Welcome back to The Spin! As US President Donald Trump's trade war spooks international markets, Amazon's Alexa advances into new territory. There are also several new environmental initiatives, by fashion retailers as well as brands. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Up in arms. Following Donald Trump’s announcement that he is prepared to hit China with fresh tariffs on $200 billion of imports, the AAFA urged Congress to reassert its authority. Threatening to put practically all Chinese imports under tariffs, Trump wants to force China to narrow the US trade deficit, prompting JD’s Richard Liu to point out that trade wars would hurt US brands as well, while experts warn that China could play much dirtier.



Alexa on arrival. To introduce more consumers to its voice assistant, US online giant Amazon is launching Alexa Hospitality with select Marriott International properties this summer. The system allows guests at hotels and other vacation rentals to play music or order room service, request housekeeping and call the concierge without having to pick up the phone.


From DVF to VBL. Paolo Riva has been named CEO at Victoria Beckham’s namesake label, effective September. He succeeds Zach Duane, who left (paywall) the position last year. His main mission is going to be the strategic geographical and product expansion with particular focus on the direct-to-consumer business. Riva has worked with Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Tory Burch and, until November 2016, as CEO of DVF. Since March 2017, he ran his own consulting business.


Dance to the top. Bain Capital plans to acquire cheerleading outfitter Varsity Brands. The International Cheer Union recently received provisional recognition by the International Olympic committee, and a possible participation of cheerleading at the Olympic games in Tokyo in 2020 might give the segment a strong boost. The deal is valued at $2.5 billion.

Round... With its Renewed pilot program, VF-owned The North Face is refurbishing damaged, returned and faulty apparel for resale, possibly paving the way to include customers’ used garments at some point. Currently only available online, the program is part of VF’s Made for Change strategy, designed to leverage sustainability to remain relevant at a consumer and market level.

...and round. Calilfornian lifestyle brand Guess also launched a wardrobe recycling program and has partnered with circular solutions provider I:Collect to reuse and recycle used garments and shoes. Called Resourced, it encourages consumers to bring a minimum of five items to any of its 63 Guess stores in California and receive 15 percent off purchases in-store or online.


Pleasing Peta. As part of its updated animal welfare policy, British online retailer Asos has vowed to stop selling any products made of cashmere, silk and mohair. The ban comes into effect in early 2019. The London-based company already stopped selling items containing feathers, bone, shell and teeth both in its own and third-party lines, but will continue to sell leather and wool products.


Under pressure. A slew of recent suicides in the fashion world has sparked discussions about mental health issues in our industry as well as a look at the competitive and at times even toxic environments it creates - often already starting in fashion schools. The pressure to deliver is high, and in the example of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Art, which is listed (paywall) as third best in 2017 by Business of Fashion, accusations include torment, intimidation and racism.


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