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FASHION

Altuzarra and Etsy partner for limited-edition home decor collection

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Fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra has partnered with craft marketplace Etsy for a limited-edition collection of home decor items.  EtsyThe Altuzarra x Etsy collection features a variety of home goods designed and crafted in partnership between Altuzarra, whose designs have been worn be celebrities from Rihanna to Nicole Kidman, and eight Etsy sellers from around the globe.Items from the collection include candlestick holders made with French ceramics artist Madelon Galland; woven cotton-and-leather coasters and placements created with New Jersey-based fiber artist Damaris Kovach; pet beds made with Brooklyn-based pet shop Laylo; crocheted lace and leather stones made by lacemaker Monica Johnson; clay vases made with designer Sara Paloma; and woven baskets made with Israeli basketmaker Nuni Yavnai.Several items from the collection feature a sustainable twist, including throw pillows made with British Colombia-based seller Marika Rowe and notebooks made with designer Stephanie Lunn, both crafted from leftover fabric from the Altuzarra spring/summer 2016 fashion show.Altuzarra, himself an Etsy shopper, acknowledged that the collaboration is a testament to his passion for considered interior design.  “When I design a collection, I like to imagine the interior space of the person I’m designing for,” said the designer, who founded his eponymous womenswear brand in 2008.“It’s almost like a movie set; it’s all part of the narrative.” “With the uncertainty we live with daily, being surrounded by objects and furnishings that give you a sense of comfort is so important,” he continued.”I wanted to create a collection that would bring people peace, joy, and happiness.”Available now through Etsy.com, prices from the collection range from $12 to $1,400 for the one-of-a-kind, artisan-made home goods. 

Copyright © 2020 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.

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U.S. retail executives readying for change post-coronavirus: survey

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As the Covid-19 crisis continues to force temporary store closures around the world, a new study from McKinsey & Company has revealed that although consumers might be eager to hit the mall, retail executives expect a delayed rebound of traffic once stores reopen, and will be embracing several operational changes. Retail executives readying for change post Covid-19. – Instagram: @mallofamericaThe survey of 98 U.S.-based executives revealed that most expect a recovery of store traffic to take at least several months, with 36 percent estimating six months or more for traffic to rebound.Once stores do open, precautionary measures and operating-model changes will be widespread. In fact, more than half of respondents indicate they will temporarily reduce operating hours and staffing levels when stores reopen. Those who plan to reduce staffing levels expect to reopen with an average of 22 percent fewer store employees.In store, executives plan to institute precautionary measures such as increasing store cleanings and encouraging safe distancing among customers in stores to promote employee and customer safety. Moreover, responses suggest that apparel and beauty retailers will be making changes to its policies by extending deadlines for returns and changing returns-handling procedures. Longterm, many executives say they are also reevaluating their footprints altogether with approximately one-third of respondents reporting that they are considering not reopening underperforming stores. Similarly, those who had plans to open new stores might be pressing pause and delaying any new store opening dates. With stores closed, the importance of e-commerce has never been more relevant and retailers expect e-commerce to remain stronger than before the Covid-19 outbreak. Surveyed executives predict a 6 to 13 percentage-point increase in online penetration compared with pre-pandemic levels.And so, about three-quarters of apparel executives say they plan to improve online integration at their stores.McKinsey & Company’s findings are based on survey data collected between April 6 and April 8, 2020.

Copyright © 2020 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.

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U.S. retailers offer purses, shoes ‘to go’ as restrictions ease

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Several staffers at major retail chains, including J.C. Penney Co Inc and Saks Fifth Avenue, reported for duty at some Texas-based stores on Friday, selling merchandise “to-go” for orders placed online.Photo: Shutterstock Following Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order, the retailers could open for curbside pick-up for anything from a Gucci handbag to a pair of Levi’s jeans.For more than a month, “non-essential” stores have been closed to the public to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, and many were limited to shipping online orders to customers’ homes.On Friday, Texas, the second-largest U.S. retail market after California, along with South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, started to reopen their economies.“To be able to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel is a huge confidence builder” both for consumers and retails, said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry adviser at market research firm NPD Group.Even with curbside service, chains have sharply curtailed signature department store services. Makeup applications and spa services are unavailable, and personal shoppers cannot interact with clientele in person. They have been using Zoom, Instagram, text and email instead.Penney, which is exploring filing for bankruptcy protection after the coronavirus pandemic forced the retailer to temporarily shut its 850 department stores, will offer curbside pick-up starting on Friday at certain store locations in Texas, including San Antonio and Dallas.Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, which also is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection, will allow customers to collect online orders, gift cards and alterations via curbside pick-up at all Neiman and Last Call locations in Texas. Upon arrival, an associate – wearing a mask and gloves – will deliver the product to the customer without making any contact.Saks Fifth Avenue stylists and personal shoppers on Friday sent messages to Texas-based clients telling them they can schedule appointments to shop online and collect merchandise curbside, or make returns, at two Saks stores, one in San Antonio and one in Houston. The personal shoppers can also advise customers on what purchases to make, though not in person.“Wall Street is looking closely at how the ‘non-essential’ stores reopen,” said Randy Hare, portfolio manager at Huntington Private Bank. “We will be in a new environment post-quarantine and different companies have an opportunity to become leaders.”Many retailers were offering curbside pick-up before the coronavirus pandemic to drive sales, and some states have allowed non-essential businesses to operate curbside in recent days.Macy’s Inc started testing curbside services this week at three locations in California, Florida and Texas, a company spokeswoman said.As they return to doing in-store business, the retailers might take a lesson from others overseas.In Germany, where stores are gradually reopening to shoppers country-wide, Swedish furniture chain Ikea counts people as they enter and exit to make sure there are no more than 640 shoppers at one time. It has put up protection screens for staff offering assistance and closed its childcare and restaurant areas.Staff are not required to wear face masks but can if they want. Signs on the floor ask shoppers to maintain a 1.5 metre (4.9 ft) distance from each other.At H&M stores that have reopened in Germany, customers are reminded with announcements, signage and floor stickers about social distancing rules. Plexiglass shields separate cash-desk areas, and the retailer is following the ruling of several German states regarding the compulsory wearing of protective masks for all employees.

© Thomson Reuters 2020 All rights reserved.

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Elie Saab on confinement as an opportunity to organize thought; reduce anger and tame egos

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Few countries are going through as much a crisis as Lebanon right now, even if the country has been relatively unscathed by the Covid-19 in comparison to Western Europe. FashionNetwork.com caught up with the country’s most famous designer, the Phoenician couturier Elie Saab, to discuss the impact of the pandemic. And how his couture house is handling the enormous disruption caused by Covid-19. Elie Saab’s headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon – Elie Saab  Though he always shows haute couture and ready-to-wear in Paris, Saab’s hometown is Beirut, which has been the center of enormous political activity this spring. This week, Lebanon’s lawmakers donned face masks to meet inside a cavernous Beirut theatre – in order to observe social distancing – the place sprayed with disinfectant as they entered. Outside, anti-government protestors paraded around in hundreds of cars – again, to maintain social distancing. Remarkably, throughout Lebanon’s long years of civil war and often chaotic conflict, Saab and his three sons have managed to build one of fashion’s most distinctive houses, develop a unique aesthetic and dress an Oscar winner. So, we caught up with Saab for his particular take on the current crisis, and what we can all potentially learn from this dark moment in world history. As well as how he sees the before and after Covid-19, both very different to him. And why, to Saab, this period can be one of personal fulfillment; and an opportunity to organize one’s thoughts; reduce anger and tame ego.A look from Elie Saab’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection – Elie Saab   FashionNetwork.com: Where are you now? With your family?Elie Saab: I’m in Lebanon with my wife Claudine. We spend our time between the house in Beirut and our house in the mountains in Faqra. Elie Jr and Celio are also in Lebanon but Michel is still in Switzerland.  FN: How is the situation in the Lebanon?ES: Unfortunately, the situation in Lebanon is not very favorable. For a while now, we have been living in a fairly fragile and agitated economic and social context and this virus has made the situation even worse.  FN: How are all your team?ES: Everyone is fine. We had taken the necessary measures to ensure the safety of our teams.However, we are starting to set our goals by looking to the future, considering that this pandemic has become more contained and controlled.The teams are working on a suitable tactic and a more suitable strategy for the long term that will be applied immediately.  FN: How has all this pandemic affected your creative ideas? ES: Honestly, I consider that this pause has generated certain positive consequences. I had never had the time or the opportune occasion to put my ideas in order, to reflect amply, to see things from another angle and in a more serene way. This confinement is an important period of reflection and contemplation. I continue to feed my creativity on a daily basis, I let myself be inspired by everything around me. FN: When was the moment when you first realized how serious this all was?ES: We were living in an express world where everyone was caught up with their agenda between incessant travel and consecutive events. Now, suddenly, the whole planet is in confinement, the world economy is affected, so we understand that the situation is out of the ordinary. Nature, whether one likes it or not, is stronger than we humans. What we have just experienced will not be able to reproduce easily. It may be tens of generations more before we face a similar test that will change our perception, be it personal or professional. I hope that everyone will take advantage of this situation to build a better, healthier, more balanced, simpler, and above all more humane future.  FN: Has anyone you know personally been affected?ES: This virus has unfortunately affected a large number of people around the world. To see that there is a large number of deaths really pains me …Like everyone else, I know friends who have been mildly affected by the virus or their family members. But I believe education and awareness about the virus now will help contain the spread so that we can get by as quickly and as best as possible.  FN: How will fashion change after Covid-19?ES: Fashion as well as the world will no longer be the same. We will refer to before and after Covid-19. Many things will change. I was convinced that a change would take place sooner or later because the cycle was no longer human. But I never thought that in our time, a pandemic would mobilize the planet to this point. The pace in our industry had become insane, robotic: we were working on several collections at the same time, so we lost the pleasure of savoring each one. We were under continuous pressure, we lost the joy of living and enjoying human relationships, as well as listening to others. Due to the speed and the sequence that we lived, simplicity lost its value, merits had become less and less appreciated. The calendar we were following was crazy and barely gave us time to catch our breath. Even the customers were bombarded by the novelties on the market. The consumption of the products became irrational and it was rather an endless race. We have to start again on the basis of favoring quality over quantity, creating brand-specific experiences, giving back the product’s own value so that it remains timeless. I really believe that today, we are moving to a new chapter that will give us the chance to set the record straight.A look from Elie Saab’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection – FashionNetwork.com  FN: How will the world change after Covid-19?ES: Our daily life will also change. We got into the habit of connecting remotely, working remotely, finding opportunities and looking for reliable solutions. We have developed our adaptability. We have realized that we can do things without being on-site by ensuring good remote management. Everything can be done online and this gives greater importance to technology. This phase remains very exceptional, as everything will gradually resume to regain its place – as it should. Excess remains the boredom of mankind and everything must be well-balanced to give a better meaning to humanity. Earth, too, had to breathe differently, with less pollution! It was really a click that brought us back to true and simple values. I am optimistic, I welcome this situation positively as a way to redefine our aspirations, our needs, our expectations. This period gave me a certain feeling of gratitude. I consider it as an experience of personal fulfillment to assess the details that surround us. I really hope that many people have had the chance to organize their thoughts during this time to reduce their anger and tame their ego. Some had lost their bearings before, and now is the time to raise the bar and return to simplicity and authenticity.  FN: As an industry of incessant travel, where the shows went on last month even as the pandemic raged in China, does fashion bear any of the blame?FN: Fashion Week may have accelerated the spread of the virus, but there were also other sporting events, conferences, etc. taking place around the world. Meetings and trips are not just for visiting fashion capitals and attending fashion shows. The spread of this virus has no borders or barriers. I especially do not want to associate this virus with the Fashion Month period because fashion represents beauty and elegance, Fashion Week evokes conviviality, and I insist that it symbolizes such, and that, forever.  FN: Many people have talked about a reset button – do you think that is the case?ES: Of course, the entire planet is on hiatus and it takes a “reset button” to restart it. Yet, you must be very careful when restarting the machine. We must ensure that we will take over the reins with skill, by emphasizing quality, in all of these aspects. We cannot ignore this phase that we have lived and re-launch lightly as if nothing had happened. This initialization button should trigger a promising start. I can’t stop thinking about it, and I’m in the midst of organizing myself to pass this course at best. FN: Others have noted that influencers have gone very quiet. Do you think that their influence will wane?ES: I have a belief that you cannot cross out something that has existed for a certain period of time. Influencers marked their territory: some were influential and were able to create an identity, others lesser so, and this will also be the case in the future. These influencers are above all a source of inspiration for the millennia and I hope that they will evolve in the right direction. FN: What will we keep from this period and what will we discard?ES: Personally, I will keep my character that you know well: simple, human, courteous and insightful, so as to not complicate matters. I will get rid of everything that could harm the quality of life that I will begin again, and take more pleasure around human relationships. My initial intuition had never deceived me, and today, I am even more convinced that you have to be well-surrounded to give more to the world.I have always gone forward with hope, and learned to overcome obstacles by determining the essentials, what inspires me – and this will further strengthen my conviction. FN: Do you still expect to come to Paris and shows in September?ES: Paris is my second city, and I can’t wait to come back to start again fully. I hope that this industry will recover in the best conditions possible, and that we will all be united to create subtly.  

Copyright © 2020 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.

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Foot Locker furloughs North America, Australia staff

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Foot Locker Inc. is the latest major retailer to announce furloughs, as the Covid-19 crisis continues to force temporary store closures.  Foot Locker furloughs North America, Australia staff. – Facebook: Foot LockerIn a regulatory filing, the NYC-based sports and footwear retailer said on Thursday that it will furlough the majority of the company’s store employees in the U.S. and Canada, as well as certain of its store employees in Australia and supply chain employees in the United States.The furlough period will begin on April 26, 2020 and will last indefinitely. Employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits and will also continue to receive their currently-enrolled health and other benefits in accordance with the terms of their respective plans. Foot Locker equally announced plans to reduce executive salaries, to further protect its financial position. Its CEO will take a salary reduction of 40 percent; its executive vice presidents and senior vice presidents a salary reduction of 20 percent; and corporate vice presidents and general manager-level roles a salary reduction of 10 percent. In addition, the company is temporarily suspending its share repurchase program, and reducing capital expenditures by 50 percent, for the fiscal year ended January 30, 2021, to increase its cash position and provide additional flexibility. Foot Locker closed all of its stores in North America, EMEA and Malaysia on March 17.The company ended its latest fiscal year with 3,129 company-operated stores in 27 countries spread across North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. There are also currently 130 franchised Foot Locker stores in the Middle East and 9 franchised Runner Point locations in Germany.In light of the ongoing health crisis, the company has also withdrawn its previously reported financial guidance for the full fiscal year 2020.

Copyright © 2020 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.

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​Liverpool FC’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and boxer Anthony Joshua join Under Armour in NHS performance apparel donation

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Trent Alexander-Arnold, the star defender of Liverpool FC – the current Club World Cup champions – and Anthony Joshua, the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight boxing champion, have linked up with Under Armour in a performance apparel donation to support NHS staff and frontline medical workers across Europe in the fight against Covid-19. In the latest action by a fashion marque in the struggle against coronavirus, Under Armour will donate some 15,000 items of performance sports apparel. The brand is also working with NHS charities and hospitals in Manchester, which is home to its UK head office and double Olympic champion Jade Jones. Trent Alexander in Under Armour’s “Through this Together” campaign in an effort to help in the fight against coronavirus – Instagram “The product donation, which totals around €1million, is in direct response to feedback from NHS staff on what they would value whilst working tirelessly through this difficult time. Products include UA’s HeatGear t-shirts which feel cool, dry and light, as well as its Recovery sleepwear and tracksuits to help make staff feel more comfortable after working around the clock while on the frontline,” said Under Armour in a release. Alexander-Arnold the best full back in the English premiership, the world’s most watched football championship, posted a video on his Twitter account supporting the action: “As everyone knows, I’m Liverpool through and through, and this city means everything to me. I’ve been so inspired by the work the doctors, nurses and key workers have been doing through this difficult time. Together with Under Armour, it’s great to be able to give something back so we’re providing over 2,000 products to the amazing workers at Royal Liverpool Hospital. We will get through this together.”The 21-year old defender, like every other footballer in Britain, is currently confined at home with the season suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under Armour is also distributing products to hospitals in France, Germany and the Netherlands. This follows Under Armour’s work in America, to manufacture and deliver PPE supplies to local medical institutions.

Copyright © 2020 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.

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Fashion Nova to pay $9.3m to consumers after violating FTC policies

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Fast-fashion retailer Fashion Nova is set to pay $9.3 million in settlement fees for violating shipping and refund policies after reaching an agreement with The Federal Trade Commission. Twitter @FashionNovaThe complaint filed by the FTC alleged that the online retailer “violated the agency’s Mail, Internet, Or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule (the Mail Order Rule), which applies to merchandise sold to consumers online, by mail, or by phone.” Under the complaint, Fashion Nova was alleged to have regularly failed to meet its shipping promises to customers, which were advertised using language like “fast” and “2-day” shipping, failed to meet the Mail Order Rule’s requirement that consumers be notified of shipping delays and given the chance to cancel orders and receive a prompt refund, and failed to cancel orders and provide refunds when it did not offer consumers delay option notices.In addition, the FTC further alleged that Fashion Nova at times failed to refund consumers for items that didn’t ship, and instead chose to issue gift cards, which are not considered refunds under the Mail Order Rule.Of the total $9.3 million payment, $7.04 million will be sent to the FTC for use in refunding consumers and $2.26 million must be refunded directly to consumers. Fashion Nova customers who received gift cards instead of refunds when the company violated the Mail Order Rule will be eligible for refunds under the settlement.“The same rules that we have enforced for nearly 50 years against catalogers and other mail-order companies also apply to online sellers,” said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Online retailers need to know that our Mail Order Rule requires them to notify customers in the event of shipping delays and offer the right to cancel with a full refund—not just a gift card or a store credit.”The settlement prohibits Fashion Nova from any further violations of the Mail Order Rule, and requires the company to ship ordered merchandise within one day of receipt of an order when the company doesn’t specify a shipping date, the FTC said. FashionNetwork.com has reached out to Fashion Nova, but has yet to receive comment. In a statement given to Business Insider, the company said the issues “stemmed from exponential growth in 2017 which taxed our warehouse and IT systems.”

Copyright © 2020 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.

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Earth Day: Fashion and luxury launch initiatives on 50th anniversary

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Fashion and luxury brands worldwide have launched a wide ranging array of sustainable initiatives, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary. The international day dedicated to environmental reform celebrated its half century on Wednesday, April 22. From carbon-neutral measures by Versace in Milan and an eco-warrior video poem commissioned by Vivienne Westwood in London; to Banana Republic in the United States introducing new vintage recycling ideas and fresh approaches by Australian swimwear line Horizon Athletic taking place all the way Down Under, fashion houses near and wide are all affirming their support for the ecological movement, doubling their efforts as the current pandemic reinforces fears in the worldwide community of humankind’s mistreatment of our planet. Vivienne Westwood’s project video, “Vivus” for Earth Day, in collaboration with Canopy, a not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting forests, species and climate In London, Stella McCartney – the designer forerunner in sustainability and environmentally sensible fashion – took over Piccadilly Circus with a giant billboard.  “For us, Every Day is Earth Day,” read the signage, with a video featuring supermodel Amber Valletta, daubed in blue camouflage paint. “Certainly, the situation is sad, but there is hope. The ideas of community and compassion struggle against the pandemic, but also work to save the Earth. Nature has given us a second chance, to correct our collective impact, to learn from it and to act. There are fewer cars on the road; fewer planes in the sky; industry is immobile. Carbon emissions levels around the world could see their sharpest decrease since the 1940s. We are already seeing a 58% reduction in daily carbon emissions in the European Union, as well as a 70% reduction in road traffic in the United Kingdom and a 40% reduction in nitrogen dioxide in London,” the designer said in a release.Capri Holdings, the owners of Versace, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, released its first group-wide corporate social responsibility strategy, timed to coincide with Earth Day’s half-century long existence. The group has set itself a 100% carbon-neutral goal for direct operations, and plans to source all of its energy from renewable sources by the end of 2025. Additionally, it set other goals for 2025: all plastic packaging must become fully recyclable, compostable or reusable; sourcing will be at least 95% of all leather from certified tanneries; and it will add traceability to its supply chain. “We recognize that as our company grows, so do our responsibilities, and welcome the opportunity to do more. We believe that sound environmental and social policies are both ethically correct and fiscally responsible,” said CEO John D. Idol.  British fashion legend Vivienne Westwood’s house released a video in partnership with Canopy, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting forests and wildlife, that features Kai-Isaiah Jamal & Aidan Zamiri. “Sometimes I put on a plain black T-Shirt, a mixed-blend over my head and forget that in this basic T lay the substances of ancient forests that no longer exist,” laments the poet-activist. From its beginnings in California, Earth Day is now observed by 192 countries worldwide, making it the largest secular holiday in the worldwide. Banana Republic, historically a marque founded on selling upcycled surplus product, feted Earth Day with its new campaign: Better Republic. It features eco-friendly products that will be sold online on vintage marketplace Thrilling.  An environment-friendly method of supporting local small businesses – of which 95% are owned and operated by women.Banana Republic’s “Better Republic” campaign, which aims to integrate sustainability into design and manufacturing decisions across its supply chain – Banana Republic  In a related move, Banana Republic also reaffirmed its sustainability goals. For instance, it promised to use 100% sustainable cotton and 50% sustainable fibers by 2023, as well as create far more denim via Gap Inc.’s Washwell program, which uses less water and and far more sustainable dye processes.   While Wrangler, “in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day,” announced that it had managed to save 7 billion liters of water in its denim manufacturing processes since 2008, surpassing its own goal of 5.5 billion liters. Rival Lee Jeans also announced plans to power 100 percent of all owned and operated facilities with renewable energy by 2025; and to source 100 percent sustainably-grown or recycled cotton by 2025. Internationally, younger dynamic brands like Pangaia, Riley Studio and Horizon Athletic sum up our current obsession with creating fashion that manages to be chic yet also sustainable. Pangaia celebrated the half-century by developing new T-shirts in peppermint seaweed fibers, and puffer jackets filled with FLWRDWN, a cruelty-free alternative to goose feathers, made out of wildflowers.Pangaia’s Earth Day t-shirt – Pangaia  Riley Studio, by cool Chelsea influencer Riley Uggla, uses recycled materials from ethical partners, all the way to the neck labels, composed on a bio-based plastic alternative that can be placed in a compost bin and broken down within 24 weeks. As for Australian label Horizon Athletic, it has created active and swimwear ranges made of econyl, a recycled fiber made of abandoned fishing nets. To fete Earth Day, Woolmark even teamed up with artist Timo Helgert to create a series of images of re-wildings in London, New York and Shanghai, with nature taking control again of said cities. A still from digital artist Timo Helgert’s collaboration project with The Woolmark Company for Earth Day – The Woolmark Company  In effect, the impact of Covid-19, as well as our enforced distance from nature, has also served to underline our love of flora, fauna and wildlife. Perhaps Timberland best summed up the mood with a video prose poem, Dear Nature, which poses the question: does nature wonder where we have all gone, why there are no planes in the sky? “Dear nature, we miss you. Probably more than you miss us. Take this time to breathe, to bloom, and to conquer your space. And, when we are back, we promise to treat you better than we ever did before. Because now that we are distant from you we truly understand how much you really meant to us.” 

Copyright © 2020 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.

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BlueCross Blueshield offering free, online COVID-19 assessment tool

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — BlueCross BlueShield is offering a free, online tool for people to screen themselves for symptoms of the coronavirus.

The tool, which is available to anyone, whether they’re insured by BlueCross BlueShield or not, asks a series of questions, and does not give answers to a third party.

“We recognize the health care professionals who are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and as the region’s largest health plan, we are proud to do our part in supporting our local community and health care system in addressing this,” said David W. Anderson, president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “While this tool doesn’t replace medical care, it ensures that all individuals in our community have access to educational resources to help connect them with the care they need.”

The questions ask about symptoms, medical history and recent exposure. Instant results and recommendations are then provided.

The content of the assessment was created by the insurance organization’s team of medical professionals, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

MORE | Take the assessment here.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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Premium fashion beats high street and ultra-luxe in lockdown says LovetheSales

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High street and luxury fashion brands are struggling in the UK as online demand falls 179% and 34% respectively year-on-year, new data has shown.Premium brands like Calvin Klein seem to be more popular than luxury names in the UK at present LovetheSales.com’s latest monthly report on Wednesday showed that those consumers who are still shopping are focused on other goods such as garden items. Prices on these have surged as demand has risen strongly.By contrast, online searches for high street and luxury fashion brands fell in mid-April, compared to this time last year. And as the figures show, high street brands are the biggest sufferers as online searches for cheaper branded clothing fell almost 180%. It’s perhaps understandable that interest in luxury items has fallen less sharply with the assumption that consumers in this area are less concerned about their finances.But the 34% fall in overall interest is still a sign that some affluent consumers may be anticipating a more challenging financial environment. They seem to have shifted their interest from the higher-end luxury labels labels like Burberry and Gucci towards premium brands such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and others, where searches have actually risen 18%.As far as specific categories are concerned, LovetheSales also said searches for suitcases have dropped by 74% year-on-year and searches for cabin luggage have declined by 64% — unsurprising given the lockdown and curtailment of travel.It also said searches for handbags have dropped by 46% year-on-year and for purses by 63%. And dress searches are down 33%, despite this usually being the peak period for dress sales. Meanwhile playsuit searches are down 54%, but demand for loungewear has risen 411%.The figures showed that some other products are booming too. After the #pillowchallenge went viral on Instagram, shoppers have been keen to show off their entries, using designer belts. Searches for Gucci belts have increased by 71% month-on-month. Searches for Off-White and Moschino belts are up 65% and 59% respectively.The Netflix show Tiger King also seems to have boosted interest in tiger print clothing, which is up 90%. Kenzo, with its tiger logo, has benefited since the show’s release, with demand for its big logo jumpers increasing by 126% month-on-month.Ugg slippers are proving hugely popular with shoppers, with page views for the footwear shooting up by 66% year-on-year, while premium lingerie has increased 42%. Lace teddies, suspenders, and thongs are the most popular products for UK shoppers and brands Agent Provocateur and Ann Summers have benefited the most from this trend with year-on-year demand up 49% and 42% respectively.

Copyright © 2020 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.

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WNY native shares what it’s like working in Westchester County hospital during COVID pandemic

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WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–One of the hardest-hit areas is downstate, in Westchester County, near the city.

Dr. Michael Shehata, a Western New York native, has been in the thick of it, caring for COVID patients at New York-Presbyterian Lawrence in Westchester.

He’s also affiliated with Neiman Dermatology in Williamsville.

Dr. Shehata joined News 4 tonight.

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NRF pushes government on pandemic insurance for retailers, praises small business loan legislation

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) called on congress to pass legislation creating a federal program to help businesses obtain pandemic insurance on Tuesday, while also voicing its support for a $500 billion package to be voted on in the senate that would increase funding for loans for small businesses, as well as for other forms of economic aid during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Instagram: @mallofamerica Based on a similar program for terrorism insurance set up following 9/11, a government-backed pandemic insurance program would help retailers obtain the coverage they need to renew their leases, invest in real estate, order inventory, plan for capital improvements and hire or re-hire workers over the next few months, while also providing a mechanism for ensuring economic recovery in the face of any future pandemics. “When businesses couldn’t obtain coverage for acts of terrorism after 9/11, Congress stepped in,” said David French, NRF’s senior vice president for government relations, in a release. “It’s time for Washington to do the same for pandemics. […] At this point it’s virtually impossible to obtain pandemic coverage for the future, but a federally insured pandemic risk insurance program would provide businesses of all sizes the certainty they need and help rebuild confidence.”NRF has therefore joined 16 other business organizations in sending a letter to congress endorsing the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act, to be introduced by representative Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., a senior member of the House Finance Services Committee, soon. Backed by committee chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the proposed legislation would not only mean that insurance companies would have to offer policies that cover pandemics, but would also create a federal backstop program reimbursing them when claims related to a pandemic or epidemic exceed $250 billion nationwide. On Tuesday, NRF also announced its support for the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, a $500 billion package set to be voted on in the senate. The act would provide an additional $300 billion for small business administration loans on top of the original $350 billion provided by the CARES Act. The legislation is expected to be voted on by the house on Thursday, with President Donald Trump having already indicated his support. Although almost 200,000 small retailers have received loans of on average $155,000 each via the Paycheck Protection Program, funds have now been exhausted and new applications are not being accepted by the SBA.

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