Happy Wednesday and welcome back to The Spin! As Leicester's garment industry is making headlines for alleged labor exploitation, the game of musical chairs continues both at retail and in fashion. We also check out New York City's newest up-and-coming neighborhood - and what some Royal Wedding guests are turning into cold, hard cash. Enjoy the read - and your day, Ulrike


Twilight zone. Manufacturers in the British production hub of Leicester are being accused of labor exploitation, paying workers as little as £3.50 an hour. In response to economic pressure, part of Leicester’s garment industry developed a micro-economy, where small mills abuse humans to out-compete large factories. Although illegal, most players are in on the practice of underreporting hours to lift worker’s pay slips, contributing to the veil of silence.


Going West. New York real estate companies have taken an interest in the notorious "Hell’s Kitchen" neighborhood. Adding several skyscrapers with roughly 4,500 apartments over the next few years, they need the support of strong retail partners. In addition to supermarkets, restaurants and cafés, developers are looking to add fitness and lifestyle concepts. Hell’s Kitchen is located north of Hudson Yards, which is completing construction phase one and will house New York City’s first Neiman Marcus store.


Jumping ship. JC Penney's CEO Marvin Ellison was named CEO at home improvement retailer Lowe's. The turnaround specialist, who came to Penney from The Home Depot in 2014, replaces Robert Niblock who is retiring. Although not effective until July 2, Ellison already left JC Penney. Until a successor is found, an executive team assumes (press release) his responsibilities. Investors viewed his sudden move as a signal of low confidence, sending JC Penney’s stock down 8 percent in early trading.

Leaving wonderland. Dr. Martens finally found a successor for former CEO Steve Murray, who relinquished the position last year. Kenny Wilson will take over from Chairman Paul Mason, who held the position on an interim basis. Wilson comes from womenswear label Cath Kidston, which just made headlines for its new Alice in Wonderland collection. In the past, Wilson also worked for Claire's and Levi's.

From The Row to Theory. Fast Retailing has named Francesco Fucci creative director of womenswear at Theory. Fucci is former head designer at Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion label The Row and has previously also worked for Diane von Furstenberg and Calvin Klein. His first collection (paywall) is pre-Spring 2019, to be shipped in October.


Catch me if you can! Propelled by their fierce authenticity, Vans shoes have become a staple in every environment, from skate parks to top luxury settings. This natural sense of belonging of the VF-owned brand’s signature sneakers helped increase sales 39 percent in Q1 2018. Now, competitors are revving up their game, trying to catch up.

The empresses' new clothes. The fiercely fashionable TV series Sex & The City debuted exactly 20 years ago. To commemorate the occasion, Elle Magazine has lined up today's hottest designers who would most likely have dressed the single ladies if the series was actually shot today. Off-White or Jacquemus, anyone?


Royal heist. About 1,200 commoners who attended the Royal Wedding, were given a Royal Wedding Gift Bag with HM labeled goodies, including a commemorative coin and magnet, handbag shortbread and tea cups. Some of the bags are now for sale on eBay, and there’s massive interest: Relentless bidding has boosted prices to over £38,000. For those who's like to spend less: Most of the items are available for a total of less than £200 at the Royal Collection online shop.


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