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What’s happening to the makers of holiday party attire?

Marielle Segarra Dec 17, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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Sparkly, sequined dresses for New Year's Eve? Not this year. Svetikd via Getty Images
COVID-19

What’s happening to the makers of holiday party attire?

Marielle Segarra Dec 17, 2020
Sparkly, sequined dresses for New Year's Eve? Not this year. Svetikd via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Shine Trim, in New York City’s Garment District, sells elaborate embellishments like sequined red bows and gold beads to fashion designers and dressmakers.

“We also get a lot of people just coming in, saying ‘I’m going to a New Year’s Eve party and I want to bling it out,’” said owner Helen Lin.

She’s noticed something this year. Clothing makers are coming to her saying, basically, that they need to make their customers a really fancy blouse. And that it has to be decked out with shiny accoutrements like sequins and crystals.

Nothing for the waist down, of course. Because if you’re going to a holiday party this year, it’s probably on Zoom or FaceTime.

“I have not heard anything about like, ‘I’m wearing these amazing pants that I need to get tons of rhinestone for,’” Lin said.

The people who are buying fancy clothes for virtual parties are the exception. Lin says her sales are down by about half, and the company had to close one of its stores. 

“Holiday attire took a major hit this year,” said Michael Londrigan, a professor of fashion merchandising at LIM College.

Londrigan is actually going to a virtual holiday party for his college today, but he didn’t buy anything new to wear. He just pulled out an ugly sweater — his words, not mine.

“It’s red and green,” Londrigan said. “It’s very bright. And it has a polar bear, who’s wearing a scarf that’s actually like a tie.”

There is a possible silver lining here for the suppliers and makers of sparkly dresses and the like.

“I think there’s a tremendous pent-up demand that we’re going to see when the vaccine really gets this under control,” said David German, who owns AGH Trimsource in Manhattan, which sells about 4,000 kinds of decorative trim.

Once it’s safe, he thinks people are really gonna want to celebrate. In-person.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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