Fashion Brands’ Message for Fall Shoppers: Buy Less, Spend More

September 20, 2014 Leave a comment

F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Zady, Of a Kind, Cuyana Push Edited Assortments of Wardrobe Basics for Women Tired of ‘Fast Fashion’

Sept. 3, 2014 11:04 p.m. ET

Here is a thought for shoppers getting ready to work on their fall wardrobes: Buy less.

Amid the chaos and excess of New York Fashion Week, which starts today as dozens of designers and brands show their Spring 2015 collections, some experts say a “buy less but better” movement is brewing.

A generation of consumers has grown up wearing what is often referred to as “fast fashion”—trendy, inexpensive versions of runway looks that shoppers wear for one season, or one occasion, and often toss. Now, many of these shoppers are graduating to a philosophy of quality not quantity, industry executives say.

In an appeal to the changing mind-set, a number of new retailers are encouraging shoppers to build simpler, smaller and longer-lasting wardrobes.Retailers including Zady, Cuyana and Everlane are featuring edited assortments and fewer promotions, while promising higher-quality fabrics, better construction, and transparency about sourcing and manufacturing.

The retail industry’s own statistics suggest a shift in consumer-spending habits is starting to take root. While Americans are spending more each year on clothes than ever before, the quantity has leveled off since the 2005 peak, according to statistics from the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

“People are not buying just to buy anymore,” says Nate Herman, vice president of international trade and resident economist at the association. There is evidence people are willing to pay more for clothes that last longer, he adds.

A swing of the fashion pendulum away from disposable fashion would be a big change for both stores and shoppers, following a roughly 20-year period of relentless discount-driven spending. Consumers were trained to wait for price slashing before buying, and then they would buy impulsively and in quantity—often only to suffer from a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

This summer, Grechen Reiter says she came to the simple realization that she had too many clothes—an especially frank admission for a shopping blogger who has been chronicling her purchases over the past decade on her website, Ballooning beyond the walls of the bedroom closet in her Dallas-area home, Ms. Reiter’s wardrobe also took over the closet in her guest bedroom plus three big plastic storage bins.

Ms. Reiter recalls scouring sales racks and thinking, “I need to buy it because it’s so cheap”—only to regret the purchase later. “No person needs as much stuff as I had,” says the 41-year-old.

This summer, determined to cut back, Ms. Reiter went on a ruthless purge, selling some pieces online, giving others away and donating the rest. She documented her attitude change in a series of blog posts titled “The Minimal Closet,” where she offered advice to readers who want to do the same. Now, her clothing occupies just half of one closet. Going forward, she says, “I want to be really thoughtful about what I buy.”

F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas

Designer Misha Nonoo, who is set to show her latest collection in New York this week, says she designs with her customers’ closets in mind. She wants customers to think about how her new separates will pair with things they already own. A plaid tweed jacket with a fur collar and matching trousers shown on the runway for her Fall 2014 collection could be purchased separately: The pants could go with a black blouse, she says, while the jacket would work for the office with slacks or on the weekend with jeans. “There is a versatility to each item,” she says.

Online retailer Of a Kind, which features emerging designers’ pieces in limited quantities, launched in 2010 with a price cap on items of about $300. The brand’s founders, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo, say the ceiling reflected their own personal spending limits at the time. In recent years, the ceiling has crept up. The brand introduced a $350 leather jacket in early 2012 and, last year, fine jewelry nearing $400.

The Of a Kind founders say they are sensitive to the surprise shoppers might feel when coming to their brand from stores like H&M HM-B.SK +0.54% and Zara, which focus on trends and price. “A lot of our customers are graduating from fast fashion and trying to wrap their heads around how to spend $200 on a dress,” says Ms. Mazur. Ms. Cerulo says part of the website’s marketing job is to ease shoppers into new spending categories. “We have an audience who is growing with us,” she says.

An important influence over apparel spending is the competition for wallet share from technology. “Are you going to buy a new dress or the iPhone 6?” asks Richard Jaffe, apparel retailing research analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. But among the specialty retailers duking it out at the mall, fast fashion remains ahead of the pack, thanks to speed—their ability to identify a trend and quickly produce it—as well as price. “There is still an appetite for bargains out there,” says Paul Lejuez, senior retail analyst at Wells Fargo.

For shoppers who make the move away from fast fashion, there is often an “ah-ha” moment. Of a Kind’s Ms. Mazur says her moment was when she gave herself permission to repeat outfits more often. “I can wear this shirt twice in one week, and no one is going to get hurt,” she says. Ms. Cerulo says she was relieved to step off the relentless trend treadmill that fast fashion creates. “This spring was all about a drop-waist dress. Well, a drop-waist dress looks terrible on me,” she says. “There is nothing that will ever happen to me or to my body that will make this a smart purchase for me.”

(Clockwise from top left); Zady; Of a Kind; Cuyana (2)

Others find a wake-up call in headlines about manufacturing issues abroad. Maxine Bédat, co-founder of the online retailer Zady, likens the movement to the farm-to-table trend in food. “People are looking at labels, they are curious,” she says. “Fast Fashion is Fast Food” is the headline on the preorder page for a new, private label holiday sweater on Zady’s website, which encourages people to join “the Slow Fashion Revolution.”

Shoppers at Everlane, a clothing line that launched in 2011 with the promise of “radical transparency,” can read on its website about the factories the brand works with, as well as about their number of employees, the goods they make and even the local time and weather. Founder Michael Preysman says first-time visitors often click on those pages. “They like that it’s there,” he says.

Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah last year launched Cuyana, a women’s apparel and accessories brand with the mantra “Fewer, Better.” Each season, Cuyana introduces a handful of new pieces that revolve around a timeless, classic aesthetic rather than trends. Best-selling items become part of the permanent offering.

Unlike the daily email blasts many apparel brands send, Cuyana sends its customers a single email each week. And it doesn’t discount. The brand’s marketing message is one of encouragement, says Ms. Shah. “We don’t want to make people feel guilty,” she says. “It’s more about getting rid of all that excess and creating a wardrobe of what you love.”

Ms. Nonoo, the designer, recommends careful shopping, with a ratio in mind. About three quarters of a wardrobe should be basic, versatile pieces, and the remaining quarter “special” items. “It’s the more grown-up approach to dressing,” she says. “Don’t just go and buy everything in one shot.”

There is another benefit to this restrained approach—it is a time saver, Ms. Nonoo says. “Women are so busy, in the morning the last thing you want to be thinking is, ‘Oh my god, what am I going to put on today?’ ” she says. “The more you have, the more distracting it becomes.”

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At Zara, ‘Fast Fashion’ Meets Smarter Inventory

September 18, 2014 Leave a comment


Sept. 16, 2014 12:22 p.m. ET

By the end of this year, more than 1,000 of the 2,000 Zara stores will have radio frequency identification, or RFID, for inventory tracking, with the rollout completed by 2016. A Zara store in Madrid. REUTERS

MADRID—For more than a decade, radio frequency identification chips were touted as a game-changer for retailers. But when they tried to apply the inventory-tracking technology, merchants such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +0.83% and J.C. Penney Co.JCP +1.32% discovered that what looked good on the drawing board didn’t always work so well in warehouses and stores.

Penney, for instance, started attaching RFID chips to merchandise in 2012, but the radio signals interfered with existing anti-theft sensors. Penney removed the anti-theft sensors, but thieves caught on and shoplifting surged. The company scrapped the project.

Now, apparel powerhouse Inditex SA, ITX.MC -0.83% parent of the Zara chain, says it has learned from competitors’ experience and is rolling out RFID technology throughout the operations of its signature brand.

RFID technology ‘gives us great visibility, knowing exactly where each garment is located,’ says Inditex CEO Pablo Isla.AFP/Getty Images

The chips, about twice the size of a standard mobile-phone SIM card, help the world’s largest fashion retailer keep better track of its stock and replenish its clothing racks more quickly, said Pablo Isla, chairman and chief executive of Inditex, which reports first-half results on Wednesday.

“It gives us great visibility, knowing exactly where each garment is located,” Mr. Isla said. “It really changes how we operate our stores.”

RFID chips can store information about whatever item they are attached to and, when prompted, emit that data via radio signals to a scanner. Inditex is burying the chips inside its garments’ plastic security tags, an innovation that allows the “fast fashion” chain to reuse them after the tags are removed at checkout.

By the end of this year, more than 1,000 of the 2,000 Zara stores will have the technology, with the rollout completed by 2016, Mr. Isla said.

The scale and speed of the project is drawing notice in the industry. The Spanish retailer says it bought 500 million RFID chips ahead of the rollout, or one of every six that apparel makers are expected to use globally this year, according to U.K.-based research firm IDtechEX.

Zara, which operates in 88 countries, generates two-thirds of Inditex’s €16.7 billion ($21.6 billion) in annual sales. For the first half ended in July, Inditex is forecast to report sales of €8.08 billion and net income of €908.6 million, according to FactSet. In the year-earlier first half, Inditex reported sales of €7.7 billion on net income of €951 million

Inditex began experimenting with RFID in 2007. Mr. Isla asked his engineers and logistics experts to figure out how to reuse the chips—a solution that would minimize costs and ensure that the tracking devices wouldn’t follow customers out the door, a concern among privacy advocates.

A breakthrough came during a brainstorming session at Inditex headquarters in northwest Spain, Mr. Isla said. An employee suggested putting the chip inside the slightly larger security tags Zara attaches to each item, a combination that experts in the field say no other large company has used.

The security tag’s plastic case would protect the chip, allowing for reuse, and it would be removed at checkout.

One benefit was on display on a recent morning, when store manager Graciela Martín supervised inventory-taking at one of Zara’s biggest outlets in Madrid. The task previously tied up a team of 40 employees for five hours, she said. That morning she and nine other workers sailed through the job in half the time, moving from floor to floor and waving pistol-shaped scanning devices that beeped almost continuously while detecting radio signals from each rack of clothing.

Before the chips were introduced, employees had to scan barcodes one at a time, Ms. Martín said, and these storewide inventories were performed once every six months. Because the chips save time, Zara carries out the inventories every six weeks, getting a more accurate picture of what fashions are selling well and any styles that are languishing.

And each time a garment is sold, data from its chip prompts an instant order to the stockroom to send out an identical item. Previously, store employees restocked shelves a few times a day, guided by written sales reports.

If a customer can’t find an item—say a medium-sized purple shirt—a salesperson can point an iPod’s camera at a barcode of a similar item and, using data gathered by the chips, see whether it is available in the store, in a nearby Zara store, or online.

Some early adopters got only limited payback from investment in RFID. Early last decade, Wal-Mart pushed its suppliers to put chips on cases of items or stacks of cases, rather than on individual items. Wal-Mart scaled down the project after suppliers complained about the high cost of the technology—a problem Inditex doesn’t face because it manufactures its own clothing.

But the technology has slowly been catching on. In the U.S., Macy’s Inc. said this week it would expand use of RFID tags after tests showed they helped improve sales, margins and markdowns.

Other European retailers have recently embraced the tracking technology. France’s Oxylane Groupe, owner of sporting goods chain Decathlon, said it will put hundreds of millions of RFID chips on goods it sells. U.K.-based Marks & Spencer, MKS.LN -0.49%which specializes in clothing, home products and luxury food items, said it plans to track everything it sells.

Bill Hardgrave, dean of Harbert College of Business at Auburn University and a consultant on RFID, said his retailer clients have boosted sales between 2% and 30% after installing tracking devices. Traditional retailers usually know where 60% of their inventory is at any time. With RFID technology, accuracy levels exceed 95%, he said.

“Zara might not be the first, but when they implement a new technology, they do it so well that they catch up very fast,” said David Frink, chief technology officer at German clothier Gerry Weber International AG, one of the first retailers to put RFID chips on all its products.


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Harrods, Fortnum & Mason boost foot traffic with London Design Festival displays

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

img001 Luxury Daily



September 17, 2014

Fortnum & Mason Richard Brendon line

During the London Design Festival, British retailers are taking the opportunity to show off their home furnishings and connection to the design community.

Harrods mapped a tour of its home department for festival goers, while Fortnum & Mason teamed with the Royal College of Art for an in-store exhibit. Having a presence during this festival will help these retailers draw traffic to their stores, and reach a design-minded audience.

“Both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason are well respected prestigious brands with exclusive designs,” said David Naumann, director of marketing, Boston Retail Partners, Folsom, CA.

“The London Design Festival is a perfect fit to reinforce these luxury retailers’ image as a destination for creative designs and a unique shopping experience,” he said.

“The participation in the London Design Festival and the interactive, theatrical in-store design activities should drive more shoppers to both Fortnum & Mason and Harrods during this event. Both of these luxury retailers continue to offer their customers a dynamic shopping experience that keeps them engaged and loyal.”

Mr. Naumann is not affiliated with Harrods or Fortnum & Mason, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Harrods and Fortnum & Mason were unable to comment before press deadline.

In on the action
The London Design Festival, running until Sept. 21, is in its 12th year. Through events, the festival highlights London’s creativity.

For Harrods’ first time participating in the London Design Festival, the retailer is choosing to highlight its exclusive pieces and artful home collections. The store created a map that takes consumers on a tour of its home furnishings department on the third floor.

Harrods LDF map
Harrods Is Design map

The route takes consumers past architect Zaha Hadid’s first home collection, and other exclusives from Savoir Beds and Bethan Gray. There is also Yoo Home’s first retail collection.

Consumers also pass collections from Roche Bobois, Tom Dixon and Bottega Veneta, for which Harrods is the exclusive retailer stockist.

Harrods Is Design promo image
Harrods Is Design promotional image

Along the walking tour are “inspiration areas” for consumers to muse over design.

For #HarrodsIsDesign, artist Marc-Antoine Goulard made over a Ligne Roset Togo sofa, painting it in shades of blue. In the Harrods installation, the paint extends to the wall above the couch, forming a rainy cloud above the sitter.

Harrods Ligne Roset sofa
Harrods Ligne Roset Togo sofa

To bring in its social media audience, Harrods is hosting a Pinterest contest with the Togo sofa as the prize. Consumers have to follow both Ligne Roset and Harrods on Pinterest and Twitter, and pin 10-30 items on a Pinterest board titled “Harrods Is Design,” using it to explain what design means to them.

The entrant can then tweet the board link at Harrods before Sept. 21 with the hashtag #HarrodsLDF.

Fortnum & Mason is similarly working to generate in-store traffic with a display of 13 automata, machines that self-operate to create feasts, a tie-in to Fortnum’s culinary heritage. The automata, located on the first floor of the retailer’s Piccadilly store, were selected from 97 entries created by post-graduate students studying product design at the Royal College of Art in London.

Fortnums Automata LDF
Automata on display at Fortnum & Mason 

The 13 include a “Knickerbocker Glorifier,” which creates the special ice cream sundae from Fortnum’s Parlour Restaurant embellished with rasperries, pineapple and popping candy. There is also “The Selfie Machine,” which can take a photo of a consumer as they are dining in Fortnum’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

Also during the festival, Fortnum & Mason is highlighting design talent carried in-store and online, which first focused on Richard Brendon’s turquoise patterned tea service.

Design ties
Brands across sectors are highlighting their relation to design with installations during the London Design Festival.

For instance, British automaker Jaguar is furthering its efforts for the launch of its XE sports saloon with a large-scale installation at the London Design Museum during the London Design Festival.

For its artwork, Jaguar created a cloud of 95 words in seven different languages, pieced together in aluminum to form the shape of the new XE. This installation helped to draw attention to the design of the XE as it was unveiled Sept. 8 in London (see story).

Also, for the fifth year, the Royal Institute of British Architects Regent Street Window Project will pair architects with retailers along Regent Street in London to design installations for the brands’ storefronts.

Fifteen brands, including Penhaligon’s and Longchamp, are participating, with displays up from Sept. 1-21. The timing of the displays allows the stores to benefit from design-minded foot traffic from London Fashion Week and the London Design Festival (see story).

These efforts make the retail experience expand beyond commerce.

“Harrods’ in-store design trail will attract shoppers looking for a entertaining way to experience and learn about new design trends and unique products at Harrods,” Mr. Naumann said. “These customers appreciate the theater approach to shopping.

“Fortnum & Mason is also taking a theatrical approach by featuring self-operating machines based on food/cooking that are designed by postgraduate students,” he said. “This creative combination of art, science and food will have broad appeal because it is truly unique and fun.”

Final Take
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

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Sarah Jones is editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York. Reach her at
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AM4U Jeans two-faced Fabrics are BORN!

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment




Two Faced AM4U Fabrics are Bleach Proof







Two Faced AM4U Fabrics are Bleach Proof









AM4U Twill Knits are Two-Faced by Design

AM4U™ Two-Faced Jeans Fabrics start with greige, undyed, or white pfp fabric in a choice of weights, with different types of fibers on each side, and with or without Spandex. These fabrics can be dyed, printed, and imprinted with different colors and graphics on the face and back using the licensed Deep Color Infusion™ and the results are completely bleach-proof!

Even buttons, zippers, and Velcro can be dyed to match!

And, unlike cotton denim AM4U™Jeans fabrics won’t shrink, wrinkle, or fade! The only limitation is your imagination!

AM4U two-faced fabrics and jeans can be MADE IN THE USA at very high profits!


AM4U sites:



AM4U Twill Knits are Two-Faced by Design

AM4U™ Two-Faced Jeans Fabrics start with greige, undyed, or white pfp fabric in a choice of weights, with different types of fibers on each side, and with or without Spandex. These fabrics can be dyed, printed, and imprinted with different colors and graphics on the face and back using the licensed Deep Color Infusion™ and the results are completely bleach-proof!

Even buttons, zippers, and Velcro can be dyed to match!

And, unlike cotton denim AM4U™Jeans fabrics won’t shrink, wrinkle, or fade! The only limitation is your imagination!

AM4U two-faced fabrics and jeans can be MADE IN THE USA at very high profits!


AM4U sites:

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As Aspiring Jihadists Heed Call of ISIS, Home Nations Try to Stymie Them

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment

NY Times




Stopping Home-Bound ISIS Fighters

A look at how governments around the world deal with their citizens who become jihadists.

Video CreditBy Christian Roman on Publish DateSeptember 12, 2014. Image CreditReuters


UNITED NATIONS — France wants more power to block its citizens from leaving the country, while Britain is weighing whether to stop more of its citizens from coming home. Tunisia is debating measures to make it a criminal offense to help jihadist fighters travel to Syria and Iraq, while Russia has outlawed enlisting in armed groups that are “contradictory to Russian policy.”

The rapid surge of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and its ability to draw fighters from across the globe, has set off alarm bells in capitals worldwide. Countries that rarely see eye to eye are now trying to blunt its recruitment drive, passing a raft of new rules that they hope will stop their citizens from joining extremist groups abroad.

The United States has seized on the issue, pushing for a legally binding United Nations Security Council resolution that would compel all countries in the world to take steps to “prevent and suppress” the flow of their citizens into the arms of groups considered to be terrorist organizations.

Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq

According to Peter Neumann, a professor at King’s College London, at least 12,000 foreign militants are fighting in Syria and Iraq — many of them with ISIS. Where the fighters originate from:



Recruits from 74 countries are among the estimated 12,000 foreign militants in Syria and Iraq, many of them fighting with ISIS, according to Peter Neumann, a professor at King’s College London, who has culled the figures largely from government sources. The largest blocs of these fighters come from nearby Muslim countries, like Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, but smaller contingents come from countries as far away and disparate as Belgium, China, Russia and the United States.

The Security Council made it illegal to aid terrorist organizations after the Sept. 11 attacks, and recent studies suggest that only a small share of foreign fighters have committed acts of terrorism once they return home. But the prospect of radicalized youths’ becoming hardened on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq has sent a new ripple of anxiety through nations of all stripes, reviving a longstanding tension, especially in democratic countries, over how to balance civil liberties and security in an age of transnational terrorism.

“You now have reopened those very debates,” said Kathleen Hicks, a former Pentagon official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The efforts to stop fighters from rallying to the side of ISIS puts the greatest scrutiny on countries like Turkey, whose long porous border has allowed thousands of militants to cross into the Syrian battlefield and into Iraq. Turkey has openly supported some of the rebels who have sought to unseat Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, but lately it has faced the direct ire of ISIS. Nearly 50 of its citizens have been held hostage by the group in the Iraqi city of Mosul since June, including the Turkish consul general.

Turkey insists that it is now trying to stanch the flow of ISIS gunmen across its 500-mile frontier with Syria, saying it has closed most of its official border crossing points, though Turkish officials concede that militants would not use them anyway. In 2013, Turkey denied entry to 4,000 people who had been on a no-entry list and detained more than 92,000 people on its border.

The focus on foreign fighters also shines the spotlight on Qatar, which has had strong ties to several militant groups seeking to topple Mr. Assad in Syria, and on Saudi Arabia, home to powerful religious leaders who have long sanctioned jihad. The Saudi king earlier this year issued a rare decree making it a criminal offense to join a foreign war. It signaled his concerns about the threat that extremist groups could pose to his hold on power, but the degree to which he can rein in radical preachers in his kingdom remains to be seen.

The debate over stemming the flow of foreign fighters has opened up new legal territory and raised the question of when and how countries should prosecute their citizens for fighting in another country’s war. Beyond that, standards of proof can be high in many European countries, diplomats said, and proving participation in a known terrorist group has been a challenge.

What is more, governments around the world are under pressure to balance their desire to target individuals who pose a genuine risk at home without engaging in broad crackdowns that could backfire and alienate a wider portion of their populations, particularly Muslim youths.

“It requires very, very rigorous intelligence assessment,” said David H. Ucko, an associate professor at the National Defense University in Washington. “If you let in the wrong person and you have an attack, the political blowback is going to be unbelievable.”

Take for instance, the case of Mehdi Nemmouche, a French citizen suspected of killing four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels this year. A French journalist held hostage for months by extremists in Syria has said that Mr. Nemmouche was one of his captors, the newspaper Le Point reported.

The call for a new global legal apparatus echoes a raft of counterterrorism provisions passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The United Nations Security Council already prohibits aiding organizations that are on its own list of banned groups, including Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, though not other groups like Hezbollah, which the United States considers to be a terrorist group.

There are also long no-fly lists in circulation already. Passports can be confiscated. Children can be taken into state custody. And many countries, including some in Europe, have already prosecuted terrorism suspects under existing laws.

Britain, for example, is prosecuting at least 50 of its citizens who have returned from Syria, and the law already allows the authorities to revoke the citizenship of a dual citizen found guilty of joining a terrorist group. The government is now exploring ways to keep Britons from returning home temporarily if they are suspected of having been involved in terrorism abroad, even if they are solely British citizens.

Germany, which can already revoke passports in certain cases, is considering a provision enabling it to revoke the national identity cards that all Germans are issued, which allow them to travel to many countries, including Turkey. On Friday, its government said it was banning all activities that support ISIS, including displays of its black flag.

The Netherlands recently proposed amending its nationality laws to be able to revoke Dutch citizenship if a person has volunteered with a terrorist organization. This would apply only to dual citizens, according to the Dutch Foreign Ministry. Already, various administrative measures are available to the Dutch authorities, and the police recently detained two couples from the small town of Huizen and took their children into state custody. The authorities said they were suspected of going to Syria to join a terrorist group.

In Tunisia, where Parliament is debating a new antiterrorism law, the government estimates that 2,400 Tunisians went to fight in Syria, mainly with ISIS and the Nusra Front. A Tunisian diplomat at the United Nations said his country had prevented an additional 8,000 from traveling to Syria.

The American-sponsored resolution will be voted on at a Security Council meeting led by President Obama on Sept 24. The day before, Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to lead a meeting of counterterrorism officials from around the world to discuss how to deal with foreign fighters more effectively. Counterterrorism officials recommend that countries share data to detect the recruitment of foreign fighters, monitor online communications more aggressively, share airline passenger information in advance, and pass laws that criminalize travel abroad to fight.

Ms. Hicks, the former Pentagon official, described the American push as a low-cost diplomatic effort to rally support for the fight against ISIS without having to do anything extra, like committing troops. She called it “an easy way for countries to sign up and say they’re part of this strategy.”

It is virtually impossible to enforce, experts say, and does not authorize military action by any country. In the end, it leaves it to every country to weigh its need to stop the fighters against other political and strategic priorities, Mr. Ucko of the National Defense University said.

“It starts a conversation,” he said. “It comes down to what a state wants to do internally.”

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Cal Poly Pomona Receives $5.3-Million Bequest from Alumnus

September 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Cal Poly Pomona


by   SEPTEMBER 5, 2014

Alumnus and corporate executive Larry Taff has given a $5.3-million bequest to the College of Business Administration.
Alumnus and corporate executive Larry Taff has given a $5.3-million bequest to the College of Business Administration.

Larry Taff (’80, accounting) has spent his 34-year career climbing the corporate ladder to become a C-suite executive with Arthur Andersen and The Shidler Group.

Yet for Taff, being successful also means improving other people’s lives.

In college, that meant helping his friend and roommate Mitchell Hill (’80, economics) become focused on his studies and land a job with Arthur Andersen. Later in life, it meant serving as a mentor for more than a decade with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and paying full tuition for select Cal Poly Pomona business majors through his scholarship fund.

Now, a $5.3-million bequest from Taff and his wife, Kheng See Ang, will ensure that his penchant for bettering people’s lives continues at Cal Poly Pomona.

“My father grew up as the son of a sharecropper in Oklahoma in the 1920s and 1930s,” says Taff, whose bequest is the largest single donation to the College of Business Administration.  “It was through the kindness and generosity of others that he and his brothers were able to get off the farm, go to college, and make a better life for themselves and their families.

“My wife was able to come to the United States from Malaysia for college thanks to the Fulbright scholarship program. When I was at Cal Poly Pomona, I never dreamed that I would be in a position to help others the way my father and wife were helped. Being able to do this is a dream come true for Kheng See and I,” says Taff.

Deciding to direct his generosity to his alma mater was an easy decision.

“I was a clean sheet of paper when I arrived at Cal Poly Pomona,” he says. “My parents were well-educated and taught me how to be a good student, but they didn’t know much about accounting or life in the business world.

“The school’s learn-by-doing approach really helped me learn about business and gaining relevant skills. By the time I started at Arthur Andersen I hit the ground running and people wanted me on their engagement teams because I was one of the few young hires who actually knew how to do stuff – it wasn’t all theory.”

Some of the bequest money will be directed toward the Mitchell C. Hill Memorial Endowment, named after his friend. Hill died late last year and Taff worked tirelessly with the college, Hill’s family and founding donor, Avanade, to honor Hill’s legacy.

The endowment will focus on applied business technology, an area Hill specialized in as a major player in Seattle’s tech scene.

Taff and his wife have been helping Cal Poly Pomona long before the bequest. In fact, they have awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships that support CBA military veterans and athletes for several years. However, a Taff scholarship offers more than money. He also encourages scholarship recipients to talk to him for advice on career or academic issues.

“Being able to have a personal relationship with the scholarship recipients really makes it come alive for me,” he says.

Tiffany Dinh (’13, management and human resources) frequently reached out to Taff and the two have formed an enduring friendship. In fact, Dinh does not consider a career move without consulting him first.

“Larry has been with me every step of the way,” says Dinh. “He continues to invest his efforts in helping me build momentum to achieve my own career success. Both of us came into this donor/recipient situation without any expectations, but I am truly blessed to have Larry continually inspire and advise me through life-changing events.”

For Taff, that’s what giving is all about.

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