Business

Fashion industry insiders on Talbots

DANIELA CORTE AND HEIDI PRICE

MICHAEL DE PAULO

CEO AND DESIGNER OF MICHAEL DE PAULO, BOSTON

‘Talbots needs to engage a younger yet sophisticated client, producing fashions that are chic but still serving their original goal of timeless and quality clothing. I believe that this can be done through more body conscious silhouettes, such as modern dresses and clean separates, which are more approachable to today’s woman. The Talbots design team needs to focus on designing clothing that accommodates all her needs including sportswear, business, and cocktail pieces.”

RENEE C. HARDING

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, FASHION DESIGN, MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN

‘Talbots is being hit like so many other companies where they need to tighten their message. Tuning into who their customer is and connecting with them is imperative today. This customer is someone who wants quality clothes with longevity as well as uniqueness. She appreciates the past as well as the future by feeling just as comfortable in an antique store as a chic, modern interior. Her clothes should be aesthetically pleasing, timely, and timeless for a woman who can afford quality without exorbitance. I think the Talbots woman is someone who can appreciate design [and] quality and has a mindful eye toward the world.”

DANIELA CORTE

OWNER AND DESIGNER, DANIELA CORTE INC., BOSTON

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‘To be a successful brand in this market, you need to focus on your core competencies. For Talbots, I believe this is their pants, which they have invested a lot of time and resources into developing the perfect fit. To translate this into success they should focus on the customer who keeps coming back for that product - the middle-aged working woman. Instead of growing their business via luxury storefronts, they should focus on their wholesale business to cater to this market and grow their online and catalog businesses. The Talbots storefront should ultimately become obsolete. Losing the Talbots storefront would create further accessibility to the product for their target market and the woman on the go.’’

MARSHAL COHEN

CHIEF RETAIL ANALYST, NPD GROUP, NEW YORK

‘Talbots needs to become more lifestyle-centric - more of a brand than a retailer. They need activewear, casual wear, career wear, leisure wear. It needs to be a brand that encompasses an entire lifestyle and caters to many different types of people. Talbots has been locked into a specific imagery as a specialist in career dressing. That worked a decade ago. It doesn’t work now. They have to be nimble enough to take Talbots to a new dimension. The logo needs to change, the red doors need to change. There’s a new reality.’’

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