HAH!  Think I'm going to start talking about body image issues?  Think again.  No, I'm quite literally talking about an Unattainable Body – an item of clothing… those things that make a neat and taut silhouette.  And it's unattainable pourquoi?

I think most people are aware of the process of labels and brands making pieces that are only meant for press purposes – i.e. there will be certain items that are made purely for editorial purposes, that will never go into production and will never be sold.  It's no secret that high street stores also do this.  I might get excited about something at a Topshop press day and start clapping my hands in glee but then months later, I'll manically search for that item only to find it never went into production. 

I therefore present you with the Unattainable Body… from New Look to be precise.  I saw this piece used in the initial A/W 09 lookbook images in my bid to find out whether I could start buying more things from this store that has somehow always stumped me.  Anyhow the body was stuck in my head… and then stuck even further when I saw it used in a Sunday style supplement shoot.  I loved the body's similarity to a scuba suit, the leopard print that is a crossed over with camo and the leather panelling… oh and the obvious fact that it's a body onesie and so has that ability to smooth over everything.  

As it happens, New Look were glad to obligingly send me this prototype of the body but kindly explained that the body did not go into production as it did not get pass the 'customer focus group' stage and will therefore not be on sale.  Now, I could be completely isolated in my body-scuba-suit-loving rut but I'm just wondering who are the 'customers' that are saying 'Nay' to things, that end up preventing designs from making it to the shop floor for the wider public.  What's the 'focus' process…?  How does one get in on the customer focus game to have this all-powerful ability to inform what will be going into the stores?  Do they provide the focus groups with sufficient sandwiches and beverages to make sure they can Yay/Nay clothes more efficiently?  Are there placards with points from 0-10…?  Is there someone in the group who is specificlaly ANTI-onesie?  Important questions I believe…

Like I said, I'm bo no means an 'average' (mean, meadian AND mode) customer and probably given the choice, I would YAY everything seeing as I'm a firm believer in choice… thus you'd get stores looking completely overstuffed and unedited.  This Unattainable Body on my back (sounds strange to keep referring to the 'bod'…) isn't here to say but it's pretty much a dead loss now seeing as the stores are moving onto spring summer samples … perhaps next time, I will make it my mission to join this supposed 'customer forcus group…" as Yays are always better than Nays.

**EDIT** Bloody hell… just re-read this and realised it made no sense whatsoever… I wrote this late at night and promptly fell asleep… on the keyboard… hello keyboard marks on face… great look for shopping in New York, no?

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Comments (46)

  1. Lily says:

    Weeee cute print Susie, I like the sharp shoulders.

  2. sd says:

    WHAT THE HELL!!
    this needs to go into production
    the Focus Group probably wasn’t focus :[
    cause this is beautiful

  3. Jane H. says:

    Aahhhhh LOVE those shoes! They go perfectly with the outfit 🙂

  4. daphne says:

    I love it! The leather panels across the shoulders are lovely against the print. You wear it well, as usual, and those shoes! I know they’re a little crazy but I LOVE THEM!! Strangely, I actually like them MORE than the similar styles with a normal stiletto heel. Perhaps, in part, because they make me think: could I wear those shoes? How would I wear them? Could I make them work with anything I already own? Would I surprise myself by pairing them with something quite opposite? Sorry to drag you along behind my train of though, but it’s all to say how much I dig the shoes. They make me think.

  5. Karina says:

    Love the colors. Could totally imagine seeing it captured on Jak & Jill.

  6. Strut says:

    amazingness!!!
    Susie!!
    You NEVER cease to amaze me.
    This blue is so rich
    this look is so strong
    you are just so beautiful <3
    http://foryourSATISFASHION.com

  7. juliet says:

    Id like to be in a group to say yay or nay.
    juliet xxx

  8. This is so gorgeous!!
    And your shoes!! I Really love them!
    http://bloomingvogue.blogspot.com/

  9. Brigadeiro says:

    Seriously? Wonder why this didn’t go into production, I would love one (probably in a different print for myself…), the design is pretty cool! LOVE the outfit & Stella shoes! 😉
    xx

  10. daisychain says:

    Oh I do wish this had gone in to production, it is quite fantastic.

  11. Laura says:

    I love it!
    The thing is if they gather together the average New Look customer for the focus group they aren’t going to want something which is a bit more out there.
    Maybe they should branch out a little more and ask people who don’t don’t always buy from New Look, maybe they could get those customers they are missing out on.
    http://aforteforfashion.blogspot.com

  12. Just goes to show retailers often have no idea what will sell and getting stock right is hard. I’m sure the majority of their customers probably aren’t looking for the body to wear so that’s why it didn’t get past the research stage but if you factor out all placed except London then why didn’t they sell in London specifically.
    Very interesting bit of investigative consumerism!

  13. Tomorrow says:

    love your shoes and your hair and your shirt, erm and your skirt. Okay it would have just been easier to say I like the hole look wouldn’t it! dumb brain! (sorry I am talking to myself in a comment on somebody elses blog again!) what am I like?
    Tomorrow x
    http://www.inthebedroommirror.blogspot.com

  14. Punkie says:

    wow beautiful!!!

  15. that’s a very original dress
    leen

  16. I guarantee there is a designer from New Look who is screaming at the screen right now saying “see you stupid focus group, this was an amazing design!”
    Part of being a designer for a large company is getting about half of your designs axed by the higher ups, it’s a very frustrating part of the job. You should see all the amazing designs that never make it past the sketching stage, they would probably all be your favorite pieces, they always were mine!

  17. tanya says:

    loving how fug the shoes are. so so good! they add an unexpected twist to the outfit 🙂

  18. Homie says:

    So gutted that they didn’t decide to sell that amazing bodysuit….

  19. WHAT!!! Are New Look insane?!?! I really don’t shop there because I find the clothes really cheaply made and so unappealing (basically Primark but double the price), so why when they have a goreous and unique design like this do they reject it??!! I suggest the designer of the body hot-foots it over to Topshop!

  20. alexandra says:

    UGH.
    I WOULD PAY SO MUCH FOR THIS.
    IT IS UNBELIEVABLE.

  21. alexandra says:

    ANOTHER UGHHH.
    This is going to be one of those things where I save the pictures and every time I look at it it’s going to nag the shit out of me. YOu do this so much Susie. Like with the Michael Angel leggings and the acne wedges that I can’t justify affording but LOVE.
    BUT THIS?!? This I’d BUY. And i CANT! I LOVE it.

  22. susie_bubble says:

    Angie: That sounds incredibly frustrating…
    I’m really just curious though how from store to store how do they cut out designs… I mean New Look using customers as a focus group isn’t a bad thing. It’s better than having one head honcho saying nay to things… but what are the customers they have got in to do this task?
    Alexandra: I feel your pain… I’m also guessing if it did make it into production, it would be completely affordable too…

  23. Caitlin says:

    so… did you get to keep this body or was it just a loan thing so you could try it on?
    either way, its pretty damn cool and thats REALLY annoying how they say no to some of the best designs!
    x

  24. susie_bubble says:

    ^I think I have to return it as it’s a prototype… :*(

  25. I think every company does it differently, a friend of mine worked for a company that used focus groups…In her case the company target market was 13-17 year olds…so that’s who was in the focus group.
    Basically a company figures out (through mailing lists, customer profiles, etc) who their core customer group is, then they’ll use marketing/research agencies to put together focus groups who will come in and look at the designs and choose with designs they would buy or not, in a survey type format. I remember my friend telling how frustrating it was to have a 14 yr old girl have the power to veto a design she was really excited about (a designer whose worked for 3 major retailers, with over 10 yrs experience!). But it makes sense in the end, they ARE the customer. The problem though lies in the fact that designers have to work a year ahead, and the average customer doesn’t know what they want to wear a year from now, they know what they want to wear NOW!
    Basically the process has it’s pros and cons, and surely some companies use the process to better effect than others…
    It would be interesting if companies started using the internet for focus groups, some sort of voting system…although perhaps the results would then be skewed towards a more fashion forward customer…but hey, if they like the design, they like the design, right? Definitely something that needs some thought…

  26. Flavia M. says:

    The shoes are amazing!

  27. Sapphire says:

    i like the exposed zip and panels but the print is a bit wild for me
    maybe thats why ?
    X

  28. Samantha says:

    I love your shoes!40 pounds?!Its such a bargain!

  29. WendyB says:

    I like that the back looks as good as the front!

  30. a. says:

    do you get to keep it or do you have to give it back?!

  31. Isabel says:

    Oh Susie, you never cease to entertain me. Your style is always incredible!

  32. kim says:

    It doesn’t look like ‘New Look’, that’s probably why it wasn’t produced… I do like it though. Great for the office actualy.

  33. luxirare says:

    This outfit is different form your usual style but i have to say I like it alot, you look very professional and editrix-y.

  34. Anna Jane says:

    I can’t understand how this can’t go into production, it’s gorgeous! loving the leather and zip detailing @ the back.

  35. KD says:

    It actually doEs make a lot of sense, don’t worry. Lovely lovely body!

  36. boots says:

    the skirt is crazy!!

  37. I am such a yay-sayer, put me on a focus group!! I never do shop at New Look though, sometimes they have decent shoes, but the clothes are never quite right, and accessories: tack-o-rama. I have noticed they frequently put stuff in a lookbook or even in their ad campaign that you never actually see in store. Even the Giles stuff is weird when you see it in real life. Stylists deserve a medal for making them look amazing in the photos! (Next does this too!)
    http://tinnedpeachesandcream.blogspot.com

  38. arwen says:

    very nice outfit! like always…

  39. Caroline says:

    I’m also wondering who got the power to nay such things as this beaut body. I love the leater applices on the shoulders but think it might be those who was the reason for the no..

  40. Guilty Hyena says:

    Love the print and shoulders
    x-x-x

  41. Dana says:

    loving the tiny addition of leather x
    http://www.fashionfollowed.blogspot.com

  42. Love, love, love! I just discovered your blog and I’m a fan!
    http://rafeloves.rafe.com

  43. Trina says:

    I like that you brought up the point that some clothes don’t go into production–sheds light on those clothes that you will never see people wear on the streets.

  44. rollergirl says:

    Ooh what a great post. I hate focus groups! When I worked on a mag they used to do focus groups too and I’d be like, duh, don’t ask the readers what they want, they don’t know til they see it!
    Never even occurred to me that designs get binned all the time. Such a waste. Mind you, someone on Grazia told me recently that a good portion of the stories they write get canned for one reason or another. Makes you wonder what else is going to waste. Anyway, if it’s not going into production, WHY DO THEY NEED A PROTOTYPE? Maybe it will come back in another guise?

  45. Olive says:

    I LOOVVVEEE your skirt!!

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