Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

A Marshall Plan for America

Well, we have waited sixty years to make some recompense for American's contribution to defeating fascism in Europe in WWII and now, at last, we have our chance. America, Britain is coming to the rescue:

"The British are the new Japanese, and New York is the new Italy - the place to come to stock up on designer clothes," says Raegan Morgan, sales specialist at Diane von Furstenberg. "We opened our downtown store in May and, particularly since September, we've been inundated with European visitors. The British especially really load up the dressing rooms."

It is a bit like a United Nations effort to give funds to a developing country, but with more of an emphasis on Ralph Lauren and Levi's. And in truth, this analogy can be read with something akin to literalism: as Americans, beaten into consumer timidity by daily warnings about their dying economy, increasingly forgo $300 (£150) dresses and a 17th pair of jeans, US retailers are increasingly relying on British tourists' money.

"If we had to depend on custom from New Yorkers, it would be difficult," says Morgan. The store manager at a well-known American high street store that asked not to be named admitted, "We all thank God for the 'two-bag Brits'," referring to the British practice of bringing two suitcases on their New York trips - one packed with clothes to wear, and a spare to bring back all the extras they will buy. Chris Heywood, spokesman for NYC & Company, the official marketing and tourism organisation for New York, is more blunt about how crucial the British pound has become: "British tourism is absolutely essential to the city's economy."


phyllis said...

To my Brit sisters: come on over to Boston; it's a short flight and you can not only hit the markdowns at regular lux retailers, but also, for even lower prices, the markdown outlet stores for the *same* lux retailers.

Hotels are much cheaper than NY,and since Massachusets is a small state everything is easy to get to in a rental car.

I'm happy to email anyone a list of where to go.

lagatta à Montréal said...

Phyllis of the lovely Sewing Divas is right; Boston is a wonderful destination - in Montréal we are not very far from there, and you can visit us too. In years past, we were a bargain destination for US visitors, but now our currency is more or less at par with theirs (for a while it was well above, after being practically worthless across the border).

I don't drive so while Boston and its immediate urbanised suburbs are simple to get around by public transport, I'd hve a hard time accessing outlet malls.

Something that makes me very sad: 60 years ago, there were five direct trains a day between Boston and Montréal. Now, these have been eliminated, and the choice is between taking a nasty bus/coach ride or a polluting, harrassing flight - no faster, given commutes to the airport and security controls. I have friends from Paris who are currently doing scholarly research at Harvard and really should visit them. How pleasant that would be while reading and sipping a glass of wine on the train.

I love the post about hats on your blog. Why don't you do a digest on Boston and the area there?

Susan said...

There's a great reason to come as far west as my home state of Pennsylvania for your shopping trip, girls--most clothing is exempt from sales tax in PA.