Welcome back to this new edition of The Spin. This week, we adopt a global view of fashion. Ignoring tariff woes, the Chinese giant Alibaba is expanding its offering of imported goods; Swedish H&M is boycotting Brazilian leather; and Canadian yoga wear chain Lululemon is showing off more of its street wear vibe. Finally, British Arcadia's latest quarter shows that the company is in deep trouble. Enjoy the read. Best, Caroline.


Just married. To counter rival Tencent, Alibaba is buying NetEase's online mall for $2 billion. Kaola, the NetEase e-commerce platform is, with Alibaba's TMall, renowned with Chinese customers for its imported goods including apparel, sports accessories and beauty products. Combined, both platforms control about 50% of Chinese online sales of foreign brands. Kaola will operate independently, with Tmall veteran Alvin Liu at its helm.


Return fire. Swedish fashion retailer H&M is suspending leather purchases from Brazil over concerns that the country's cattle industry has contributed to the deforestation of the Amazon. H&M follows the example of VF Corp, which announced earlier that its brands Timberland, Vans and The North Face would no longer buy leather from Brazil. A 2016 report from the United Nations attributed (paywall) 80% of Brazil's deforestation to cattle grazing. So far this year, 50,000 fires have been detected in the rain forest.


Quick returns. Nordstrom is pushing (paywall) its service above and beyond: the department store chain, which just opened two small concept stores in New York, promises to accept returned items even from its rivals, such as Macy's or Kohl's. The idea is that shoppers are looking for a convenient way to drop off unwanted items. When they go to their friendly local store, they will now be able to get styling consultations, shoe repair and yes quick returns of whatever products that they had bought online.

Yoga magic. Lululemon, the Canadian yoga wear chain, is on a roll. The retail chain has reported second quarter earnings that dazzled Wall Street. Sales for its men's business climbed 35%, digital sales were up 31% and same store sales were 15% higher. To keep growing, the company is expanding (paywall) the distribution of Lululemon Lab, its in house street wear label. Until now Lululemon Lab was only present in two cities, Vancouver and New York. It will be available globally in 45 locations this fall.

Top loss. Sir Philip Green's empire, Arcadia, has reported an after tax loss of £169 million as its revenue fell 4,5% to £1.8 billion. "The retail landscape has changed dramatically" explains Arcadia in its press release. The British holding of Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins wasn't able to close stores at the same pace that sales fell. Meanwhile, high street as well as online retailers are gobbling up Topshop's customers.


No prejudice. Magnus Liljeblad, Henri Lloyd 's CEO, is out. The British brand, specialized in sailing apparel, was acquired in 2018 by the Swedish Aligro Group. Since then, chairman Hans Eckerstrom has been trying to relaunch the heritage brand, albeit with a startup culture. Liljeblad was unable to deliver. Therefore, Hans Eckerstrom is seeking candidates for the CEO position, and a newly vacant role of creative director. "Young or experienced we have no prejudice" he says.


What's your color? Pantone's spring/summer 2020 colors have something for everyone, beginning with red, finishing with three shades of blues, and some saffron in the middle. According to Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute's executive director, colors are (paywall) "indicators of what's happening in the world". The various blues have a calming effect. They are the quiet answer to the world's turmoils. On the other hand, flame scarlet is a fiery red, that boldly declares "here I am, pay attention to me", while saffron is the tone of spring.

Ready to sleep. Nighties are making their way out of the bedroom. Prairie dresses with lace detailing and sweet bows in soft colors are bringing back the Laura Ashley feeling. Gwyneth Paltrow was an early adopter, when she wore a light yellow Chloe gown with high neck ruching to the Met Gala in May. Singer Selena Gomez also wore a nightie to her birthday celebration. And during New York Fashion Week, Tory Burch showed (paywall) a long white oversized gown adorned with pretty laces and simple floral embroidery for next summer. Good day, good night.


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