By ELLEN LEWIS
I was a teenager and in college, during the Vietnam War. Our government was submerged in scandal; women struggled with self-image and race relations were buried by an avalanche of outdated social standards. We were disillusioned; looking for a way through the messy politic of the decades that followed the sheer disbelief of the Kennedy assassination. We were all about our long hair, tie-dye t-shirts, and washed out jeans. Woodstock was our generations call to arms. We wanted a better world for our future. Does this sound familiar?
One truth I know to be absolute is that history repeats itself, moving forward on a reverberating graph. Back and forth it travels relying on innovation in technology and industry to counsel change. Fashion, like art, is often the voice for these cultural modifications. Fashion will often reach back to earlier times for design inspiration and innovate for a contemporary statement.
No lifestyle lounge brand does this quite like P.J. Salvage. This time it’s their Peace group; an iconic assortment of tie-dye and garment washed separates that weave effortlessly into the entire P.J. Salvage lifestyle heritage. Drawing on the graphics that framed the Woodstock era, they have used their renowned fabric development and design radar to create styles so soft that women wear them 24/7. Their much loved peachy fabric and brushed baby waffle pieces combined with easy sweats from XS-XL are a vintage nod to a 21st century modus operandi. Change challenges the past, but progress depends on using the lessons it teaches.
“Give Peace a Chance.” John Lennon
By ELLEN LEWIS
Today, I have spent more time than I wanted trying to find a way to artfully explain why these styles from P.J. Salvage deserve a call out. I could go into a diatribe about the way this brand uses trendy design detail to create pajama and robe collections worthy of casual street wear. I could focus on the amazing fabrics for which they are renowned. I could discuss their foray into the 24/7 lifestyle product development journey on which they embarked years before it became an Intimate Apparel buzzword. Frankly, there are a slew of metaphors. But I have started and stopped multiple times today writing this piece. Sometimes, it’s best to simply state the facts. P.J. Salvage is just plain fun to look at, to wear, and to give as a gift. Plus, it’s incredibly soft and comfortable. These particular styles entice me because of the kitschy embroidery motifs cleverly integrated into classic sleep and lounge separates fitting XS-XL. The creative team has done it again, capitalized on current fashion direction and elevated basic shapes to a contemporary design statement. It’s quintessential P.J. Salvage and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Stay tuned!
“Fun is Good” ~Dr.Seuss
The very first lesson I ever learned as a merchant was the pursuit of the key item and how to maximize its potential. The term “key item intensification” became a maxim for good retail practice. Identifying a product and expanding its exposure while eliminating styles trickling along in sales is the mark of a savvy buyer. This practice carries through to the wholesale venue. It takes only one great item to build volume. Back in the early days of Macy’s intimates private label division, when I was charged with directing its growth, we identified the flannel pajama as the bearer of our key item flag. In fact, I have firm memories of “bidding wars” between executives at our corporate meetings. There was always competition between divisions on who could stock more, sell more and exceed gross margin expectations. Thus, I spent a great deal of time developing the right novelty prints and yarndye patterns. There are winners and losers and success depends upon the ability to capitalize effectively. In those halcyon years, our sales reflected our grasp of this knowledge elevating our program to a place of recognition.
I departed Macys in the early 90’s and lost sight of their PJ initiative. But shortly thereafter, P.J. Salvage® arrived on the sleepwear scene with their signature flannel pajamas giving access nationally to a bevy of pajama prints right on target for their customer, a modern, young, casual woman who is all about comfortable fashion. Two decades later, P.J. Salvage® is a force to be reckoned with. Their collections of casual lifestyle loungewear using multi-faceted progressive fabrics are fixtures in both ready to wear and Intimate stores. In honor of their 20th anniversary, this eponymous label has just re-launched their original best-selling prints: Bronco, Route 66, Sheepy Time and Lips. As relevant now as 20 years ago, these pajamas promise to be a viable anchor for sleepwear sales globally. Happy Birthday P.J. Salvage® !
“Wise Is the One Who Flavors the Future With Some Salt From the Past.” ~Curtis Tyrone Jones
Crushed! A very familiar word in the past 10 days. It got me to thinking about the real meaning of this term. The dictionary definition states the obvious. But there is, thanks to the creativity of the English language, other poetic interpretations of this expression. Consider this: crushed grapes, crushed ice, a romantic crush. I am thinking succor and love. Add to this PJ. Salvage’s new Crushin’ It collection and I think the word crushed takes us to a whole other place.
One look at these crushed velvet separates and I had a 1980’s flashback. Leave it to this savvy lifestyle brand to integrate a retro like fabric into a wardrobe of modern loungewear pieces dedicated to comfort and adored by fans worldwide. Shown here with one of PJ Salvage’s super plush hooded robes, this bra-top and short set in silver (or rose) are perfect holiday mood changers. Excellent for cocooning and worthy of outerwear, these styles fitting XS-XL are an excellent anecdote to current affairs. PJ Salvage’s designs are once again, crushing it.
“A Breath of Fresh Air After The Heart Wrenching Storm That Engulfed Me”
Meet Lily. I fell in love with her when Peter Burke, owner and visionary entrepreneur of the 18 year old PJ Salvage brand showed me pictures of her schmoozing with models at a recent photo shoot. The minute I looked at these images of young women clad in PJ Salvage merchandise, playing with Lily, feeding her spaghetti and generally spoiling the daylights out of her, I knew Peter had a marketing bonanza on his hands. Without even trying, this adorable French bulldog has become an instant mascot for a product whose casual California feel good persona has informed the lifestyle of countless fans across the globe. Have you noticed that dog lovers have a tendency to stay loyal to a particular breed? Well French bulldogs that engage in pajama parlance: aka comfort and contentment have not only conquered Peter’s personal canine preferences, but also the hearts and minds of PJ Salvage customers. Lily has 10,000 followers on Instagram.
I have always proffered that good product comes first. After the goods are on the table though, telling a consistent story can assure fan devotion. Lily’s tale takes the PJ Salvage ethos to another level of cuddly and cute and just a bit “laissez-faire”: (she is French after all). The company has injected her message into their genetic infrastructure guaranteeing a healthy and productive future. Lily’s image now presides on hang-tags, labels, prints, packaging and accessories. There are so many possibilities for the brand to take advantage of her presence. Perhaps, a French bulldog PJ Salvage fashion parade with Lily as the star. But then again, she might want the stage all to herself. She always steals the show.
“I’ve Learned That People Will Forget What You Said, People Will Forget What You Did, But People Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel” ~Maya Angelou