Survey: Half of Dry Cleaners Don’t Fear Newest Fall Fashions

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — The new fall fashions sometimes signals styles that present processing challenges for dry cleaners. American Drycleaner has identified four new styles that could be troublesome, but half of respondents to this month’s Wire survey say none of them will challenge a skilled cleaner.

Those polled were asked which of the following will present the biggest challenge:

  • Patterned (head-to-toe graphic prints)
  • Fur (real and faux fur)
  • Baroque (lace and sheers; gold brocade and embroidery; accents such as metal sequins and glass prisms)
  • Oversized (asymmetrical capes, “statement” coats, “drop-crotch” pants)

After the 50% who don’t fear one fashion style in the bunch, 27.8% believe baroque fashions present the biggest challenge. Approximately 11% pointed to fur, and another 11.1% said they didn’t know. No one who took the unscientific survey believed that patterned or oversized fashions would present the biggest challenge.

Roughly 56% of respondents say that once the new fall fashions hit the runways, they’ll be asked to dry clean garments featuring these styles “within a matter of months.” Approximately 22% say they’ll start receiving new-style garments “within a matter of weeks,” and 5.6% say it will be “within a matter of days.” The remaining 16.7% “don’t know” when the new styles will start showing up in their plants.

Half of the dry cleaners surveyed say they offer a premium cleaning service for designer garments or similar luxury items. Respondents charge, on average, 25% more for the premium service than their standard service.

Among respondents, 38.9% market their business as a couture cleaner or upscale cleaner.

While the Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.

Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each month. All dry cleaners are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.


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