Today we check out Amazon's plans for a social media style messaging app, the massive changes in New York's retail landscape and the new-found love of hard-core rappers for smooth, relaxing yoga wear. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Call me Anytime. Amazon seems to be working on a messaging app that functions like social media. In addition to seamless texting and video chatting across different devices and systems, Amazon Anytime offers added extras like the ability to make video calls with masks and filters, photo sharing as well as gaming, shopping and listening to music in group chats, including the option to split bills.



Vacancies rise... As stores continue to close in New York City's high profile shopping districts, rents have been shrinking between 1% on Broadway in Soho and 27% on nearby Bleecker Street. In the first quarter, vacancies rose (paywall) 25% over last year’s three-month period. About 1,590 leases were signed in New York in 2016, compared to 689 in the first six months of 2017.

...as tourism drops. New York City’s promotion agency NYC & Company expects 300,000 fewer international visitors to New York this year, adding to the strain on the metropolis’ retail sector. In addition to the high dollar, President Trump’s immigration policy has dampened tourism.


Goodbye Russia. Belgian fashion retailer C&A has left (in German) the Russian market. The franchise stores of local partner Russia Trade Group RTG have already been shut down. RTG was C&A Europe’s exclusive partner in Russia since 2004. To optimize its omni-channel activities, C&A plans to centralize (in German) IT and logistics in Eastern Europe within two years.

Hello Ethiopia. Low labor costs and a new long-distance railway line to a port in Djibouti lure international clothing manufacturers to the landlocked African nation of Ethiopia. While firms from China, South Korea and India have already opened their own plants, an increasing number (paywall) of European and U.S. brands like PVH are sourcing apparel there.


Emerging talent. The finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund habe been announced. During the next three months they have to win over a judging panel of industry heavyweights. The winner receives a $400,000 grant and a mentorship. Winner and runners-up will be announced in November.

Rapid rebound. Italian apparel insulation specialist Thermore has launched (in German) Freedom, a four-way stretchable thermo insulation available in four different performance levels. According to the Milan-based company, the product has patented anti-fiber migration control and consistently recovers to its original shape. All of its products have recently been issued the PETA-Approved Vegan logo by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


Downward Dog. Rappers’ love for activewear has turned from cool sneakers and colorful team shirts to comfortable yoga wear. Atlanta-based Big Boi, who’s been seen in pink mink basketball shorts before, recently got into Lululemon and likes to pair the Canadian brand’s yoga pants with retro Nike Air Jordans.

Money for Lululemon. Big Boi follows the footsteps of British rapper P Money who became a brand ambassador for Lululemon in May. In a promotional video he speaks about using yogic breathing exercises to beat nerves and improve his vocal delivery.


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