Welcome back to The Spin! The string of US retail failures continues with the bankruptcy of Charlotte Russe Holdings. Even New York Fashion Week is experiencing a tougher business climate. On a more optimistic note, there are also new store venues and brands - even one to honor a convicted drug lord. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Cheers, Ulrike


Amazon's admission. For the first time, Amazon conceded it might have a counterfeit problem. Under the “risk factors” section in its annual 10-K filing the US online giant admits that it may be unable to prevent vendors from selling counterfeit, pirated or stolen goods. The move comes as Amazon is being widely criticized, boycotted and even sued by brands and consumer watch groups.

Drowning in debt. Charlotte Russe has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The US teen fashion chain plans to close 94 of its stores to pursue a going-concern sale of the business. The company already received (press release) a commitment for debtor-in-possession financing in the maximum amount of $50 million and plans to keep the remaining stores and websites open. Due to its high debt levels, the mall-based fashion chain has long been on the watch list for retailers at risk for failure.


Death of a Sales Venue. With Calvin Klein’s 205W39NYC collection now also missing from NYFW, the event is merely a shadow of it’s former self. Originally established for buyers and the press, NYFW morphed into a spectacle for influencers and even the public, with most runway shows accessible online and in real time. In addition, more and more brands now embrace (paywall) random drops of limited editions rather than scheduled seasons, further reducing the need for formal shows.


Vision Quest. In 2016, PVH hired Belgian designer Raf Simons to radically transform all aspects of its Calvin Klein brand, hoping he would lift the label to the level of Gucci. But although his collections were critically acclaimed, the experiment backfired, leaving CK without a direction, the flagship store on the brink of closure, and Simons out of the job. The reasons are manifold, including disruptions in the design teams and an extensive distribution that led to retailers cutting orders.

Joop, the sequel. German discounter Aldi has commissioned (paywall; in German) designer Wolfgang Joop for a 12-piece home accessories collection including (press release, images) bed linens, cushions, bowls, trays and lanterns. Named “Casa Deco designed by Wolfgang Joop”, it will launch on February 14 at Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd. Retail prices range from €7.99 to €29.99. In 2016, Aldi already worked (in German) with the designer’s daughter, Jette Joop, on an affordable apparel collection named Blue Motion.


Jack in the box. Danish label Jack & Jones has opened (paywall; in German) its first discount store, Jack & Jones Warehouse, at the Designer Outlet in Neumünster, Germany. The new concept (paywall) offers a separate line priced about 30 percent below the main collection. Over the next three years, the Bestseller-owned company which operates more than 1,000 regular Jack & Jones stores, plans to open 40 of those outlets.

Gangsta garments. Alejandrina Gisselle Guzmán, daughter of Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is planning a fashion line featuring tailored suits, jeans, footwear and jewelry as well as liquor and paper goods. Dubbed “El Chapo 701” the 37-year-old’s collection is already being promoted on her Instagram account.


The Italian Job. A new Italian TV series called Made in Italy (paywall) is going to shed light on the Italian fashion scene in the 1970s. Scheduled to debut in fall 2019, the four-part series follows the story of the daughter of Southern Italian immigrants, who swiftly rises up the ranks at fashion magazine Appeal. The focus is on Italy's top designers including Giorgio Armani, played by Raoul Bova (in Italian). Produced by Mediaset and filmed in Milan, New York and Morocco, the series will air on Italy’s Canale 5.


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