Welcome back to The Spin! At Milan Fashion Week, designers successfully mix elegance with sustainability. Meanwhile, British fashion label Ora Kiely is closing its retail business, as Dutch/German apparel chain C&A plans to take on fast fashion. There's also some new development on New York's battered Bleecker Street. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Best, Ulrike


Sense and sensibility. Milan Fashion Week started Tuesday with shows, events and festivities that were open to the public - and a focus on sustainability and green fashion. The professional part of the five-day event went into full gear on Wednesday. First shows include colorful sports looks at Byblos, mixed patterns at Arthur Arbesser and clean lines at Jil Sander, while Alberta Ferretti added a sense of urban femininity. Gucci is notably missing this season, showing instead in Paris.


The greater outdoors. To finance its planned expansion in Europe, North America and Japan, Woolrich International has sold (in Italian) a majority stake to L-Gam Advisors, a Luxembourg-based investment company. Following the 2016 merger of Woolrich Europe with its American parent company, the company started a partnership with Japanese outdoor specialist Goldwin in 2017. In 2019, the company plans to enter China.

And another one... British fashion brand Ora Kiely, a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge, has closed its Ora Kiely stores and eCommerce in the UK and Ireland after parent company Kiely Rowan went into administration. Voluntary liquidation of the 23-year-old company will start in October. About 80 percent of the 50-plus staff will be laid-off. The brand’s licensing business is not affected, and home products continue to be sold through wholesale partners.


Taking on the rivals. To lure back customers from competitors like Primark, H&M and Zara, C&A plans to expand (paywall; in German) its assortment. In addition to lowering prices on select merchandise to discount-levels, the Dutch/German fashion chain also plans to add higher priced and more sustainable products, including still unnamed third-party brands. According to German industry magazine TextilWirtschaft, the C&A generates (paywall; in German) annual revenues of about €5.92 billion.


Back to Bleecker. Starting September 24th, New York’s Bleecker Street is getting a makeover, thanks to Brookfield Property Group which acquired seven retail spaces at depressed prices after the area lost about 25 percent of its tenants. Brookfield aims to create a place for art, commerce and culture, starting (paywall) with an exhibition by artist Sean Augustine March and stores by fashion label Prabal Gurung and leather specialist Slightly Alabama.


Boosting the base. Instagram has expanded its shoppable stories (press release), which has been tested since June, to 46 countries. The feature now allows consumers to learn more about products before buying them. Separately, Instagram has introduced personalized shopping experiences in the redesigned Explore tab. Those will appear next to other personalized topics and feature a mix of items based on customers’ specified interests.


Collectors' paradise. US fashion czar Ralph Lauren, who doesn’t think anyone has to wear a label to be important, plans to push his own one in Europe. The company just appointed (paywall; in German) Sadie Tew as head of retail for the EMEA region and is opening three new stores in the UK this year. The brand launched a shoppable Polo app, which will roll out a forum for Ralph Lauren fans worldwide to connect and trade its products.


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