Friday, August 26, 2011

A Good Week Not to Visit Daffy's

Well hopefully everyone out here on the east coast will be safe this weekend. I'm hoping that Irene doesn't take a huge toll on things, but predictions thus far are looking pretty bad.

As far as Daffy's goes, the only thing I really noticed this week was a number of knits and boots from Uomo Bravo, which is Daffy's own house brand. Really not worth your time.

And for those who don't follow the facebook updates --- all NYC Daffy's stores are closed tomorrow. All other locations, including NJ stores, Manhasset and Philly are closing at 3PM.

Please stay safe [and dry].

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Things Are a Bit Shaky in Philly

Completely unrelated blog post. I hope everyone is alright -- we just had a small tremor here in Philly, and apparently it started in Virginia and has gone up the entire east coast.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Messagerie Musings

Needed a quick break from work, so I went poking through some of the Messagerie merchandise over on Yoox. It always amazes me at some of the accessories that Yoox gets in but we never get to see at Daffy's. Even if it's just ties or hats, we never really see that in any brand. Here's a pair of shoes that I'd be all over if they were in my size -- just cool and unique IMHO. As a side-note, I believe Yoox is starting to prohibit several designers from being purchased in the States -- specifically stuff which is being carried at Daffy's - namely - Jey Cole Man, Solosali, Alea, Rosso Malaspino, & Royal Hem are not available state-side, but are available if you change your country outside of the U.S. Wasn't always this way, so it makes me wonder...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Update Incl. NY Stores

Went to NYC this weekend, really looking for two things -- Gazzarrini suits in size 36, and some Italian-made shoes. I found neither of them - the Gazzarrini selection was awful with nothing in my size (I suppose I could simply be a few weeks late, but still there's always been one or two items in my size), and the only store with any Italian shoe selection was 34th St., which was pretty limited --- Philly has a larger selection of Italian shoes than 34th St.

So here the rundown after browsing six of the seven Manhattan locations this weekend. Sadly, not much to report -
- Ortenzi (made in Italy) suits and sportcoats - the only place with suits/blazers thus far is Philly; there were a few size 40 topcoats at the 44t & Madison store
- Daniele Fiesoli (made in Italy) - a few knits available in each store, not a huge selection as in past seasons, but every one seems to have gotten a few pieces
- Alea/Rossomalaspino (made in Italy) - shirts from Alea Fashion Industries - VERY limited selection; usually the racks of full of this stuff, but I saw a handful of shirts per store
- Arnau (made in Spain) - a few nicely made shirts at 57th St. East Side and 44th & Madison -- they had first appeared last season at 57th St. West Side
- Umberto Zebra (made in Italy) - various items, including suits at 34th St.; pretty bad all around, with a lot of man-made fabrics, as is usual from this company; construction is decent, but not my favorite because of the materials; the same manufacturer also put out jackets under the name 'Coon' (yes, like the Southpark character)
- Killtec - This is some sort of fleecey ourterwear, made in China. Most stores received a few items.
- Beau Brummel - The 34th St. store had a few shirts from this company; it appears to be a high end store in lower Manhattan, unsure if it's still around
- And the worst of all - Sottotono (made in Italy) - this is the stuff that you ask yourself, why in the world would they even bother putting this stuff in the stores; probably the worst construction and materials of any Italian garments you will see at Daffy's; avoid this stuff at all costs

That's really it for new merchandise. Honestly, everything was quite disappointing overall, especially since I didn't find what I was looking for. One thing which really annoyed me was the fact that the mens departments had been moved into the basements of two stores -- Soho and 57th St. West Side have moved their mens dept's from the first floor to the basement. Aside from simply throwing me off in terms of layout, it kind of just showed me what Daffy's corporate thinks of their menswear - that, plus all of the Italian shoes that the women are getting in and being advertised on Facebook, it just annoys me. As is evidenced by the huge number of stores now catering to men and the resurgence of high-end, made in America, menswear, it is clear that Daffy's is missing a huge market. Whether this will improve has yet to be seen in my book. I understand that there's more money likely to be made in womens-wear, but come on.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quick Update - Fiesoli Knits + Ortenzi Suits

Headed for NYC this weekend, so will have a much bigger update coming up. But, wanted to point out some nice pieces that came in this week - knits from Daniele Fiesoli (made in Italy) - these include items from Wool & Co. and Milkywear, amongst others. Some really great stuff --- I already bought myself this beautiful shawl-collar 100% merino wool sweater for $69.99.

Another boon for the week -- suits from Ortenzi (made in Italy) - these things are fully canvassed and made extremely well. I saw several suits and even three-piece tuxedos in Philly, but they were all size 40 and above; I don't think you'll be seeing many Ortenzi items in small sizes, same as last season. But keep your eye out for some high-end labels amongst the Ortenzi merchandise - last season I saw a suit from Paul Smith and a blazer from Bikkimbergs - both of which were made by Ortenzi.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Patrizia Pepe

For those not on the Daffy's email-list, the email just went out that more Patrizia Pepe merchandise has arrived at stores. I'd probably suggest waiting til the weekend or next Monday so that all the inventory is put out on the floors, but for those of you that really love the stuff it's always first come first served. Be sure to leave any comments if you spot any particularly great finds.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Alfie Bobo Musings

Just wanted to share the awesome Alfie Bobo leather jacket which I picked up this week here in Philly. It's a half leather/half boiled wool baseball-style jacket with some really awesome details. Pics of other Alfie Bobo jackets currently available at Daffy's can be seen here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Italian Shoes are In, Plus Knits from Alea

Fall Italian shoes came in this week, the vast majority from Tremp (made in Italy) and Bait (made in Italy), as well as a few items from Boemos (made in Italy) and a few other labels in unmarked boxes -- I saw a few pairs of nicely made boots from a label called Bagatti (made in Italy), and happened to come across one pair of shoes from Coach. Selections will likely vary by store, but I highly suggest you get there sooner than later, as these things never last, and based on past seasons, Daffy's will not likely be getting in much beyond this batch for the rest of the season (though, I really hope I'm wrong about that).

I already mentioned knits in the prior post, but on top of Solosali and Teodori, Daffy's got in, for the first time I can recall, knits from Alea/Rosso Malaspino (made in Italy) -- I saw a number of 100% cashmere sweaters from them. Really beautiful things. I assume this means we'll be seeing shirts from Alea in the very near future.

Another small batch of shirts came in - various items from Admiral's Cup, Spada, Pueterey and others, all made in Italy. Approx. $29.99/shirt. Nicely made stuff, but wasn't a very big group of items.

Also in the shoe dept. -- more shoes from Banana Blues and something called Rockabilly - the Banana Blues ones are at least passable; the Rockabilly, I wasn't too fond of. Honestly, I wish the whole shoe dept. was just stocked to the brim w/Italian merchandise, but sadly that's not the case.

Not much else to report this week. I'll be making a trip up to NYC next weekend, so will have updates per store, as time permits. Hoping there are still some Gazzarrini suits left for me by then (size 36US/46EU if anyone wants to take a lookout) - sadly, Philly has only gotten junk thus far suit-wise, even though it's probably the second-largest, or possibly even the biggest, store in the whole chain when it comes to shear retail space.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

First Batch of Knits

The Philly store got in its first major batch of knits for Fall, including lots of chunky wool sweaters. A good mix of items from Solosali (made in Italy), and Teodori (made in Italy) -- Solosali was running approx. $69.99/item, I didn't catch the price on the Teodori items, though they were marked as samples, so likely less than the Solosali.

Also a bunch of random samples from labels like Kuhlman and Natural Blue by Visitor. The random American brands all came from the same manufacturer, but I wouldn't have the first clue as to its name. Prices on these things were pretty incredible considering many pieces were made of wool and decently constructed -- everything I saw was $16.99 or less.

I also noticed amongst the Compagnia Delle Pelli jackets, one piece made for Angelo Nardelli -- ATTENTION DAFFY'S BUYERS - if there is a high-end yet relatively unknown brand from Italy to get into the store, this would be it. Nardelli closeouts have been popping up a lot on eBay of late and I think it would be a great addition of merchandise to the store.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gazzarrini + CDP Makes Me a Happy Man

After a brief vacation, here's the rundown of what came in from the past week:

Some gorgeous Italian-made leather jackets from Gazzarrini (made in Italy)  and Compagnia Delle Pelli (made in Italy), which includes leathers from Alfie Bobo. While there are various styles available, the best are the shearlings, and some leather puffer-style jackets. Nothing I've seen was over $350. You will not find better leather jackets of this quality for a lower price, that is, unless you wait til they go on markdown, but chances are they'll be gone by then -- these things sell fast. Sadly, nothing in my size (46EU/36US) as of yet.

In terms of Gazzarrini, most of the stores also got in a small selection of outerwear, shirts, vests, knits, blazers, pants and some accessories (belts, ties and scarves). Philly got in an awesome cashmere-blend sweater which I picked up for myself -- the only thing I've seen in a size small thus far. None of the stores I've visited have gotten in suits, and maybe three blazers total amongst three stores. I expect that the suits are reserved for 34th St., 57th East Side, and Soho, as has been the norm the past few seasons.

More Patrizia Pepe came in as well, including some great outerwear and various sports coats. Huge variance by store. The Jersey Gardens location had a pair of high-tops from PP, but that's the only one I've seen.

Shoes from Bait (made in Italy) - these are more casual/streetwear shoes, but are made pretty well. I saw some blue slip-ons in Elizabeth (to the left), and some nice brown motorcycle-style boots in Jersey Gardens; Philly has yet to get anything. Marked between $69.99 and $79.99 if I recall properly.

And then the disappointment of the week - suits from Joseph Abboud. No one needs to go to Daffy's to pick up this stuff, especially not when they're priced at the same or higher prices than much better-made Italian suits. For $239.99, this can be yours, but you can also get the same thing at Burlington, Syms, Century 21, TJMaxx/Marshalls, etc... for the same or lower price.

(8/11) - UPDATE - Forgot to mention -- most stores also got in a small selection of shirts and blazers from John Barrit. These were actually nicely made and most were marked as Samples, so the prices were great as well.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Room for Improvement - Part I - Education

This is the start of a series of articles where I think Daffy's could easily improve. The first in this series is about brand awareness.

Part of what I've wanted to accomplish with this blog is to educate consumers out there about the brands that Daffy's carries. Most of the Italian brands they carry consistently have few, if any, retailers in the United States. Generally speaking, a store can't simply put clothes on a rack and expect people to buy them - as much as I'm far from a brand-hog, there's value behind a brand. And Daffy's would create a much more loyal customer-base if they explained to people what it is they're stocking in their stores.

Now, I realize, Daffy's is likely under contract not to advertise what it is they're selling. But, generally, those contracts don't prevent retailers from advertising within the stores themselves. One store's motto which I've always appreciated, even though I think their merchandise is simply horrific, is Syms -- "An educated consumer is our best customer." Plenty of the new sample-sale sites have two or three paragraphs about the brands they're selling, and often have videos about the lines as well telling the history and showing pieces from the label regardless of whether those particular pieces are going to be sold in the upcoming sale.

With Daffy's, however, we're lucky to be getting a little sign above some racks indicating a particular designer, but even that means little when most people who are not familiar with Daffy's would have no clue what the label is all about. But the general deal at Daffy's is -- let's just throw everything together and let the customer sift through everything. That might work at, say, a TJMaxx/Marshalls or a Ross Dress for Less, but the fact of the matter is that doing such a thing cheapens the merchandise that Daffy's gets in -- on the whole, leaving out the young mens dept. and any american closeouts the store gets in, the merchandise is high-end and retails for well beyond Daffy's prices. But there's no way that people are going to take anything seriously or pay attention to brands when the store itself doesn't take care or pride in the display or stocking.

So just a few suggestions -- have an in-store touch-screen display which links you to the websites of these designers, or at a minimum, show a video or some pictures of the merchandise or the company's line in general -- simply, let the customer get a feel for what you're selling so that the customers will develop a taste and liking for a specific brand. Another part of this equation would be to separate out the merchandise by designer/manufacturer -- Now, I realize such a thing may be hard with shirts, from, say, Mastai Feretti which contracts with literally hundreds of different labels for production, but there's no reason that merchandise cannot be separated out and labeled as 'Mastai Feretti' or 'Saitt' (MF's parent company). The value of the clothing is simply diluted when high-end merchandise from Italy is mixed in with junk from Calvin Klein, Geoffrey Beene, and the slew of other items that come in as made in China.

And I have a feeling, that if Daffy's offered brand-awareness for some of the companies they deal with, they would actually pay Daffy's to do so. Gilt-Man has been incredibly successful, in-part, because many unknown labels are using it as a launch-pad to get their brands known to the American public. But what better way for Italian brands to get recognized than in a store with over a dozen locations in the metro-NYC area. I can't imagine how many companies would kill to be exposed to the fashion-obsessed denizens of NYC, and Daffy's certainly has the retail space to provide that, and unlike Gilt, people would actually be able to see and try-on the merchandise first-hand.

The most important part about all this is quite simple, but a step which would require more effort by Daffy's than a simple marketing campaign --- EDUCATE THE EMPLOYEES - I would say about 95% of the employees who are stocking the racks and helping out customers have absolutely no clue about the merchandise the store carries - and in fact, most managers have no clue either. Honestly, the best employee in all of Daffy's is a wonderful man by the name of Andre in the 57th St. East Side store. Not only is he incredibly easy to talk to and will go out of his way to help you find something, but more importantly, he knows the ins and outs of every label carried at the store --- and he makes it his job to visit the websites of all these companies, and he even keeps up on trends in the general fashion world, outside of the obscure designers often carried at Daffy's. He is one of the few people I have met in all of the Daffy's I have visited that has anywhere near the encyclopedic knowledge as I do of the store's merchandise. The problem is that he is the exception, and not the rule. Every employee at the store should be able to explain to you the difference between Gazzarrini and Messori, and explain why shoes from Tremp are better than, say, Florsheim or Rockport.

I can't tell you how many times I've taken time out of my day to help out fellow shoppers looking for suits/shirts/pants/shoes who are clueless about what exists at Daffy's, and have only been frustrated by employees who either don't know anything about the merchandise or are simply unable to verbalize a response (no offense intended, but some of the Daffy's employees, especially in some of the NYC stores, are not exactly well-spoken). The thing is, that is not my job, and while I am happy to do it, Daffy's should be training their employees to the Andre standard, not simply giving people a job to be stockists - the merchandise is simply too good for that.

I hope part 1 of this series will be insightful, at least to the folks in Daffy's corporate, who may be looking for ways to improve the store. It is far from my job to be an educator and publicist for a company that processes over $200 Million in gross-revenue every year - thank G-d, I have a full-time job, and while I would love to be working for Daffy's if the proper circumstances arose, that is not what I get paid to do. In the meantime, I do it out of love and respect for a store that I wish did a better job itself. Part 2 coming next week -- stay tuned for merchandise updates on Monday or Tuesday.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More on Patrizia Pepe

Just so everyone understands the nature of what Daffy's gets in with the merchandise from Patrizia Pepe, I wanted to share some pics of outerwear I've been ogling over at the company's webstore - which, by the way, looks like they're selling now in the U.S., but I doubt prices on these things will ever get anywhere near Daffy's-range. The notch-lapel shearling to the left is running $1428, and the leather/knitted bomber is going for $1385.

Link to the Patrizia Pepe Store

Sale Time for Spring Merchandise

Looks like Daffy's is finally marking down all of its Spring merchandise, and most of the markdowns now have an additional 30% off, at least according to the facebook page. Probably the best deal right now are all the shoes from Martin Dingman --- everything I've seen in the last week or so has been marked down at least 50% from its original price -- so the most expensive shoes which originally started over $90 are at $46 and change. Some really great deals on very well-made shoes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just Because I'm Bored...

Bored for a few minutes, so for those of you that have access to Jey Cole Man(made in Italy) merchandise at Daffy's, here's a pic showing one of the winter coats available (of which I already purchased one for myself) from last year's Fall line, styled w/some camo-pants and military-inspired boots.