Happy Wednesday and welcome back to The Spin! Today we give you a glimpse at the first two days of Paris Couture Fashion Week. We also unveil why a leading Indian retailer traveled all the way to China to learn from Alibaba. And then there is the rap mogul, who's planning a mega fashion and retail empire. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Fantasy worlds. Paris Couture Fashion Week started with a bang. Schiaparelli designer Bertrand Guyon kicked off the event with a homage to the late Elsa Schiaparelli's 1938 pagan collection. Christian Dior followed with Maria Grazia Chiuri's ode to surrealism, while Karl Lagerfeld unveiled his fairytale collection for Chanel in a secret garden. A total of 27 collections will be shown during the event, concluding Thursday with Noureddine Amir.


From rap to retail. Rapper Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter plans to launch an array of fashion and cosmetics products as well as matching retail and eCommerce services. The music mogul and husband of Beyoncé has filed trademark registrations for the names "AKA Shawn Carter" covering apparel, cosmetics, fragrances, eyewear and retail venues as well as "Hovino" for accessories, jewelry and watches.



Open sesame. India's Future Group is adopting several strategies from China's Alibaba Group, which registered record sales during its recent Singles Day. Future's founder Kishore Biyani actually visited China to study the event. Some tools scheduled for Future's Republic Day week include pop-ups, celebrity endorsement and a 24-hour live Facebook gaming show. For the five-day event starting January 26, Biyani plans a turnover of $156.7 million.


Lighten the load. To restructure its $2.1 billion long-term debt load, most of which is coming due next year, US accessories chain Claire's Stores has brought on the investment bank Lazard Ltd. The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based retailer is owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management and currently operates 4,220 stores, franchise stores and concessions in 45 countries.


Fit for an Igloo. Thermore, the Italian specialist in thermal insulation for apparel and sleeping bags, is returning to the sports trade shows Outdoor Retailer in Denver from January 25-28 and Ispo in Munich (January 28-31). In its new, expanded Igloo-style booth, the company will present its innovative, elastic thermal insulation, Freedom. With 40% elasticity, Freedom allows for better movement, comfort and fit.


Circle of trust. Although US markets are at an all time high, the 2018 Edelman Trust index points to a record-breaking drop in trust among the general population. This collapse is driven by a massive lack of faith in the US government, which fell 14 points to 33 percent. Institutions like business and media also experienced strong declines. Countries at the top of the index include (press release) China, India, Indonesia, UAE and Singapore.

Monkey wrench. China's economy grew 6.9 percent during the fourth quarter, supported by a rebound in the industrial sector, a strong real-estate market and export growth. This figure beats the country's official annual expansion target of about 6.5 percent and marks the first time in seven years that the pace of growth has picked up. US President Donald Trump's newly implemented tariffs might burst Beijing's bubble, though…


Activist incubator. Rebecca Lee Funk started her online shop The Outrage in fall 2016 offering feminist slogan shirts. Just a month later Hillary Clinton, who was Funk's inspiration, lost the election. When Trump took over, Funk transformed her store to a source for outraged women, adding official apparel of the Women's March organization as well as community space for gatherings. For every purchase, a donation is made. Following its massive success, Funk opened a second store in October 2017.


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