Happy Monday and welcome to the fresh start of a new week. As the fashion market is evolving at a head-spinning pace, we are working tirelessly to keep you informed about the latest global developments in this ever-changing industry. Today, Ulrike Howe highlights new retail developments in Europe, China's sophisticated short video scene and various states of uncoveredness in the Trump family. Enjoy the read!


Luxury brands find new leadership at consumer goods companies. Last week, embattled Ralph Lauren Corporation replaced his former President and CEO Stefan Larsson with Patrice Louvet, most recently President of Procter & Gamble’s global beauty division. Investors were not particularly thrilled and sent the stock down a few percentage points, but Louvet is not the only consumer goods executive to be recruited by a fashion brand. P&G alone claims to have launched the careers of more than 300 international CEOs including Levi Strauss & Co's Chip Bergh, eBay’s Meg Whitman and Baccarat’s Daniela Riccardi.



Amidst changing consumer behavior and the rise of eCommerce retailers around the world are reshaping their concepts. In June, French luxury company LVMH is going to launch (paywall) a multi-label online store named 24 Sèvres . Meanwhile German mail-order giant Otto Group plans to convert (in German) its online shop into a retail platform for third party brands and independent brick-and-mortar retailers, thus expanding its assortment from about 2 million items to 5 to 10 million items.


Brick-and-mortar retailers are in on the game too. Paris-based concept store Colette is opening (paywall) its first floor to month-long brand takeovers, starting with Balenciaga on June 19th and followed by designers like Sacai, Thom Browne and Chanel. Over in Germany, department store chain C&A plans to outsource (in German) the operation of its shoe departments in 292 European branches to shoe specialist Hamm Reno Group, while department store operator Karstadt is working (in German) on a new off-price concept.

But in small-town America old-fashioned malls are still beating Amazon. Big data now allows online retailers to adapt their pricing to a myriad of factors - from the time of day, customers’ individual shopping habits and even the temperature outside, thus increasing the likelihood of a sale. Nonetheless, in small-town America, traditional shopping malls are still beating Amazon. In addition to their function as social gathering places, old fashioned factors like civic pride and tradition also play an important part in their renewed appeal.


Asia keeps an eye on NAFTA. Donald Trump’s planned revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is drawing strong interest of Asian governments. Since the US pulled out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade officials in Asian markets like Vietnam and Malaysia are now anxious to see whether America is open to having a liberal trading environment. Japan, Australia and New Zealand are currently leading efforts to resuscitate the agreement by the so-called TPP 11. Meanwhile, due to the weak peso Mexican apparel exports to the US have increased 10% (paywall) during the first five months of Trump's presidency.

Fewer factory inspections in Bangladesh. Due to a lack of funds, Bangladesh's Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) cannot start the inspection of nearly 1,000 small-sized garment factories. These small facilities are not included in the roster of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety which are in the process to remediate more than 4,000 garment factories. Both of these Western retailers' initiatives are running out in mid-2018 and might not be extended as their listed factories are nearing completion.


Live streaming takes off in China. Contrary to the US and Europe where Snapchat and Instagram dominate social media marketing, China presents a much more diverse and sophisticated short video industry. Thanks to the popularity of smartphones and upgraded communications networks, the number of Chinese consumers who regularly watch short videos is projected to climb from 153 million in 2016 to 242 million this year. The majority of short video viewers in China are female and content for women gets most of the attention. Among the ten Chinese streaming apps international fashion brands should know in 2017 are Meipai, Yizhibo and Tencent TV.


Nine fashion professionals are among Forbes Magazine's 2017 list of America’s 60 Richest Self-Made Women who have a combined net worth of $61.5 billion. With $2.7 billion Gap Inc’s Doris Fisher tops the industry’s participants at No. 5, followed by fellow billionaires Forever21 co-founder Jin Sook Chang, Spanx founder Sara Blakely and Carolyn Rafaelian of jewelry brand Alex and Ani. Fashion professionals in the $260 million to $1 billion bracket include Vera Wang, Tory Burch, Kendra Scott, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg and Patricia Miller.


Trump - uncovered. While Melania and Ivanka Trump are making headlines for not wearing headscarves in Saudi Arabia, a 28-year-old vintage store in Tokyo gets unexpected attention (paywall) for another kind of Trump uncoveredness. “Nude Trump” was named long ago for the trump card in a card game decorated with images of nude pin-up girls. According to owner Hayao Matsumura the store has nothing to do with the current US President. Aside from sporadic visits by perplexed tourists who like to voice their political opinions, business at the local hot spot has been as usual during Trump's first months in office.


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