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Surviving Fashion’s Summer From Hell

  • September 19, 2020

“She gets in the dressing room with them, tucking and untucking and scrunching up sleeves,” Ms. McMullen said. “She does it with such ease that women feel connected to her, like they know her.”

Beginning in late March, weeks went by without payments from some of Tibi’s stores, Ms. Smilovic said. When the layoffs came, the only team Tibi kept intact was finance, which scrambled to secure government support, renegotiate bills and rent — Ms. Smilovic’s single biggest source of stress at the time — and rigidly monitor cash flow amid the wave of bankruptcies and order cancellations.

She spent April crunching numbers, “gripped with fear,” she said. In May, when some stores and offices reopened in early, that fear ebbed slightly. She’d signed a fashion-industry open letter calling for a more sensible seasonal shopping calendar. She felt good that Tibi had donated 1,300 pieces of clothing to front-line workers.

She was also inspired to work on Tibi’s internal stylebook, articulating the rules for the creative pragmatist’s wardrobe, which she’d been sharing during the live styling sessions and on her own blunt Instagram account. Like: The best pieces can adapt from work to home to evening to weekend. A good outfit has three textures. Don’t match your shoes to your top. Don’t wear skinny jeans with stilettos.

“It’s showing people who we are,” she said on a Zoom call in May. “I don’t know where or how it will pay off, but it feels like the right thing to do.”

Then, on May 25, George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, catalyzing Black Lives Matter protests across the country. Some of those reopened stores closed again, boarding up windows to prevent vandalism.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/19/style/fashion-retail-surviving-fashions-summer-from-hell.html

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