🚗 🚙 Turn your trusty old car into trustworthy journalism Learn more
COVID-19

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

Marielle Segarra Dec 17, 2020
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
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
Heard on:
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.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.