Happy Tuesday and welcome to a new edition of The Spin. Today, Ulrike Howe highlights the increasing speed of fast fashion, Prime Air's pilot problems and MIT's live cell technology for breathable fabrics.


Speedy online players accelerate fast fashion. Young online retailers like Boohoo , ASOS and Missguided are attacking fast fashion companies like Zara and H&M where it hurts: They are quicker. These pure players are reducing the design to retail cycle to 1-4 weeks, which beats even Zara's remarkable 5 weeks cycle. Their designers spot quickly emerging trends on social media, produce small test batches and swiftly launch larger production for successful items.


Amazon Prime Air might run out of pilots. About 50 Amazon Prime Air pilots are planning to protest outside Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting today at Freemont Studios in Seattle to draw attention to alleged short staffing and contract violations at transporting contractors Atlas Air Worldwide (AAW) and Air Transport Services Group (ATSG). According to a report AAW lost 92 pilots in the first four months of the year, double the number it lost in 2016. In addition about 35% of current US pilots are likely to retire over the next 10 years outstripping supply by up to 15%.



American retailers aggressively expand abroad. On average, American retailers operate in 22.3 foreign countries - more than their Asian and European peers. Last year they have widened the gap with an aggressive expansion (paywall) pace of 3.1%, compared to an expansion rate of 1.7% for retailers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 1.4% for retailers from Asia. On the other hand, the number of foreign retailers entering North America expanded last year, albeit from a small base. About 13% of foreign retailers targeted North America in 2016 compared to 3% in 2014.

British Retail Consortium favors Conserative Party's new trade bill. Leading up to Britain’s general elections on June 8th, The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has examined the manifestos from the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats and The Labour Party on their relevance to the retail sector. British retailers ask for a smooth Brexit that retains some level of labor mobility and ability to trade as well as the empowerment of small creative businesses. Additional issues are workers’ rights, taxation and flexible employment. The BRC seems to favor the Conservative Party’s commitment to a new Trade Bill, calls the Labour’s manifesto a "mixed bag for the retail industry" and welcomes the bold thinking of the Liberal Democrats with regards to innovation.


PVH builds on relationship with G-III Apparel. Under a new licensing agreement with New York-based apparel manufacturer G-III Apparel, fashion giant PVH Corporation will design, produce and distribute menswear for the DKNY label in the US and Canada. G-III acquired Donna Karan International Inc in 2016 from LVMH, lost the DKNY design team and has since been revamping the DKNY brand. The new menswear line is scheduled to hit department stores for Spring 2018. This is the fourth agreement between the two companies and follows an announcement by PVH to transform its current non-exclusive buying agreement with Hong Kong based sourcing agency Li & Fung Limited into a strategic partnership to create a speedy, responsive "Supply Chain of the Future".

Vince faces de-listing from the NYSE. Contemporary fashion company Vince Holding Corporation, whose stock has dropped to about $0.40 on May 2nd, has received a de-listing warning from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The NYSE requires a company’s 30-trading day average closing stock price to be above $1.00 and its 30-trading day average market capitalization as well as its stockholders’ equity to be at least $50 million. To avoid de-listing, the company must bring its share price and consecutive 30 trading-day average share price above $1.00 by November 17, 2017.


Live microbial cells operate breathable fabrics. A team of MIT researchers has engineered a biohybrid film that can change shape and bioflourescent intensity in response to "environmental humidity gradients" - including human sweat. The technology is based on live microbial cells which respond to an athlete’s shifts in temperature and humidity by shrinking or expanding to open or close ventilating bio-flaps on the fabric. It is currently being applied to prototypes of running suits and sport shoes.'s drones do the heavy lifting. To transport heavy items to remote areas, Chinese online retailer is planning to build a drone logistics network in the northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi. The company's heavy duty drones are expected to carry weights of a ton or more. has already executed more than a thousand drone deliveries in China.


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