Editor’s letter: when nothing is certain

by Karen Alberg Grossman

Although most menswear retailers admit sales are down by at least half (fearing their current business models are no longer sustainable…)

Although we know we need to reinvent our businesses but are unsure how to do it…

Although Coronavirus cases keep rising and Congress keeps fighting and people keep protesting and we’ve become depressed and exhausted, Zoomed Out, and Zoned Out…

Although retailers and brands and trade shows struggle to figure out digital shopping…

Although we’re eating too much, drinking too much, and are already giving up exercise, baking bread, learning Italian, remodeling our homes…

Although we greatly miss actual visits with our industry friends and colleagues: trade shows, market appointments, handshakes, brainstorming, schmoozing…

Although The New York Times Magazine just did a cover story called “Sweatpants Forever” about the unraveling of the entire fashion industry…

Although little makes sense anymore and one day melts into the next and it’s hard to know who or what to believe…

Although in our fight for social justice, some things have improved but too much remains totally unchanged…

Although just when we think things can’t get any worse, they do…

Although all this is happening, our amazing menswear industry remains resilient, optimistic, and always there for each other.

We hope you enjoy this digital issue of MR and hope we can stay increasingly connected in the difficult months to come. For I truly believe that together, we’ll come up with creative new paths to make it through this storm, to save not just our businesses but our country and the values upon which it was built. In this unprecedented era of ambiguity and change, I share with you an inspiring quote from TheMindsJournal.com.

TRUST THE WAIT.

EMBRACE THE UNCERTAINTY.

ENJOY THE BEAUTY OF BECOMING.

WHEN NOTHING IS CERTAIN, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

4 Replies to “EDITOR’S LETTER: WHEN NOTHING IS CERTAIN”

  1. You addressed a great deal of this whole nightmare in a few short words, Karen. I am still opinionated and still try to be assertive, but everything I know is up in the air, floating. Our men’s store has been down 40%, then flat in June, now looking like down 35%. Except for a few custom and wedding parties, tailored clothing has stopped. Trying to be resolute in the need to develop sportswear (again), adding lines and hoping hard for traffic to support the need to move a lot of units to replace expected lost clothing business and all the furnishings that make those sales our backbone… It is unnerving, and there is indeed a lot more to concern ourselves than just this. HUGE stuff.

    But reps are asking for appointments for Spring, and I need to say yes to them – – – the uncertainty cannot be allowed to render all routines obsolete. Saying “No, I don’t even want to look” to anyone with whom I have a relationship is just not my style, and it makes me feel lazy and incompetent. I may not be able to BUY right away, but I for one have to look, have to pretend that eventually, I’ll need to act and commit. The very act of trying to continue on this way is reassuring, and all these reps and companies I have known for so long are not just disposable elements of my life.

    I still love this business, and I still appreciate so much every hardship that has beset each vendor, each rep, each independent retailer. None of us knows what’s going to happen, but acting like we do and trying as hard as we all are feels pretty good.

    Thanks for the topic, Karen.

  2. Yes, our entire world has changed, but change represents an opportunity to reset, recharge and reignite. Promise is that there will be a future for fashion. Perhaps we can all come out stronger and wiser from this time where we’ve been able to truly think, and somehow make it better..

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