Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Oh, Cotton!

While scavenging through piles of clothing at a rummage sale recently, I came across a fun graphic 80’s style t-shirt, that was way too big for me, but had some DIY boxy cropped-tee potential. When I got it home, I was amused to see the label – Cotton Ginny! As a child of the 80s, I fondly remember the over-sized logo-ed sweatshirts and hot pink leggings of my youth. I wondered – whatever happened to Cotton Ginny? Do they still exist? Have they thought to capitalize on the 80s/90s revival? This, of course, led me down a Canadian 80s retailer Internet rabbit hole. 

Pricey Cotton Ginny Look-alikes by Splendid, MSGM and Alice + Olivia

Yes, it turns out, Cotton Ginny does in fact still exist. No, they are not capitalizing on the resurgence of ‘fashion’ sweatshirts and leggings as pants. Why? God knows. They should be in the midst of a grand resurgance. Instead, they’re half-assing it as on online retailer, all of their brick and mortar locations having closed ages ago due to bankruptcy (damn those fickle customers! Stirrup pants 4evr!).  Their site looks so sad and abandoned – prominently advertising their fall 2012 collection, with an About Us section that says ‘Coming soon…’. Really? How is it possible that a company who have existed for 34 years can't come up with anything to say about their business? They carry a small selection of mumsy clothing in drab colours, with nary an 3X in sight. I remember Cotton Ginny Plus flourishing for a while, even as their original line lost popularity over the years, but their current line maxes out at XL. 

Even boring Beaver Canoe has made a comeback

Sadly, I wasn’t able to find any Cotton Ginny ads from their heyday, but my exercise in procrastination research, did lead me to Au Coton. I had always considered them to be Cotton Ginny’s slightly lamer counterpart, but they seem to have a much bigger online presence.  They even have a Facebook group for former employees. Their site advertises a new collection coming this Spring (although I’m guessing ‘this Spring’ isn’t actually this Spring), with non-functioning twitter, facebook and RSS links. It’s too bad, because the vintage 80s pic on their site definitely suggests their trying to use nostalgia to their advantage. If only they would follow through…

The 80's: So much colour! So much fun! So much fabric!

It’s particularly unfortunate that Cotton Ginny isn’t seizing this opportunity. They have the retro nostalgia /much neglected plus-sized market double-whammy going for them. Ignoring this seems like such a missed opportunity to be seen as relevant again.

Oh well, there's always Etsy

Fashion revivals only last so long – grunge is already back, and soon enough the runways will be teeming with phat pants and neon fun fur everything. In the meantime, maybe their new Islamabad location will be a success…?


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