Welcome back to The Spin! As the musical chairs continue to whirl at fashion and retail companies, a slew of tech news promise further acceleration of the disruptive forces in our industry with voice assistants narrowing product choices and bitcoin millionaires shopping for pricey streetwear. We also tell you, which endangered species just received its own shade of blue. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Rebel Rebel! Salvatore Ferragamo’s CEO Eraldo Poletto, who joined the luxury label in May 2016 from Italian handbag maker Furla, is leaving office on March 8. According to the Florence-based company, the decision was mutual. In 2017, Salvatore Ferragamo recorded a 3.1 percent sales drop and is in the process of repositioning the brand for a contemporary look. In his first ready-to-wear collection, Creative Director Paul Andrew presented elegant styles (image gallery) inspired by rebellious aristocrats.


More movement. Management at HBC’s Galeria Kaufhof department store chain in Germany does not get any rest. In the midst of serious austerity discussions (in German) with its work council and the Verdi trade union, Human Resources chief Jens Berger is leaving (paywall; in German) the company. On May 1, he plans to take a new position at pet specialty company Fressnapf. His position at Galeria Kaufhof is currently not being refilled.


Shifting benchmarks. In 2013, H&M promised to provide fair living wages to more than 850,000 workers across 750 factories by 2018. But last year, H&M redefined the goal to improving wage management systems at many of its manufacturers, prompting labor organizations to question if workers producing for H&M received any raises at all in previous years. Instead of straight answers, H&M vaguely announced “first milestones” for 2018. Unfortunately, small wage increases are often wiped out by inflation.


Come together. To merge the fragmented parts of the digital market, Dassault Systèmes (3DS) has launched (paywall) the 3-D Experience product innovation platform. To assist users with sourcing, development and production, the cloud-based marketplace brings together 50 digital manufacturers with more than 500 machines and 30 million components. Following Europe and the US, the Paris-based firm now plans to bring its foundation to India to foster education and research.

Don't ask. Voice-search assistants like Siri, Alexa and Echo might become a major threat to big brands. Powered by algorithms that lead consumers to just one or two product options, they dramatically change the playing field. To compete with the tech firms behind those assistants, traditional retailers could increase their research via AI and increase their price elasticity.

Driving adoption… Although quantum computing might soon become a serious threat to blockchain, innovative retailers are still betting on the technology best known for powering cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. China’s JD.com, for example, just launched an accelerator program for artificial intelligence and blockchain. Called AI Catapult, it plans to have start-ups work with its operational teams to test real-world applications of their technologies at scale.

...and wearing Supreme. Meanwhile, many young bitcoin millionaires are spending their riches on high-end streetwear by pricey labels like Supreme, Bape and Yeezy. In turn, a few streetwear retailers like New York-based social shopping site Fancy have started to accept cryptocurrencies as payment. For crypto girls, there is also a bitcoin dress printed with the raw hex Genesis Block of code created by blockchain founder Satoshi Nakamoto.


Blue bears. To celebrate its 10-year relationship with Polar Bears International (PBI), Canada Goose Holdings has created (paywall) a customized Pantone shade. "PBI Blue" was launched on yesterday’s International Polar Bear Day. PBI is dedicated to the preservation of polar bears and their habitat. Canada Goose plans (press release) to donate $50 from each sale of a PBI jacket from the PBI capsule collection of parkas, jackets and accessories.


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