Happy Monday and welcome back to a new edition of The Spin. Today we're reflecting on the ongoing dispute between Birkenstock and Amazon, the Olympic outfits that Russian athletes will wear and the wardrobe of the British Royals, as seen on TV. There is also a lot to say about new trends in retail. Miss Sixty is going to London's Regent Street and American J.C. Penney is trying its hand at the subscription craze. Enjoy the read. Cheers, Caroline.


Birkenstock's breakdown in trust. German Birkenstock GmbH&Co KG announced (in German) to discontinue Amazon deliveries in Europe due to a "breakdown in trust". The German shoe manufacturer, known for its popular sandals, said it will "completely discountinue direct deliveries provided by the US online retailer’s Luxembourg-based European subsidiary". According to Birkenstock consumers are being misled by counterfeit products (press release) offered for sale on Amazon Marketplace. Earlier this year the footwear company already ended its partnership with Amazon USA due to similar reasons.



Stepping back. Diane Von Furstenberg is stepping back. The president of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) plans to sell an equity stake in her company. She (paywall) is hiring Michel Dyens & co, a boutique bank with offices in New York and Paris, to find the right investor. Michel Dyens & co already worked on the selling of her cosmetics company 35 years ago. This time, DVF wants to attract an investor that will bring in management, skilled in navigating the digital world.

Coming back. The Italian Miss Sixty, now part of Chinese Trendy International Group is ready to relaunch the brand in Europe. Miss Sixty just unveiled a 730 sqm flagship in Milan's Corso Vittorio Emanuele and (paywall) will open another store on London's Regent Street by the end of 2019. Berlin and Paris will be next. The company, which positioned itself at a more premium end of the market, is also developing in Asia. In fact (paywall) Trendy International aims to have 300 stores in China by 2020.

Subscription Fix. Department store J.C. Penney is entering the promising subscription box business for big and tall men. The chain is partnering with expert in subscription Bombfell. Interested men are invited to take a quiz after which Bombfell personal stylists will send them 5 items from J.C. Penney each month, or every 2-3 months. The subscription business was made popular by online player Stitch Fix, but a growing number of traditional retailers are jumping in: Old Navy and Ann Taylor are also sending boxes.


Free wish. The first round of Brexit negotiations agreed upon by British and European representatives should be confirmed at a European Council mid-December. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is asking that the second round focuses on maintaining tariff-free trade between the UK and its previous partners. Worried retailers are already working with suppliers to identify potential delays, shortage or price rises.

Olympic fashion dilemma. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia from the 2018 winter games in South Korea, but allowed champions to compete as individual Olympic athletes from Russia rather than as a team. What will they wear? Patriotic uniforms are out of question. In the past, independent athletes that were not affiliated with a national team have worn neutral outfits.The IOC has not yet determined what proud Russians will display on the Olympic stage.


New Chinese luxury... Millennials and Generation-Z consumers in China are becoming the dominant drivers in the luxury market. According to the last report of Secoo, the high end ecommerce platform and the data company Tencent, half of the country's disposable income will be in young hands by 2025. These sophisticated customers, frequent users of social media look for trendy niche brands. That's why Secoo is partnering with Mr and Mrs Italy (parkas) as well as with Corto Moltedo (handmade bags).

...and new mobile payments. To keep Chinese tourists happy, Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's WeChat Pay have signed multiple agreements abroad so that their customers can still pay with their mobile phone when away from the mainland. Alipay for example partnered with 4 major Euro banks, BNP Paribas in France, Six Group in Switzerland, Barclays in England and Unicredit in Italy. In the United States, Alipay has aligned itself with North American Bancard Holdings.


Royal treat. The second season of The Crown, a/k/a Queen Elizabeth II's biopic, is now on Netflix and viewers can indulge in some delicious fashion displays. Jane Petrie, the costume designer selected for the queen softer cardigan and skirt sets to show how an out of touch monarchy becomes seen as more accessible to commoners. There are also a few cameo appearances by The Duchess of Windsor, Jackie Kennedy and Princess Margaret. The younger sister introduces a bohemian sensibility to the empire.


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