Welcome back to The Spin! Today we investigate the start-up problems of Hudson's Bay in the Netherlands. We also look at the evolution of subscription boxes, logo fashion and online trunk shows. And then there is the case of drones taking the place of runway models. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


The corrections. Canadian retail group Hudson’s Bay Company, which also owns Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Galeria Kaufhof, is facing start-up problems in the Netherlands and will curb the planned expansion of its Hudson's Bay concept from 20 to 15 stores. The Brampton-based company will also lower price points by adding about two dozen more affordable fashion brands. Saks Off 5th is also being said (paywall; in German) to have start-up difficulties in Germany and the Netherlands.


Big boxes. As traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Target and brands like Under Armour have been jumping on the “subscription box” bandwagon, the original inventors of the concept are expanding their range of products and services. Stitch Fix, for example, has just started offering a broad selection of intimate apparel, while Rent the Runway added an exclusive concierge for brides-to-be.


For restless shoppers. Online trunk shows engage luxury consumers and mimic an impulse buying experience similar to what is usually experienced in brick-and-mortar stores. Especially in China, where official online channels currently generate only seven percent of luxury sales, these pre-order events might create tangible engagement with consumers whose valuable attention span is now shorter (video) than that of a goldfish.


Staying on course. Pacific Global Management has sold La Perla to Dutch investment firm Sapinda Holding. Pacific Global bought the Italian lingerie brand in 2013 and added men’s underwear and women's sunglasses. The expansion is expected to continue under Sapinda’s CEO, Lars Windhorst. Exclusive takeover talks with the Chinese investment company Fosun allegedly collapsed due to disagreements over moving production away from Europe.

Logo lifestyle. The cultural meaning of logos is a central theme of the “ITALIANA: L’Italia Vista Dalla Moda 1971-2001” exhibition, running (in Italian) at Milan’s Palazzo Reale until May 6. The project examines the influence of logo culture on Italian fashion during the transitional time between haute couture and the birth of prêt-à-porter, covering Walter Albini’s embroideries as well as Armani’s eagle, Versace’s Medusa and Gucci’s snake symbol.


Fire up! The retail and eCommerce event organizer Shoptalk has teamed up with the investment company Commerce Ventures, launching Shoptalk Ventures. To speed up retail innovation, Shoptalk Ventures plans to invest (press release) $1 million in 20 retail and eCommerce start-ups over the next two years. Early stage ventures can apply online, as can investors, retailers and brands that are interested in access to these innovators.


Sexist fascists. Due to a lack of diversity in images and data used to train algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) has a tendency to display biased behavior, new research shows. Facial recognition often fails with dark-skinned women, Twitter-trained chat bots turn out pro-Hitler messages, and some translation programs can’t differentiate between male and female, automatically defaulting to male terms.

Dashing drones. Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana replaced sexy models with drones to send its latest handbag styles down the runway in Milan. To allow the legless carriers to safely glide down the dimly lit isles, visitors had to turn off their Wifi and hotspots during the show.


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