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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oh No - The New 'Vera' for Target Scarves

I have long been an admirer and collector of Vera Neumann's vintage linens and textiles so when I started to get a feed on my Facebook page about the Vera Company launching a new line of 17 scarves of Vera designs for Target I got a bit excited.The collection launched on Sunday, so yesterday I headed out to Target to take a peek for myself. This is what I saw.

Holy crap, and I do mean crap. The only saving grace on these are the designs themselves. The fabrics were either a selection of polyester or very inexpensive modal & cotton blend, almost like cheesecloth.  And guess where they are produced? Yup China.

Susan Seid is the current owner and president of the Vera company. Seid bought the licensing rights to Vera's work in 2005. This is a portion of an article from Atlanta Magazine, August 2012. it gives a little insight to Susan.

Company Description: The Vera Company, LLC owns the extensive library of prints, original artwork, scarves, and the trademarks and copyrights of the late, iconic American artist, Vera Neumann. Vera was a pioneer in design who successfully cross-licensed her designs into linens, scarves and sportswear. She began her business in 1946 and by the 1970s, she had built a $100 million business. Her products were sold in 20,000 stores around the world. All Vera products started as original pieces of art from her own hand and sported the distinctive Vera signature (often with a ladybug) trademark. Today, The Vera Company is creating licensed products to bring fine art back into homes. After all, it was Vera who said that fine art should not be relegated to the walls. 

And more info from 2007, from website Sign on San Diego:
"The scarves, which retail for about $78, and other items are now available in more than 120 stores, including some Bloomingdale's branches. All bear a tag that reads “Vera” in a dark script with a ladybug, also one of her signatures. Sales are projected to hit up to $4 million this year, though Seid said that could double next year with the introduction of new products and more distribution."

So my take away from this is that:

Vera Neumann was the pioneer artist, productive, creative and well respected. She launched over 20,000 pieces in her career. Sadly she passed in 1993. Her original pieces are true works of art. 

Looks as though Seid after purchasing her licenses, went onto produce Vera's designs, initially with an appropriate price tag and quality construction? I'm not sure about that as I really haven't seen any of those labeled scarves. But it must be a far cry from the 'made in china' low end quality pieces I saw yesterday at Target. Sure they were only marked $19.99 but I wouldn't purchase any of those to wear. And it looks like Seid has further marketed Vera's work to other companies for linens and wall art. I would almost hate to even consider looking at any of those now, it just makes me sad.

If you are truly interested in Vera, I would invest in some of her own designs she produced in the early years. Buy vintage Vera where you can see and feel the quality of material, the construction, the designs, and made in either the US or Japan. Here's just a few images so you can see the difference in quality.

I've been collecting vintage Vera scarves for over 10 years, and sell them regularly of our ETSY site Retrowear. Look for vintage Vera, the true original. And I can say in all the years I've been collecting I have yet to come across a duplicate of her work.

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