Daily Links

1. Myanmar crisis sounds death knell for garment industry, jobs and hope: Foreign investment in garments surged in Myanmar over the past decade as economic reforms, an end to Western sanctions and trade deals helped establish the sector as the greatest symbol of its nascent emergence as a manufacturing hub. – Read More on Reuters

2. Skinny jeans are out and wide-leg denim is in vogue. The world is in a new denim cycle, Levi’s CEO says: “I don’t think skinny jeans are ever going to go away completely, but clearly right now we are seeing a very strong demand for these looser fits.” – Read More on CNBC

3. Bulgari CEO on buying jewelry online, LVMH’s Tiffany deal, Chinese consumers and the future of luxury: “Jewellery is always more resilient and always recovers faster than the rest of the luxury market.” – Read More on SCMP

4. A geopolitical crisis cripples H&M. Nike, Adidas, and Visa could be next: For the past decade, fashion labels—including H&M—have been trying to be more values-driven, catering to millennial consumers who care about sustainability and the ethical treatment of workers. The question is: What happens when this rosy image is challenged by one of the world’s biggest markets? – Read More on Fast Co.

5. Mastercard report reveals massive pandemic-driven shift to ecommerce: Global consumers increased online spending by $900 billion in 2020. This translates to ecommerce making up $1 for every $5 spent on retail in 2020, compared with $1 for every $7 in 2019. – Read More on Business Insider

6. Does Luxury Need Daigous Post-Pandemic? The gap between Western and Chinese retail price tags has been fueling the overseas shopping business, which offers tax-free luxury goods to local consumers. – Read More on Jing

1. Clothing Firms Face Environmental Scrutiny Costs, Moody’s Says: Global clothing makers face new profitability pressures as they adapt to growing customer scrutiny of their environmental and social practices. Fast fashion and discount brands are the most at risk from increased competition as sustainable processes assume greater importance for buyers of their apparel. – Read More on Bloomberg

2. Adding Women to the C-Suite Changes How Companies Think: Based on an analysis of more than 150 companies, the authors find that after women join the top management team, firms become more open to change and less open to risk, and they tend to shift from an M&A-focused strategy to more investment into internal R&D. – Read More on HBR

3. Swiss luxury watchmakers learn to love the pre-owned market: Richemont, which owns Cartier, has so far been the only big luxury goods company to embrace the pre-owned market with its acquisition of online store Watchfinder in 2018. However, Audemars Piguet and established retailers like Bucherer have already started selling pre-owned watches. – Read More on Reuters

4. Why Digital Fashion is the Next Frontier of NFTs: Even more potent than scarcity is that NFTs also allow creators to collaborate on the process of designing and producing digital fashion items in a similar way to how they currently do in real life, using ERC-1155 NFTs. – Read More on NASDAQ

5. Why Small Stores Are a Big Deal for the Retailer’s Future: Target is opening a fleet of small-format stores — particularly on college campuses and urban streets, where its famed red bullseye has been largely absent in its ongoing bid to serve customers from new neighborhoods at a time when ease, safety and convenience are more important than ever. – Read More on PYMNTS

1. Turmoil Continues for the Artisans Behind Italian Fashion: “There was already an ongoing process, with suppliers seeking help from private investors to develop systems and sustainability in order to better serve the fashion and luxury industries.” – Read More on the New York Times

2. The real reason Louis Vuitton and Chanel are raising their prices? The idea that luxury brands increase prices on a regular basis goes far beyond keeping up with factors such as inflation. Rather, for many companies and industry analysts, it’s seen as a way to control brand image and ensure the perception of prestige remains – something that’s widely accepted as normal practice from luxury fashion houses. – Read More on SCMP

3. RETRO READ: What Do Luxury Brands’ Inflating Prices Mean for Them & for the Industry at Large? In terms of the potential for price increases going forward, brands like Hermès, Dior and even Cartier lead the pack in terms of an “unrealized pricing upside,” which Bernstein measures by combining high consumer demand, vibrant organic growth, and limited price increases in the recent past. – Read More on TFL

4. Less is More: Redefining the Luxury Goods Market. “People buy luxury brands not because they just care about raw materials, craftsmanship, and high quality, but because they want to communicate something about themselves.” – Read More on Wharton

5. Sustainable fashion is nothing but corporate greenwashing: For all their assertions about sourcing materials sustainably, recycling and upcycling, these fast fashion and premium fashion brands have little to show, in part because their solutions are far from being viable and scalable. – Read More on Yahoo

6. RELATED READ: Fashion’s Buzzy Tech Initiatives, Alone, Won’t Solve its Sustainability Issues. The industry needs to acknowledge the fact that sustainability will never be achieved through technology, alone, no matter how enticing these endeavors may be. A small recycled capsule collection from a fast fashion titan, here or certified circular series of items from a multi-billion dollar company, there, is mathematically immaterial. – Read More on TFL

1. Retailers Seen Closing Thousands of Stores Even After Pandemic: Roughly one in every 11 stores will close in the next five years, with office-supply, sporting-goods and clothing retailers among the hardest hit. In the most dire scenario, more than twice as many stores — about 150,000 in total — could close over that span. – Read More on Bloomberg

2. Authentication and StockX’s global arms race against fraudsters: As the key to the community’s trust and the company’s international expansion, StockX reveres themselves most on the constantly evolving process of authentication. Yet even with all its resources and skill, it can’t always get it 100% right. – Read More on TechCrunch

3. Amazon illegally fired employees critical of work conditions, labor board finds: The online retailer last year terminated the employment of Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, who accused the company of enforcing policies in a discriminatory fashion and having vague rules that “chill and restrain” staff from exercising rights, according to their charge filed in October. – Read More on Reuters

4. Amazon’s Labor Unrest May Show at the Margins: Amazon’s opposition to the budding unionization attempt would suggest that it poses a major threat to its business. But the company has never spelled that out as a major risk to shareholders. Its most recent 10-K filing from February mentions “labor or trade disputes” at the bottom of a list of 18 bullet-point items that could impact its operating results. – Read More on the WSJ 

5. Dolce & Gabbana CEO denies talks with Kering over possible tie-up: Dolce & Gabbana is not in talks with French luxury group Kering over a possible tie-up, the chief executive of the Italian fashion company said, but did not rule out the possibility of being part of a “broader Italian project” putting together several Italian brands. (As for what that project might be: it could be the budding Milan-based group that is seemingly being built by Moncler chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini, which recently acquired Italian brand Stone Island). – Read More on Reuters

6. Retailers face global supply chain pressures as backlogs continue amid pandemic: The acceleration in online shopping has been a boon for companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and other e-commerce platforms. But consistently high levels of demand led to product shortages and delivery delays throughout much of 2020. – Read More on S&P Global

1. This NFT outfit will set you back £780 … and it’s just an illusion: “People have been applying filters to their Snapchat and Instagram for years, so the appeal of being able to control your image online is very much part of mainstream culture.” – Read More on the Guardian

2. Behind Carhartt’s Booming Year—From Workwear to Golden Globes Fashion: Also boosting Carhartt’s business was the label’s growing cultural clout. In recent years, Carhartt’s fan base has grown well beyond its Tractor Supply core.  Though the company doesn’t directly link these pop cultural moments to boosts in sales, she noted that they help “create brand awareness” in new market segments. – Read More on the WSJ

3. Chinese authorities tell H&M to change the “problematic map.” Chinese authorities have asked H&M to change a map on its website in the latest clash between the clothing giant and officialdom there. – Read More on Reuters

4. From Absolut to Volkswagen, Blending Is the New Branding: Although various forces are driving these debrands — from the vagaries of fashion to the constraints of mobile-first design — the most interesting is the power of flatter identities to become portals through which companies can project an infinite range of moods, flavors and messages. – Read More on Bloomberg

5. RELATED READ: What Is Blanding, How Did We Get Here and What Does it Mean Going Forward? Logos meant to blend in? That is an interesting notion if you consider the practical purpose of branding in the first place. Trademarks – i.e., brand names, logos, and even colors in some cases – have traditionally been used and have derived their value from their ability to enable consumers to easily identify the source of a product and distinguish that product from those of other companies. – Read More on TFL

6. Lululemon more than doubles e-commerce in 2020: E-commerce more than doubled for the full year, and grew 92% in the fourth quarter. The company also achieved its “largest annual share gain in recent history,” thanks to growth in both men’s and women’s. – Read More on Retail Dive