Welcome back to The Spin! Amazon's alleged plan to focus on few big vendors has been sending shockwaves through the ranks of its large roster of small merchants. We also tell you, which German designer aims to fight boredom in the boardroom - and where Lady Gaga fans can finally view her infamous meat dress. Enjoy the read - and your weekend! Best, Ulrike


Nightmare at Amazon. The US online giant is supposedly planning (paywall) to remove thousands of small vendors from its marketplace. Under the One Vendor initiative, Amazon would focus on big name sellers, jeopardizing countless companies, some of which rely solely on Amazon for distribution.


From Google to Walmart. Suresh Kumar, who previously held senior roles at Google, Microsoft and Amazon, was named chief technology officer and chief development officer at Walmart, effective July 8. In this expanded and elevated role (press release), Kumar is expected (paywall) to ramp up the retail giant's eCommerce and advertising. He reports to president and CEO Doug McMillon.

The next merchant prince? Following the departure of company chief Mickey Drexler and designer Jenna Lyons, J. Crew has put its fate into the hands of 36-year-old designer Chris Benz (paywall). Since his promotion to VP of women’s design last February, Benz has been quietly working to bring back fashion magic to the US fashion chain, which just announced the closure of 20 stores. The new work of Benz and creative director Mark DeMott (paywall) will arrive in stores in early 2020.


The curious case of Platformania. Online platforms are (paywall) among the most important business models right now. According to the new book Business of Platforms, those providers often generate the same annual revenue as their traditional counterparts with about 50 percent of the staff. Still, platforms fail at an alarming rate due to factors like flawed pricing, inability to develop trust, failure to adapt to competition, and late market entry.


Saved by the bell. Thierry Gillier, the founder of French fashion label Zadig & Voltaire (images), plans to acquire (paywall) the struggling luxury cashmere brand Lucien Pellat-Finet. The label, which is known for its colorful intarsia motifs, was founded in 1994 by Lucien Pellat-Finet, who will join Zadig & Voltaire SAS’ board as part of the deal. In addition to wholesale distribution, Lucien Pellat-Finet (images) is sold through ten exclusive boutiques in Japan.  

Fighting boredom in the boardroom. German shirt specialist van Laack has hired designer Wolfgang Joop as creative director, making him responsible (paywall; translated by Google) for its new men’s and women’s Meisterwerk (“masterpiece”) collection. For a comprehensive brand experience, the range comprises a total look with particular attention to creative interpretations of shirts and blouses, targeting young professionals. The line will be launched at Premium Berlin with first deliveries scheduled for mid-October.


Where the techies live. Due to automation, over 50 percent of the global workforce is at risk of losing their jobs, and by 2022 many of the skills required today will change dramatically. To remain competitive, companies increasingly rely on tech savvy workers. In its current Global Skills Index report, the higher-learning platform Coursera ranks 60 countries by expertise in business, technology and data science, with Europe making up over 80 percent of the cutting-edge and the US hovering in the middle.


Poetry of Resilience! The vibrant images of award-winning photographer Aida Muluneh, who now resides in Canada, offer a poetic view into Ethiopian identity. In her The World is 9 (images) series, melancholic female passengers are seen through the smudged windows of brightly colored busses, pale women in bright lie crumpled on barren landscapes, and faces glow in deep blues, bright yellows and pale whites…


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