Happy New Year, and welcome back to The Spin! 2018 is off to an explosive start with several lawsuits in the fashion and tech communities. While China's elegant delivery men and Vietnam's sustainability efforts offer welcome inspiration, there is still much left to do in the fight against modern slavery. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Spelling Bee-rkenstock. In its dispute with Amazon, Birkenstock just obtained (in German) a court order preventing Amazon to typo-target ads for its products. Birkenstock has been suing the US online giant over its alleged failure to prevent the sale of fake Birkenstock products on its marketplace. According to the German sandal brand, Amazon uses Google ads to lead users who misspell Birkenstock to Amazon offers including counterfeits, tricking them into believing that they are led to authentic Birkenstocks.



New sensations. The Paul Surridge-designed Cavalli capsule, Marni's collaboration with Stutterheim, and Dodo Bar Or are just some of the fashion lines on track to become popular in 2018. Sleek Wandler handbags, nature-inspired gold jewelry from Pascale x James, and casual resort wear by On The Island offer great ideas to top off an eclectic wardrobe. Among the major trends to watch are balloon sleeves, plastic jackets, and the color Purple.

Cooked wool. Since a planned sale of US apparel maker Ibex fell through, the company's intellectual property is now being auctioned off. Bid are due by Thursday. Ibex is specialized in performance wool apparel. Potential bidders are said to include US apparel giant VF Corporation, which recently bought Merino wool brand Icebreaker, and Liz Robert, owner and CEO of Terry Bicycles.


White gloves. Sporting black suits and white gloves, deliverymen for Chinese luxury online retailers sure look the part. Reflecting the increasing competitive pressure in China's rapidly growing (in Chinese) high-end online market, players like JD.com's Toplife and Alibaba Group's Luxury Pavillion have been beefing up their game by extending the experience of shopping in a luxury store all the way to their customers' front doors.

Dirty hands. Australia is set to draft anti-slavery legislation similar to Britain's, but it seems that major retailers are not sufficiently prepared to disclose where their products are made and how they intend to ensure that slave labor is not being used. Currently over 40 million people are estimated to be victims of modern slavery, including force labor and human trafficking.

Clean conscience. In its quest to become a leader in sustainable fashion manufacturing, Vietnam is cracking down on polluters. Foreign investors have already responded and are adapting new factories to higher standards. Vietnam is the world's fifth largest textiles and apparel exporter, with apparel exports alone hitting about $30.5 billion in 2017.


Name game. After a two year court battle, US tech giant Apple lost (in Italian) a lawsuit against the Italian company Steve Jobs Inc, which sports a capital letter J with a bite-mark as its logo. The company was founded by apparel and design specialists Giacomo and Vincenzo Barbato, who registered the name Steve Jobs in 2012. Possibly recognizing that Jobs had a very limited wardrobe, the brothers are planning to expand their product offer to electronics.


Punk icon. A new documentary celebrates the eventful life of British punk queen, Dame Vivienne Westwood. Titled "Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist," the feature-length film by Lorna Tucker goes way beyond Westwood’s contributions to the fashion world. Including personal moments like her intimate relationship with artist and music promoter Malcolm McLaren, her personal struggle to success, and her ongoing activism, the movie paints a broad picture of one of the most subversive fashion voices of our time. It will be released in the UK and Ireland on March 23.


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