Welcome back to a new week and a new issue of The Spin! Amazon is in hot water for its handling of Echo’s audio recordings, Walmart plans to invest $11 billion to revamp its stores this year, and LK Bennett just found a buyer. We also tell you, why subscription boxes might continue their run - and which new labels are heating up the European contemporary market. Enjoy the read! Best, Ulrike


Big Sister. To help Alexa improve her response to verbal commands and expand customer profiles, thousands of Amazon employees listen (video) to Echo voice recordings and send feedback back into the system. In addition to small talk, they often hear personal information like bank data as well as criminal activity or other distressing audio, which violates some countries' telecommunication confidentiality laws and over-stretches the coping abilities of some workers.

Absolute beginners. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos wants the company to always consider itself at the beginning of its journey. Among the 38 core principles of the online giant, which now plans to start free music-streaming, are obvious ones such as "Customer obsession" and "Frugality" as well as more philosophical approaches like "Disagree and commit" and "Consider each day to be Day 1". Here is a recent video of the elaborate dance between humans and robots at an Amazon warehouse in Orlando, Florida.


Byland buys LK Bennett. The majority of the assets of British high fashion brand LK Bennett have been bought out of administration by Byland UK, a company controlled by Chinese fashion distributor Rebecca Feng. The deal includes LK Bennett’s headquarters in London’s Shoreditch, 21 stores and all of its concessions. 15 additional stores will close, affecting about 110 jobs. The Duchess of Cambridge’s favorite brand filed (paywall) for bankruptcy protection in March.

Extreme Makeover. US retail giant Walmart plans to invest $11 billion in its stores, digital commerce and supply chain this year. About 500 locations will be remodeled, with plans for self-checkout kiosks and re-merchandised grocery and electronics sections. To expand into omnichannel marketing, Walmart also acquired advertising start-up Polymorph Labs.


Beautiful surprise! Although some consumers have become complacent about subscription services, the market has been exploding with about 3,500 services as of October 2018, up about 40 percent from the previous year. Millennials are among the early adopters. Now, baby boomers are ready to join the fun with about 22 percent planning to subscribe to a service within the next six month. Among the reasons for the concept’s success is their ability to personalize, simplify choices and surprise consumers.


Goodbye, fast fashion. In an interview (translated by Google) with German industry magazine TextilWirtschaft, Essentiel Antwerp’s creative director Inge Onsea shares her views on fast fashion, social media and why it can be important not to like things. The colorful label, which currently operates 55 stores in Europe, China and Korea, just opened its second free-standing store in London.

New kids on the block. The European contemporary fashion market still has a lot of potential. Six newcomers (translated by Google) including coat specialist Kassl, influencer influenced fashion label Rotate, and vegan leather label Nanushka are making a name for themselves as hot for next season’s order books.


Mourning Kevin Krier. After a short illness, innovative fashion show producer Kevin Krier died (paywall) on Wednesday in San Francisco. The founder and CEO of Kevin Krier and Associates had worked with top fashion labels including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Todd Oldham and Wolfgang Joop. He also produced the annual CFDA Awards for 15 years. Krier was 64 years old.


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