the economic downturn. You have all worked so very hard at trying to overcome the current economic crisis and your customers declining spending budgets. You have worked thrice as hard for half the monetary returns. The NYC office has worked very hard at trying to satisfy your needs and service you within our limitations. We have tried to streamline our operations and cut overhead in order to compensate for the declining sales. Unfortunately there have been many setbacks and unfortunate events and the global economic crisis is still continuing. Therefore, I will be making evaluations and then decisions over the next two weeks as to SPI’s future. I have decided that there will be no Spring 2012 season. Please know that I will let you know my decisions and how they may affect you within these two weeks, including details of our close-out inventory sale which will be coming to you soon. Until then, please know that orders already placed and paid for will be fulfilled. You all know how much I love this business and value and respect each and every one of you. Many of you have been working with me for over 10 years and have become close friends. You have always been my inspiration and my driving force.

Purple Blouse: Coldwater Creek

Now, I am not saying that it is a lack of fashion blogging which lead to the downfall of these businesses….by no means! I understand that some of these venture owners just do not possess the good business principles and marketing savvy to be successful. However, bloggers certainly hold a great amount of influence with their individual block of followers. If we set our minds, with determination, to spread the word and link up the information then there is a reason to believe we could actually help some American entrepreneurs get their feet on the ground. It might mean that we offer them ad space at a discount; or seek them out for product reviews; or cover their special events in our cities or begin a day each week when we link information about a host of small businesses discovered in our communities. I believe we can help and it could begin with a passionate effort on our part. This could eventually help the economy, and job creation, and give many of us a renewed purpose for our blogs. I have read so many bloggers laments that they do not know what direction to go with their fashion/style blogs. ABC News has made a big impact the last year with their stories on American Made Products, and we can do the same with just a little awareness about the plight of the smaller retailers and designers. It means that we think more like fashion journalists and less like women with a fun hobby (some of these HOBBIES have quiet a following).  If all of us agreed to feature a story about one new designer or retailer every week, the impact could be immense. We are the communicators and with a joint effort there may be a way we can help make sure there are more successes than failures.

Does anyone have any specific ideas as to what we could do to join voices for the small entrepreneurs?? Does anyone else see the potential that a bloc of style bloggers might offer to those new in the fashion industry?

I really hope Jana Kos will be back!!
Scarf:  Tuesday Morning
Bracelet:  Boutique in Blanco, TX

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