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Grim, Downscale Fashion Week Starts Today

The early reports on Fashion Week, which today begins its final stand at Bryant Park (they move to Lincoln Center next year), are less festive than usual. “FASHION WEAK: WHERE HAS ALL THE GLAMOUR GONE?” says the Post. “The current crop of beer and fast-food labels look like they belong at Talladega, not Bryant Park.” “Fashionistas have turned into recessionistas,” says USA Today, “fearful of spending in a tanking economy.” One designer tells them “designers don’t want to be seen as ‘Marie Antoinettes’ indifferent to economic woes.”

Newsday notices that the the ratio of expensive runway shows versus less-expensive “presentations” has shifted in the latter’s favor: from 174 to 51 last year to 131 to 66 this year. There are four fewer designers showing, and the Daily News tells us to expect fewer celebrities, too, partly because “catwalk venues [are] making way for subdued settings like homes and designers’ own workspaces,” and partly because “the money to pay for front-row seats has evaporated.”

Industry people bravely portray this as a good thing: “It puts the spotlight back on the real stars,” says one, “the designers, the models, the hair and makeup teams.” But in this buzz-driven business, readers and shoppers are more likely to pay attention to Paris Hilton than to, say, Jillian Dempsey.

Fashion bloggers, less addicted to deepthink, don’t seem as gloomy as the papers, and celebrate the event as bluebirds celebrate the spring. “Could a girl already weary with Fashion Week burnout — from viewing a full day of presentations when the Week hasn’t even officially started yet — ask for anything more?!” says Chic Today, reveling in the boldface presence of celebrity models, designers, and stylists.

 

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Garment Workers Win Suit Against Company Whose Subcontractors Didn’t Pay

Liberty Apparel subcontracted its garment-building labor, done pretty much exclusively by Chinese-Americans at very low wages, to small companies of the fly-by-night sort; when the subcontractors folded, as unfortunately happens often in that business, Liberty could claim that the wages lost by employees were not their responsibility. When this happened in 1999, 26 workers lost thousands of dollars owed to them by the subcontractor, and some of them pursued the matter in a suit that has been bouncing around the courts for years. But yesterday in U.S. District Court the workers in Zheng v. Liberty Apparel won liquidated damages of about $700,000 from Liberty under under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York State Labor Law Section 345a. It’s believed to be the first such victory to acknowledge the liability of a garment manufacturer using these methods, and may open the door to similar suits against companies whose subcontractors don’t pay their workers. Photo (cc) marissaorton.

 

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Brian Parks Says: Forget the Pro Bowl! Who Has the NFL’s Best Uniforms?

The Denver Broncos used to be cool, man. They’ve changed.

Last week, we made clear our dim view of the televised scrimmage known as the Pro Bowl. Nonetheless, we forced ourselves to eyeball a few minutes of it yesterday, given that it was the last we’ll see of pro football for a while. While enduring color commentary from the insufferably smug Chris Collingsworth, we remembered yet another reason to hate the Pro Bowl: the hideous special uniforms, which make the NFL look like it got the bum end of a questionable NAFTA deal.

Which lead us to thinking about the real season again, and about our favorite actual NFL uniforms. Then of course we made a list, and started arguing with people about it.

So here they are, our top five team uniforms (based on the standard home look):

1. Chicago Bears (feels like it was designed by some German visionary before he was run out of Berlin by the Nazis)

 

2. Cleveland Browns (excellent color combo, plus points for logo-less helmet)

3. Oakland Raiders (as we all know, it just says “nasty”)

 

4. Dallas Cowboys (hate the team, but admire the uniform’s relative simplicity and elegance)

5. Minnesota Vikings (while it’s getting a shade overdesigned, it still inspires fear that one’s coastal village will soon be pillaged)

And while we’re at it, we’ll nominate our own New York Jets as the worst. Bad colors, rotten logo. We’ll take their alternate New York Titans outfit any day.

Anyway, feel free to share your own tastes in gridiron couture….

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Fashion Week to Leave Bryant Park

amNY and NY1 are reporting that Fashion Week is expected to leave Bryant Park for Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park in 2010. Except for one season at the Chelsea Piers, Fashion Week has been headquartered at the park behind the Fifth Avenue Library since 1993. Earlier this week Vera Wang and Betsey Johnson announced they were pulling out of Fashion Week, the fall edition of which runs in Bryant Park from February 13 through 20.