Daily Links

1. Stella McCartney launches A-Z sustainability manifesto: “I barely even know what the word sustainable means anymore,” with confusion and greenwashing rife in the industry. – Read More on the Guardian

2. RETRO READ: The Problem with “Sustainability”? It Doesn’t Really Mean Anything . Put simply, “sustainability,” along with other terms – such as “green,” “eco-friendly,” “ethical,” “responsibly-made,” and in many cases, even “upcycled” – lack concrete, uniform definitions with foundations in law that brands and consumers can observe. – Read More on TFL

3. Travis Scott Has Become Corporate America’s Go-To Pitchman: The rapper has partnered with an unusually diverse array of brands to churn out everything from food to apparel to toys and more. His team views the deals as a way to stay active between album cycles. But each needs to deliver creative flair so that he doesn’t become over-saturated with licenses or known for boring partnerships. – Read More on Bloomberg

4. World’s garment workers face ruin as fashion brands refuse to pay $16 billion: Powerful U.S. and European fashion companies have refused to pay overseas suppliers for more than $16bn of goods since the outbreak of Covid-19, which exposes the huge power imbalance at the heart of the fashion industry, which demands that suppliers often bear all the upfront production costs while buyers pay nothing until weeks or months after factories ship the goods. – Read More on the Guardian

5. Cleaning up fast fashion starts in the classroom: “Designers determine the life cycle of a garment, and they can see what the life of a garment will be at the end of its design and after the consumer is done with it.” Training students to design a garment so it can be easily recycled or upcycled helps ensure that tomorrow’s apparel companies are contributing to a circular economy. – Read More on Corporate Knights

6. Legal experts say modest antitrust reforms likely after House report on tech: While a highly anticipated U.S. House antitrust report called for a range of antitrust reforms, including structural separations of major U.S. tech firms, experts expect only modest refinements to current antitrust regulation from the report rather than comprehensive change. – Read More on S&P Global

7. Will This Bubble Go K-Pop? The IPO of Big Hit Entertainment, the music label that represents boy band BTS, was oversubscribed by about 600 times. Shares will start trading next week. K-Pop is a huge phenomenon (in fashion, included) and many fans of the band, who call themselves ARMY, put up money for sentimental rather than financial reasons. – Read More on WSJ

1. Uniqlo Takes On H&M and Zara With Focus on Asian Stores: Uniqlo’s lineup is heavy on comfortable clothes for lounging around the house, compared with the more fashion-forward offerings of Zara and H&M. CEO Tadashi Yanai said Uniqlo’s functional take on apparel was far more advanced than those stores’, and he characterized his rivals as focused on copying hot trends. – Read More on the WSJ

2. How AR is Redefining Retail in the Pandemic: Augmented Reality (AR) applications have been on the rise with virtual “try-before-you-buy” experiences ranging from previewing furniture and products in your home with everyday brands like IKEA and Home Depot, to virtually trying on luxury fashion such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Once a nice-to-have feature, AR has quickly become an essential technology for retailers. – Read More on HBR

3. House of Representatives report accuses Amazon of abusing market power: A new 450-page report on tech companies from the House of Representatives’ subcommittee on antitrust accuses Amazon of wielding monopoly power in online retail to the detriment of third-party sellers that use its site as well as competitors and other stakeholders. – Read More on Retail Dive

4. RETRO READ: Jeff Bezos “Can’t Guarantee” that Amazon’s Policy Against Using Seller Data to Boost its Private Labels Has Not Been Violated. This is part of the equation that legal minds  have pointed to in recent years in regards to potential claims of antitrust involving Amazon, particularly as the giant has continued to build troves of data on third-party products and sales, which it can use to “hone its own competitive pricing strategy, gain information about consumers to make its own marketing more effective, and give its own goods an advantage,” as the Journal put it. – Read More on TFL

5. Why the far right Proud Boys co-opted these polo shirts: it will be hard for Fred Perry to pursue legal action. If members of the Proud Boys are legally buying shirts with the brand’s trademark, there’s nothing they can do about it. “A brand owner can’t sell a shirt, generate revenue, then sue legitimate consumers of their product for trademark infringement.”Read More on Fast Co.

6. With shoppable Instagram Reels, live selling may get a new life: Despite years of failed attempts, live video shopping may finally become bigger in the U.S. The concept, while niche stateside, has long been popular among Chinese influencers, or key opinion leaders (KOLs); the country’s shopping livestreams helped generate $63 billion in 2019 alone. – Read More on Modern Retail

7. RELATED READ: From Social Shopping to Entertainment-Centric E-Commerce, What Western Brands Can Learn from China’s Retail Giants. By adding entertainment into the mix of the traditional online buying experience, Chinese e-commerce giants are actively revamping the way that consumers shop. – Read More on TFL

1. How Coronavirus Changed the Retail Landscape: The sudden shift in consumer habits changed the profit picture for retailers in the S&P 500. eBay  had the biggest increase in its profit margin in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, according to an analysis of FactSet data. Other winners were automotive and discount chains, which managed to boost profitability despite the higher costs of operating in a pandemic. – Read More on the WSJ

2. The Truth About HENRY: The values and aesthetic codes of HENRY (i.e., “High Earner, Not Rich Yet” individuals) are simply bourgeois mass consumerism repackaged for a smaller addressable audience. HENRY myopia ignores a wide swath of consumers with disproportionate spending power, while neglecting the values and aspirations of the consumers most likely to drive disproportionate spending power in the future. – Read More on Just Throwing it Out There

3. India to extend surcharge on taxes on luxury items, tobacco: The surcharge on luxury goods, which varies from 12% to 200%, is part of the national goods and services tax (GST) introduced in 2017, and was due to expire in 2022. – Read More on Reuters

4. Elsewhere in luxury … Mercedes-Benz to Slash Costs 20% in Next Five Years: Mercedes will move its vehicles upmarket in an attempt to boost profit amid weak demand and rising investments in electric vehicles. The automaker stopped selling sedans in the U.S. to focus more on sport-utility vehicles, which are more profitable and make up a larger share of new-car sales in Europe and the U.S., and says it will continue to “move capital to luxury and high-end products.” At least some luxury brands in the fashion space are likely to follow suit, as we previously noted here.Read More on the WSJ

5. USPTO releases report on artificial intelligence and intellectual property policy: Across all IP topics, a majority of public commenters expressed a general sense that the existing U.S. intellectual property laws are calibrated correctly to address the evolution of AI. However, commenters appear split as to whether any new classes of IP rights would be beneficial to ensure a more robust IP system. – Read More on the USPTO

6. RETRO READ: AI Programs Are Creating Fashion Designs and Raising Questions About Who (or What) is an Inventor. “The USPTO has not made any determination concerning who or what actually created the invention claimed in the application.” It merely held that it an inventor must be a “natural person” – whether that be a scientist like Thaler or a real-live fashion designer. – Read More on TFL

1. Why is LVMH trying to get out of its Tiffany deal? A possibility is that chairman Bernard Arnault is interested in pursuing alternative opportunities. One recurring scenario is that LVMH could look to make a bid for Cartier-owner Richemont, which would be a much bigger acquisition than Tiffany, giving Arnault an even more dominant position in luxury. Annual sales of the combined group would be four times that of nearest rival, Gucci-owner Kering. – Read More on Bloomberg

2. US bankruptcies surpass 500 mark as coronavirus takes toll: A total of 509 companies have gone bankrupt this year as of Oct. 4, exceeding the number of filings during any comparable period since 2010. – Read More on S&P Global

3. J. Crew’s parent company faces uncertainty post-bankruptcy: The fragility in the apparel market and uncertainty from the ongoing pandemic will make it difficult for the company, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 10, to make great strides in any turnaround. – Read More on Retail Dive

4. ESG Investing Looks Like Just Another Stock Bubble: “Do-the-right-thing” investments have been outperforming, but that has been driven by liquidity and flows rather than an effective strategy. – Read More on Bloomberg

5. Fashion’s great inventory pullback: As brands embark on a market season unlike any we’ve seen before, many are showing abbreviated versions of their typical collections to retailers that are overwhelmingly risk-averse and low on cash. “It’s kind of like what we saw after 2008. At first, there is this pullback and it’s a bit overly conservative and they’re buying just the bestsellers.” – Read More on Vogue Business

6. RELATED READ: From Hermès and Chanel to Louis Vuitton and Gucci, What Will Fashion’s Impending Shift Actually Look Like?In the first scenario, brands are likely to move more upmarket and eschew the usual barrage of trend-specific creations on a seasonal basis in favor of fewer – and almost certainly more expensive – offerings. It is relatively easy to envision brands like Chanel and Hermès cutting back on the dozens of garments and accessories they offer up each season in favor of even higher-end offerings. – Read More on TFL

1. Christian Dior chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari: Online sales have accelerated due to COVID and there is a new normal, but brick-and-mortar stores will definitely play a major role in luxury the future. For luxury brands like Dior, online sales will not surpass 20, 25 percent even in 5 or 6 years. – See More on Bloomberg

2. Private Equity Firms Bet on Booming Demand for Online Shopping: Private equity firms are betting that the rise in online shopping is here to stay, with some of the world’s biggest investment funds eyeing deals for everything from warehouses to delivery companies. – Read More on Bloomberg

3. How Matthew M. Williams Is Refreshing Givenchy: Streetwear will continue to dominate fashion, he adds. “The ‘casualization movement’ is here to stay and will keep on pollinating the world of luxury in its ivory tower.” – Read More on the WSJ

4. A New Look For The Fashion Industry? There’s more to diversifying fashion than the runway. “Who gets into who’s an atelier, who’s in charge of the design aesthetic, who’s in charge of the creative inspiration, who’s in charge of the money and the financing, who sits on the boards of directors, who’s writing the stories, who’s taking the photographs, who’s making the decisions about who goes on the cover of a magazine.”Read More on NPR

5. How Many Lives Can a Fashion Brand Have? “Sonia Rykiel is a brand with a strong heritage, but a difficult one to bring back to center stage,” said Luca Solca, a luxury analyst at Bernstein. “It is possible that you hit great ideas and that you manage to get back to notoriety and desirability — but doing that in an industry dominated by mega-brands with way more resources for marketing and communication is very difficult.” – Read More on the New York Times

6. RELATED READ: What Are You Buying When You Acquire a Bankrupt Fashion Brand? for the average fashion-focused consumer, Sonia Rykiel’s backstory and its goodwill is hardly as readily-recognizable and not nearly as striking as that of more storied or more relevant names in the crowded fashion industry, whether that be established luxury brands or buzzy streetwear and direct-to-consumer startups. And as a handful of recent examples of revamp attempts reveal, bringing a brand back from the dead is no easy feat. – Read More on TFL

7. Crocs share price soars on Justin Bieber’s Instagram post that suggests a collaboration with shoe brand: Bieber’s Instagram post of a pair of Crocs in a swimming pool, and a hint he will have a collaboration with the brand, drew a million likes within a few hours Crocs shares rose 13 per cent in value within hours, the largest increase in the past 13 years. – Read More on SCMP