Here's a new edition of The Spin to start the new week. Debenhams plans to unload at least 90 employees in its head office, China is embracing athleisure as it transitions from a manufacturing hub to a consumer-driven country, university-themed looks are back just in time for the back-to-school season and you'll meet the latest crop of cutting-edge British designers. Enjoy the read and please share! Happy Monday, Christopher


Cost-saving cuts. Troubled British retailer Debenhams, which issued three profit warnings this year, is looking to cut at least 90 head office jobs as part of its restructuring and planned turnaround. There have also been rumors that Mike Ashley, who just acquired fellow troubled British chain House of Fraser and who owns about 30 percent of Debenhams, may launch a takeover offer and eventually merge the two stores.


Permanent place? Another retail rumor making the rounds is that Google will soon open its first permanent physical store. Various outlets report that the search-engine giant is about to sign a lease on a 14,000-square-foot space in Chicago's Fulton Market neighborhood, near to Google's Midwest headquarters. The company has opened pop-up spaces over the years but this would be its first ongoing brick-and-mortar venture.



Sino sport... Thanks to the population embracing workout and gym culture and generally favoring a more casual look, the athleisure segment in China is pumping up. Sportswear sales there grew 12 percent last year to $31 billion (overall clothing sales increased just 4 percent) and high-end athleisure is predicted to overtake luxury there in just two more years. The trend towards wellness has also boosted sales of designer sneakers in China of late as well.

...and Sino exit. With the trade war between the US and China escalating and the increasing cost of manufacturing there even prior to the tariffs, many US fashion companies including Tapestry and Steve Madden are moving their manufacturing to other Asian countries. One of them that is reaping the benefits is Cambodia, which continues to have duty-free access to the US for some products and offers investment incentives such as tax holidays. Cambodia exported 25 percent more footwear and 8 percent more apparel in 2017 and its labor cost is said to be one-fourth of China's.

Only 18 and up. Following a new rule by parent company Condé Nast, Vogue has stopped using models under the age of 18 for editorial shoots. And in an article from its September issue that was published online last week, it is now calling on the entire fashion industry to follow suit. The move is also backed by Model Alliance, a model support group, and the CFDA.


School days. Numerous brands from Rihanna's Fenty Puma to Raf Simons are embracing the latest trend in the overall nostalgia wave: collegiate looks. The trend encompasses typical "Joe College" items such as varsity jackets as well as the use of actual licensed logos from schools such as Yale and Cal State Berkeley. And for brands such as Alma Mater, which holds licenses to produce clothing for 157 schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association and just opened its first brick-and-mortar store, college merch is the bread and butter.


Dunkerton donation. Julian Dunkerton, the co-founder of the British streetwear brand Superdry and one of the richest men in Britain, has pledged £1 million to the People's Vote Campaign, a group that is pushing for a second referendum on Brexit. It is the second time this month that Dunkerton has made headlines as he married luxury clothing designer Jade Holland Cooper at a celebrity-studded wedding two weekends ago.

Blessed trinity. A new generation of British fashion designers is shaking things up both with provocative looks and new, modern approaches to doing business based on sustainable practices. Three of them – Matty Bovan, A Sai Ta and Zilara Findikoglu – are all 30 or younger and have just been dubbed (paywall) "London's New Fashion Iconoclasts" by T, The New York Times Style Magazine. They are also reflective of fashion's growing diversity. Ta is British-Asian while Findikoglu was raised Muslim in Turkey.


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