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Tent Dress 1966

Maternity Wear Industry Hit Hard by Tent Dresses

SCOOP! -- August 1967 -- Girl watchers aren't the only people complaining about tent dresses.

Just talk to the maternity wear manufacturers.

It seems young mothers-to-be bypassed maternity clothes for the spring and summer season, hoping the tents already in the closet would see them through. Others bought their fashions in the regular ready-to- wear departments.

"The tent cut into our sales tremendously," says one local manufacturer whose company pioneered the one-piece silhouette in maternity fashions.

"We started to feel it in the spring," he said, "and it ended up the worst maternity season in 30 years."

"We've made beautiful progress year after year," he added, "although there's always been a 5 to 10 per cent competition from the regular ready-to-wear market. But last season was the first that there was a dip across the board. And it was a big dip. We dropped 25 to 30 per cent. I understand some retail sales were off as much as 75 per cent"

"The tent affected the entire industry without a doubt," the head of another maternity wear manufacturer complained.

"We maintained last year's level," she added, "but we never worked harder to do it."

"We were geared for a big increase," she said, "because we added another designer and put in a couple of lower price level lines but the increase was practically nothing." Lady in Waiting, which specializes in sportswear garments, noticed a pinch but the New York firm's sales for the spring and summer season exceeded the last. "Every pregnant woman will buy at least one pair of slacks, one pair of shorts, a couple of tops and possibly a bathing suit," said a spokesman for Lady in Waiting. "I had buyers coming in here saying 'Business is terrible, just terrible,' then turn around and ask for reorders on sportwear," he said. "They told me they'd order more but all their money was tied up in dresses that just weren't moving. Retail sales people tended to back up manufacturers' laments.

"Generally speaking," said a spokesman for Lord & Taylor, a New York department store, "I think everybody did feel the loss in dresses. But our sportswear sales increased over last year, particularly the bathing suits. But things are looking up for fall. "The beautiful thing is the Frankfurt, "because dresses are going back to the body which means pregnant women will have to buy maternity fashions." "Our customers are all avant guard," he said, "so we have a good feeling about fall because regular fashions are becoming more fitted. "Saks has already sold out some of their fall lines and has sent in reorders. And I'm not just talking about New York They have stores in Beverly Hills and Chicago, too."

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