Fashion Fracas! See-through Pants and a Princess Create Continuity Crises

Drive 3-29 DRESS Pic
Twist Front Dress, $595, Issa, shopbop.com
Need some examples of business disruption that aren’t caused by Mother Nature? Well, the fashion world reported two BCP blunders recently  — Lululemon and it’s see-through yoga pants, and Kate Middleton’s supply chain snafu.Middleton nearly ruined a fashion designer by popularizing a dress.  Once worn by Kate, demand for the dress was so great that it nearly brought the small fashion house, Issa, to its knees.  According to Issa’s current chairwoman, Camilla Al Fayed, the sudden increase in orders almost caused Issa to go under. “It absolutely sky-rocketed the brand on a global scale, but it was too much,” she’s quoted as saying by Vogue UK. “Demand was so huge the business couldn’t cope. If Kate wears a Zara dress, these huge companies have the backing to follow through. Issa was basically run by interns, students and Daniella [Helayel, the label’s founder and designer]. There was no business model.” Issa recovered by shoring up its supply chain and now Kate’s dress still sells out.  How’s that for a success story?

We’ll have to wait and see if Lululemon bounces back from its recent clothing crisis.  The popular, up-scale purveyors of yoga and workout gear had to recall its most popular yoga pants and offer refunds to complaining customers. What’s the problem? The pants are practically see-through.

The recall is expected to cost the company about $60 million in lost sales.  According to this New York Times report, “the consequences could be significant for Lululemon,” as once-loyal customers try competitors on for size.

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