The Week at a Glance
- China’s hide imports down in October
- Cambodian exports up with boost from footwear, among others
- Russian foootwear imports recovered in 2017
- Under Armour names new CFO amid shakeup, digital changes
- Clarks hires supply chain firm
- Columbia Sportswear announces new management appointments
- Smania’s luxury Italian furniture continues global expansion in China
- Europe’s top court to rule whether luxury brands can deny online sales
- Italian police search Gucci offices in criminal tax investigation
- Scottish family handbag firm feels the ‘Meghan effect’
- Under Armour, EOS to scale 3D footwear
- US Heavy Texas Steers up $1.00
- Looking Ahead: The over done steak
From September to October, China’s imports of Whole hides from all world origins over 16 kg declined by 18% overall. The 2,207,886 hides imported is still up 37% from the 2017 low, which was in July. For 2017 through the end of October, China has imported 24,474,156 hides in this category.
With regard to wet blue, total imports were down 9 percent from September to October, logging the second lowest monthly total – 22,366,595 kg. — just 1% above the year-to-date low in January and 21% below the year’s monthly high, which was in May. For the year so far, China has imported 245,779,630 kg.
In the category of “other wet blue cow hide,” imports plummeted from September. October’s 14,306,818 kg total represents a 37% drop. It is also down 61% from the monthly high for 2017, which was in May.
Hebei tanneries, shoe factories again under environmental scrutiny
The northern Chinese province of Hebei is once again under the environmental spotlight by the Provincial Department of Environmental Protection. A solid waste investigation program has been launched covering the leather, fur, shoe making, plastic recycling and other polluting industries to gather data on how to manage and utilize solid industrial waste from these manufacturing processes.
The aim is to verify the origins of hazardous waste and identify the companies generating it in the above-named industrial sectors. When this data has been collected a plan should then be put forward for a feasibility study for the utilization of such waste.
The data will be gathered by the municipal and county environmental protection departments, which are also responsible for the investigation at all levels. The Provincial Environmental Protection Department will organize random checks to verify any concealment or omission resulting in environmental pollution accidents and any personnel involved will be held responsible.
There is already talk in the media about more tanneries being shut down in Hebei province even before all the data has been collected and analyzed.
Increased exports of footwear, electrical machinery, equipment and auto parts helped Cambodia’s economy remain strong, but growth is projected to ease slightly to 6.8% in 2017, compared with 7 percent last year, according to a new World Bank report.
While exports of clothing and other textile products have moderated, the medium-term outlook remains positive due to export diversification and healthy inflows of foreign direct investment, according to the World Bank’s latest “Cambodia Economic Update.”
“Cambodia appears to be on the verge of climbing up the manufacturing value chains—from garments to electronics and auto parts—and that is a very encouraging development,” said Inguna Dobraja, World Bank country manager for Cambodia. “With deeper structural reforms that address high electricity and logistics costs, as well as skills gaps, Cambodia can boost investment, export diversification and move closer to its development goals.”
Real growth is projected to remain strong, expanding at 6.9% in 2018. A possible slowdown of the regional economy, especially in China, and potential election-related uncertainties, however, pose downside risks to the outlook.
Economic growth will continue to be propelled by export diversification and underpinned by healthy inflows of foreign direct investment. Rising government spending, including public investment, is also expected to drive growth.
There are promising signs of diversification in the manufacturing sector, with the entry of high-value-added manufacturers, especially for electrical appliances and components, and auto parts. Relatively high electricity and logistic costs, however, remain key bottlenecks.
Footwear exports continue to grow steadily. The exports of footwear products, largely destined for the EU market, are second after clothing and other textile articles. Total footwear export value reached almost $500 million during the first six months of 2017, up from 15.6% in 2016. Reflecting increased competition, average footwear export prices have been steadily declining since early 2016.
The report noted that exports are facing increased competition. Real wages are rising, while productivity improvement remains modest. As a result, the prices of exported apparel have been declining. The minimum wage for the garment and footwear sector is $153 a month and is expected to increase to $170 a month in 2018.
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In the first half of 2017, Russia’s footwear imports increased by 41.9% in volume and by 32.6% in value. If this pace of growth continues, Russian imports will close the year crossing the US$3 billion threshold, and will register the second year of positive growth after dramatic declines in 2014 and 2015. Reflecting the political instability in the region, Russian footwear imports declined from US$4.28 billion in 2013, the highest amount recorded in the last decade, to only US$2.25 billion in 2015.
China, with a 51% share, is still the main supplier although imports from that country have fallen by a third over the past five years. Five countries account for 80% of Russia’s imports: China (51%), Italy (12%), Vietnam (10%), Indonesia (4%) and Belarus (3%).
Of the ten largest suppliers, only India had a decrease in value (-22.5%). All other countries consolidated value of imports, with two digits growth rates (except Indonesia, which grew at only 2.6%). In volume terms, all 10 main suppliers grew at double-digit rates, except Indonesia and India (with 17.9% and 30.3% declines, respectively).
Imports from Italy, Spain and Portugal grew at a fast pace (above 30%), in both quantity and volume.
Russia imports mainly leather footwear (48%), followed at some distance by rubber and plastic (26%) and textile (24%). The average price for leather shoes increased by 13% and for waterproof by 11%.
Most searched apparel and footwear in 2017
Global fashion search platform Lyst tracked more than 100 million searches and sales data across five million apparel and footwear products to find what consumers wore the most this year.
Gucci topped Lyst’s most searched brands of 2017—followed by Forever 21, Balenciaga, Vetements, Free People, Saint Laurent, Nike, Topshop, Michael Kors and Givenchy.
Gucci-ish items, logos, “woke” fashion and throwback decades were among the major fashion trend influences this year.
Logos were a major hit over the past 12 months, specifically for luxury labels and retro sports brands. Balenciaga, Gucci, Loewe and Saint Laurent products were among those favored for logos, while Champion, Fila and Kappa’s throwback athletic logos yielded a 460 percent increase in searches this year.
Joining these major trends were vintage-inspired products. From apparel to footwear, fashion shifted to the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, and decade-specific elements made their way into many consumers’ outfits in 2017.
Consumers turned to digital platforms, including websites and social media—Instagram in particular—to search for the most-wanted products this year. Instagram played a key role in consumers’ product searches this year, inspiring shoppers to click and buy items shown in influencers’ photos. Gucci nabbed the top two spots for Lyst’s Cult Insta-Hits list—with its logo T-shirt and GG belt taking over most Instagram product searches.
Most footwear searches this year fell into two major categories—luxury and streetwear. Gucci’s GG Blooms Supreme Slides and Givenchy logo slides were the most searched shoes in 2017, with Vetements sock boots, Saint Laurent crystal boots and Mansur Gavriel mules also nabbing top spots.
On the streetwear side, sneakers remained the most popular footwear style in 2017. Fenty’s Puma bow sneaker was the most searched sneaker this year, and other popular styles, including Vans’ Old Skool sneaker and Comme des Garcons Play sneaker were popular footwear searches among consumers.
Under Armour announced more changes to its digital business including a new digital product lead and new CFO. Michael La Guardia was named Senior Vice President, Digital Product, replacing Mike Lee and Albert Lee, the co-founders of MyFitnessPal, which the company acquired in 2015. As of January 8, La Guardia, a former Yahoo executive, will lead the strategy for all digital product development at Under Armour.
The company also named David Bergman as Chief Financial Officer. Bergman had been interim chief financial officer since February. He joined Under Armour in 2004 and held several senior management roles within the company’s finance and accounting organization.
The Baltimore, Maryland-based company, which boomed in recent years, has been hit by the retail crisis currently effecting the US. In its latest quarter, Under Armour saw revenue fall by 4.5 percent to $1.4 billion, its first quarterly sales decline since the company went public. The company also slashed its 2017 forecasts, while profit fell 58 percent to $54.2 million.
This summer, when layoffs and a restructuring was first announced, the company made several executive changes including the appointment of Patrik Frisk to President and Chief Operating Officer.
In addition, Paul Fipps was named Chief Technology Officer and Colin Browne was named Chief Supply Chain Officer, in an effort to leverage its digital business.
Under Armour expands in Spain, opens three new retail areas
Under Armour increased its presence in Spain with the opening of three new retail locations at El Corte Inglés department stores. The three retail outlets are located at El Corte Inglés branches in Barcelona, Valencia and Marbella. The retail corners are located respectively in the department store branches of Portal del Angel, Pintor Sorolla and Puerto Banús, and showcase the US brand’s fitness and running lines. The Puerto Banús corner will also feature an area dedicated to golf.
Shiekh Shoes files for bankruptcy protection
West Coast Shiekh Shoes filed chapter 11 bankruptcy in California Central Bankruptcy Court on Wednesday. The filing states that Shiekh has $50 million to $100 million in liabilities. The Wall Street Journal reported that the filing includes a list of creditors including Nike, which is owed approximately $16 million.
Owner Shiekh Ellahi confirmed last week that the company was talking to four to five banks about funding to avoid filing for bankruptcy. He told Reuters the business was not in default with any creditors or landlords.The brick-and-mortar retailer has about 120 stores across 10 states. It has struggled to keep up with online competition.
Clarks is looking to supply chain provider JDA Software Group Inc. to transform its retail planning and order fulfillment processes. The famous footwear brand is expected to use JDA’s retail planning and intelligent-fulfillment solutions, said JDA.
The move is reportedly part of Clarks’ global business transformation initiative, that aims to better serve its customers globally across all channels.
According to the JDA spokesperson, customers will receive the right product, in the right quantity and at the right time — across any channel.
“Clarks is a truly global brand that is thinking big and innovating to ensure that we are fit for the future and able to cater to today’s modern consumer. Being able to forecast, plan, source and fulfill orders in a much more intelligent manner will enable us to increase customer satisfaction and further our growth, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of shoemaking,” said Mike Shearwood, CEO. “JDA’s strong heritage in retail and wholesale, along with its best-in-class technology, gives us huge confidence in achieving this goal and will help us become a more agile and efficient business.”
Franck Lheureux, SVP of JDA’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region, also weighed in. “In the footwear sector especially, a failure to provide the right product at the right time to the consumer can result in a lost sale,” he said. “Using data science and state-of-the art technology, Clarks will be able to better segment and serve its customers globally across all channels in today’s highly competitive retail market.”
Nike’s new NYC flagship to have floor exclusively for NikePlus members
Nike’s upcoming New York flagship location, set to open by early 2019, will replace the current Niketown on 57th Street with a door at 650 Fifth Ave. The first four floors of the 69,000-square-foot building will feature the brand’s clothes and sneaker products and the fifth will be reserved for NikePlus members.
“Our new flagship store is about serving all of our consumers — especially our NikePlus members — with pinnacle innovative products, a unique design and environment, and the very best of personalized service,” Nike Direct president Heidi O’Neill said in a statement.
NikePlus, a loyalty program for frequent shoppers, offers free shipping and a try-before-you-buy period to those who sign up through email or the app. The idea is to encourage more shoppers to join the brand’s larger membership program, which will even allow them to avoid waiting in cashier lines.
The flagship’s lower level will also feature the brand’s newest small-format retail concept, a space for stylist services and a curated selection of products for NYC. The move toward smaller and more experience-oriented concept shops has been picked up by department stores such as Nordstrom this year.
Columbia Sportswear Company, a leading innovator in the active outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment industries, today announced the following management appointments.
Melissa Dugan, an industry veteran with 27 years of experience, has been appointed Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer, reporting to Jim Swanson, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer.
“We are delighted to announce the addition of a proven industry leader with Melissa assuming the role as our Chief Accounting Officer,” said Swanson. “Melissa joins our worldwide finance team bringing tremendous experience, including several years in senior level accounting leadership positions at NIKE, Inc., as well as prior experience working overseas as an accountant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP.”
Additionally, Jennifer Warner has joined Columbia Sportswear Company as Vice President of Legal, reporting to Peter Bragdon, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel.
“We are excited to have Jennifer join Columbia as a leader in our Legal Department,” said Bragdon. “Jennifer brings a wealth of public company and legal operations experience, including work as Global Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel for the Americas at XPO Logistics, Inc., a Fortune 200 supply chain and logistics company.” Warner previously worked as Associate Counsel for Northwest Natural Gas Company and as an attorney for Stoel Rives LLP. Most recently, she was Vice President of Compliance and Chief Development Officer for the Ashe Legal Group and AsheWorks, Inc.
As an internal appointment, David Soriano, who has served as the Company’s General Manager of Asia Footwear in Zhuhai, China since early 2016, has assumed the role of Vice President of Footwear Manufacturing, reporting to Tom Cusick, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
“As a 21-year veteran of the footwear industry, David brings a significant amount of leadership experience in footwear manufacturing operations,” said Cusick. “To assume his new role, David has relocated to our Portland, Oregon headquarters to lead our Global Footwear Manufacturing team and maintain strong partnerships with both the Columbia and SOREL brand functional teams.” Prior to joining Columbia Sportswear Company, David held management roles overseeing footwear manufacturing operations in Asia for PUMA, LaCrosse Footwear, Inc. and NIKE, Inc.
Millennium Footwear enters South African market
Bulawayo-based shoe manufacturer, Millennium Footwear is slowly establishing itself as a major player in the region and is focusing on the South African market after getting an invitation to exhibit in the neighboring country.
The company has already established itself in other regional countries notably Zambia and Namibia.
In an interview, Millennium Footwear managing director Stuart Simali said taking part in exhibitions have helped the company penetrates new markets.
He said a number of retail outlets especially in Zambia and Namibia have approached the company with the intention of becoming its sole distributors in their countries.
“There are a number of retail outlets that have expressed interest to be our distributors across the region with more interest coming in from companies in Zambia and Namibia. We are, however, in the process of working out some modalities with regards of considering their bids.
“Most of our clients from Zambia, Namibia and Botswana have even insisted that we manufacture from their countries but the problem is that in these countries there are no supporting industries and as such it’s not feasible to set up a company there, it’s rather we export,” said Simali.
Millennium Footwear won an award in the best manufacturing, mining and agriculture sectoral category at the 12th edition of Botswana Global Expo held on 31 October to 3 November.
The Botswana Global Expo is an annual premier business to business exhibition organised and managed by the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre.
Simali said the company was overwhelmed by local orders and struggling to cope with the demand for its shoes owing to erratic supplies of various consumables by its suppliers.
“We have plenty of orders locally and we are struggling to cope with the demand of our products as supplies are facing difficulties in sourcing foreign currency for the procurement of some of the consumables we use in manufacturing shoes.
“If the liquidity crisis persists we are likely to see a situation whereby tanneries suffer the same consequences as our suppliers since they also export various chemicals for tanning hides and that will lead to operations being affected,” he said.
Deckers to add at least two new qualified independent directors
Following the company’s November 27, 2017 announcement, Deckers noted that its Board of Directors has retained a leading national director search firm and is actively engaged in a search process to identify at least two new qualified independent directors well in advance of the 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The appointment of these new directors will coincide with an equal number of retirements from the existing Board.
As previously noted, Deckers’ Board and search firm will consider all director candidates suggested by stockholders, including those proposed by Marcato. Deckers will consider all candidates in the same fashion and any such candidates would need to participate in the same vetting and interview process. To date, Marcato has refused to allow any of its nominees to participate in the Company’s established governance and selection process.
“We thank our stockholders for the input that we have received so far on our future board composition,” said John Gibbons, chairman of the board. “We look forward to additional stockholder input, which, when combined with our customary rigorous director evaluation process, assisted by our national search firm, will result in the selection of world-class directors with the right skills and experience to assist the Board and management team in overseeing and implementing our successful business transformation strategy.”
Gibbons continued, “Rather than participate in our search process and help our efforts to continue to deliver sustainable value for our stockholders, Marcato has chosen to continue this expensive and distracting proxy fight during our most important selling season.”
As Deckers previously announced, leading proxy advisory firms Glass Lewis & Co. and Institutional Shareholder Services recommend that Deckers stockholders vote on the WHITE proxy card at Deckers’ 2017 Annual Meeting. Further, Glass Lewis recommends that Deckers stockholders vote “FOR” ALL of Deckers’ director nominees on the WHITE proxy card.
SSI reports weekly active market data
Smania is increasing its presence in China after earning the appreciation of the local market. With the brand already operating in two areas in China, Smania’s luxury Italian furniture will soon be available in a further two cities, including the capital Beijing.
The Ningbo Acme Casa store is located in the Derlook shopping center, one of the most prestigious and famous in the city of Ningbo. Opened towards the end of 2015 in the heart of the city, the store boasts a full 700 sq m of floor space and displays several furniture pieces by Smania.
A few months later, in March 2016, the Shanghai Magifil store opened in the Red Star Macalline – Ogloria Global Furnishing Exhibition Center, another famous luxury furniture shopping centre in the Shanghai Minhang district. The 350sq m store is home to a number of Smania’s best-known luxury indoor furniture pieces, including the Adriano round table, Pascal 380 padded bed, elegant Harry bar and much more besides.
In Shanghai, shoppers can also find Smania in Oenotria, a shopping centre dedicated to luxury artisanal Italian furniture. Located in the Shanghai Yangpu district, it was opened in December 2016. Many of the pieces from the Contrast collection, which was unveiled at Milan Furniture Fair 2017, can be found here.
In southern China, Smania is present in show flats of Vosivo Casa, a company collaborating with the renowned Hong Kong designer Steve Leung. In Zhuhai city, a prestigious commercial and residential building houses the three Visivo exhibition spaces, where you can admire furniture and furnishing accessories chosen by the architect himself.
IN addition to these four stores, there are a further three sales points currently in the process of opening. Two are being launched in collaboration with Talmd, the renowned high-end home furnishings company. With the aim of providing its clients with an exclusive style, Talmd also offers a consultancy service around selecting furniture, materials and finishes, designing spaces and home decoration. Talmd will be opening two new stores, one in Beijing and one in Hangzhou, with both set to welcome a number of luxury Smania furniture pieces in both classic and modern styles. The Beijing showroom occupies two floors in a building located in an industrial area spanning nearly 300,000sq m, while the Hangzhou store has its very own building.
Imelda has also turned to the unmistakeably Italian quality of Smania for its soon-to-be-opening showroom in Hangzhou, with the new store set to strengthen the brand’s presence in the Chinese city.
The new openings provide Smania with further opportunities to share the beauty of its luxury furniture in both classic and modern styles in some of the most en-vogue stores in China, where customers desire the quality synonymous with Italian manufacturing and appreciate the unique style of Smania and scope for customisation offered by MyMood.
Hermès Makes Luxury Leather Car Interiors
Custom-designed car interiors are nothing new. Katzkin has created custom leather designs for millions of customers since the 1980s. Car companies like Mercedez Benz and Maybach have recently offered additions like luxury upholstery and granite interiors, which cost thousands of dollars. The most recent company to enter the custom market is luxury handbag brand, Hermès.
Hermès is offering made-to-order car interiors. If you have the means and the desire, you can conceptualize what you want your car to look like and then an Hermès employee will draft a proposal and send it to the design team. The initiative is called “Hermès Sur-Mesure.”
“We are not just a manufacturer; we are a house of ideas. And we like to surpass people and give some funny answers,” said Axel de Beaufort, the project’s head of design and engineering.
This is not Hermès’ first time taking its luxury leather to the automotive scene. In 2008, Hermès collaborated with French smart car label Como, creating 10 versions of the Smart Fortwo Toile H, complete with colored leather upholstery and saddle-stitched steering wheels. In 2013, Hermès created crocodile leather seats, for several Hyundai Equus models, which were exhibited in Seoul.
Whether the company produces handbags or car upholstery, Hermès will always stay true to its luxury craftsmanship reputation.
“We only choose products that we believe in, where we can add something and do something different,” said Hermès CEO Axel Dumas.
Fifty percent of Hermès’ total sales come from its leather goods, according to the site. Maybe these car interiors will increase this number even more.
Custom car upholstery usually costs around $2000. There is no word on what the Hermès version will cost, but given that the average Hermès handbag is around $10,000, it will be pretty pricey.
For now, Hermès is only offering the service in France, so if you want a designer car interior, be prepared to take a trip.
GARMENTS AND ACCESSORIES
Europe’s top court will rule whether luxury brands can block retailers from selling their products on online platforms such as Amazon and eBay, a move which may end a decade-long battle that has split EU countries.
The dispute between U.S. cosmetics maker Coty and German retailer Parfumerie Akzente, which sells Coty’s goods on sites including Amazon against Coty’s wishes, reached the Court of Justice of the EU after a German court asked for guidance on whether online sales bans on third-party sites curb competition.
Wednesday’s ruling could set a precedent for whether luxury products makers can prevent their products being sold by retailers on online platforms across Europe, a market worth billions of euros.
Coty, whose brands include Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein and Chloe, received a boost in July when a court adviser backed its case and argument that such a ban protects the image and exclusivity of its products.
After intense lobbying by LVMH and Richemont , EU antitrust regulators drew up rules in 2010 to allow brand owners with less than a 30 percent market share to block online retailers without a bricks-and-mortar shop from distributing their products.
Germany however has rocked the boat. In two test cases in recent years, the German cartel office forced Adidas and Asics to drop such bans, saying online platforms are crucial for small- and medium-sized companies and consumers.
The Luxembourg-based court’s ruling could determine who has the upper hand on competition policy in this issue, said Assimakis Komninos, a partner at White & Case.
Gucci is being investigated as perhaps among Italy’s biggest tax evaders. Italian tax police searched the so-called Gucci Hub, the 377,000-square-foot campus in Milan that is home to over 250 employees, last week, as well as Gucci’s offices in Florence.
The search was part of a criminal investigation into the brand by the prosecutor’s office in Milan. Italy’s La Stampareported that authorities were looking into whether Gucci should have paid as much as €1.3 billion, or $1.54 billion, in past taxes, a figure confirmed by a person briefed on the inquiry.
That would be among the largest tax bills to hit any brand in Italian fashion history, and among the largest bills ever in the country.
In a statement, the company said: “Gucci confirms that it is providing its full cooperation to the respective authorities and is confident about the correctness and transparency of its operations.”
Gucci’s long-established Swiss operations are at issue. The prosecutor’s office, Italy’s white-collar criminal authority, says that Gucci declared profits in Switzerland that should have been declared in Italy. The Swiss tax authorities tend to tax companies at a more favorable rate.
The inquiry is the latest in a string of tax investigations in Italy against prominent companies. Google settled a tax bill with the Italian authorities this year for $334 million; in 2015, Apple settled for around $350 million.
Gucci’s astonishing recent growth — 48 percent in comparable year-on-year sales in the first quarter of 2017, 39 percent in the second quarter and 49 percent in the third — has made both the chief executive, Marco Bizzarri, and the creative director, Alessandro Michele, the toast of the industry. Gucci was ranked 47th on Forbes’s Most Valuable Brands list this year, with a value of $12.7 billion as of May. These factors may have contributed to the prosecutor’s office deciding to focus on the brand.
Luca Solca, head of luxury for the investment firm Exane BNP Paribas, said: “The Italian tax authorities have been challenging a number of tax optimization frameworks — the case of Luxottica, Dolce & Gabbana and several others come to mind — with different levels of success,” he said.
When Leeanne Hundleby decided, on impulse, to send Meghan Markle a selection of handbags a few weeks ago, the 45-year-old mother-of-four had no idea the dramatic effect it would have on the fortunes of her fledgling Scottish company, Strathberry.
Last week American actress appeared on a Nottingham street on her first public engagement alongside fiance Prince Harry carrying a Strathberry bag. The ramifications for the small company led by Guy and Leeanne Hundleby was beyond dramatic.
The tri-color leather midi tote with a price tag of £495, sold out within minutes and the phones rang off the hook.
“It’s just amazing for us, it really is the greatest,” a spokeswoman for the brand told the Telegraph.
Strathberry was the brainchild of Mr and Mrs Hundleby, 46 and 45 respectively, who launched the brand from a studio attached to the family home they share with their four children and dog in Edinburgh. They founded the company in 2013, having noticed that Scotland was lacking a standout international luxury accessories brand.
Although neither had a background in fashion – she worked as a consultant in the financial sector and he ran a production company – they had always been keen to build a brand together.
They began by making intricate paper models of their first designs and chose to incorporate a signature metal bar, inspired by the leather sheet music folios of musicians and performers, in every design.
Having spent many months travlling around Spain when their children were younger, they had come across many families who had worked with leather through generations and whose skills and understanding of the material they found “unparalleled.” As such, they chose to work with some of those manufacturers, who continue to handcraft their products, each bag taking up to 20 hours to make.
The Hundlebys worked closely with high profile fashion bloggers from the outset and soon built up a cult online following, particularly in China. In 2015, when they decided to expand their brand, they turned to Kickstarter, an online crowd funding platform for creative projects.
Strathberry turned out to be one of the top three most funded UK fashion projects on the site with more than 500 backers pledging in excess of £120,000.
They now sell their collections, which includes more than 100 bags, at upmarket department stores in the US, China, Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong, as well as in their Edinburgh showroom.
Their most recent collection was strongly influenced by nature and “the beauty of the Scottish wilderness in winter,” Mr Hundleby said.
Mokuyobi Threads LLC sues Coach over designs
Mokuyobi Threads LLC, a company based in LA has sued Coach for allegedly copying its pins and patches in Coach’s ‘1941 Space Collection’ released earlier this year.
Mokuyobi’s copyright suit focuses on the ‘galaxy planet’ design, which appears in a very similar likeness on the Coach bag. Mokuyobi specifically claims that Coach used its ‘galaxy planet’ patch “without license, permission or authorization” in Coach’s ‘1941 Space Collection’.
Additionally, Mokuyobi has a planet, rocket and stickered suitcase trio of patches that appear to have possibly contributed inspiration for the Coach designs.
Mokuyobi makes brightly colored “out of this world” apparel and accessories with space being the main theme of its designs. Coach launched its 1941 Space Collection in May of this year, which includes tees, sweatshirts and jackets, small leather goods and bags embellished with patches and graphics invoking nostalgia for space travel.
Mulberry improves but still a work-in-progress
It was anticipated that Mulberry would report improved results for the first half of the fiscal year. It did, but profits and meaningful sales growth are still elusive.
The luxury company that makes handbags and fashion reported that in the six months to September 30, increased Asian expansion, improved margins from reduced markdowns, and increased cash flow were among the good news it had to report.
Mulberry’s new products have also resonated with customers) with the Amberley bag becoming a bestseller.
Total revenue was virtually flat at £74.6 million (actually a year ago it was £74.5 million), with sales through its retail channel up 2% to £56.6 million, but comparable sales down 1%. The gross margin increased 248 basis points (up £1.9 million) due to its full-price focus, and its cash balance increased to £16.4 million from £11.3 million “after higher investment levels.”
But while Retail sales increased, demand in the UK was flat. International sales grew 8% to £11.3 million with strategic locations showing “an encouraging performance on new products”.
Global Digital sales were up 3% to £10.7 million for the period from £10.4 million, accounting for 14% of group revenue.
Numanthia launches €95,000 Loewe leather barrel
Bodega Numanthia in Toro has collaborated with Spanish fashion house Loewe on a bespoke leather barrel filled with 2016 Termanthia, priced at €95,000.
The barrel is the fruit of a collaboration between the winery and fashion house, which are both owned by the luxury LVMH group. The 225-liter barrel, equivalent to 300 75cl bottles, is crafted from French oak and covered in Loewe leather.
For the ultimate bespoke service, those interested in buying a barrel can have their initials in the middle of the leather marquetry, which requires precision and an eagle eye. They can further personalize their barrel by choosing from five different shades of calf leather, including navy and tan and ‘ox blood’.
Available on demand, the barrel will be delivered to the buyer’s home in December 2018. The service also includes the chance to bottle the wine inside in the standard 75cl, magnum, 5-litre, or Balthazar (12-litre) format.
“The Numanthia barrel by Loewe is a tribute to the Spanish craftsmanship, savoir-faire and audacity. Together, we have reinterpreted a core symbol of winemaking, the barrel, in an unprecedented style,” said Jean-Guillaume Prats, president of Moët Hennessy’s wine division.
Numanthia is known for its rich, concentrated, powerful reds made from foot trodden Tinta de Toro grapes – Tempranillo’s incarnation in Toro – from pre-phylloxera vines.
The wine sees 200% French oak as it undergoes a second barrel ageing and spends a total of 20 months spent in wood, leading to notes of coffee, chocolate and leather alongside opulent black fruit notes. A 75cl bottle sells for around £120.
Based in Madrid, Loewe specialises in leather goods, clothes, accessories and homeware.
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Under Armour has announced its strategic partnership with EOS, one of the world’s leading technology suppliers in 3-D printing metals and polymers. The pair will work together to scale Under Armour’s 3-D footwear sector by developing advanced laser sintering technology—which creates metal prototypes and tools directly from computer aided design data. Under Armour plans to use EOS’ knowledge on the subject of industrialized 3D production, or additive manufacturing.
“With EOS’ industry-leading laser sintering 3-D printing technology, Under Armour can deliver shoes to the marketplace in a meaningful way, creating truly amazing, desirable products which solve our customers’ needs in ways that could have never been imagined before. Together, our two organizations make a formidable pair,” said Clay Dean, Under Armour chief innovation officer.
This isn’t Under Armour’s first foray into 3-D technology. The company has used the technology in the past to create its 3-D printed midsoles.
Now, Under Armour is looking to EOS to help create powder-based parts, while working together to create polymer powder development. Under Armour will also team up with EOS’ Additive Minds (AM) services to bolster its AM program, which aims to help companies adopt Additive Manufacturing.
“The shoe fits; this partnership is set to achieve Under Armour’s goal to industrialize and scale 3-D printing of performance footwear,” said Glynn Fletcher, president of EOS North America. “True additive manufacturing has come to Under Armour; no other athletic brand can make this statement.”
Spanish footwear bets on Russia
Revista del Calzado
The Federation of Spanish Footwear Industries (FICE) is committed to Russia as a new strategic market in 2018. To promote the expansion of Spanish brands in Russia, footwear employers will support the participation of companies in the two main fairs: Euro Shoes Premiere Collection and Obuv ‘Mir Khozi.
Specialized in brands of the urban and comfort sectors,Euro Shoes Premiere Collection exhibits medium and medium-high product and highlights the participation of great German brands. The fair has 200 exhibitors and receives 5,500 visitors each edition. On the other hand, Obuv ‘Mir Kozhi is presented as the best access platform to Russia for premium footwear brands. High level and high priced footwear is exhibited in the event. Most of the exhibitors are Italians although it also has a small representation of Spanish companies. The fair brings together 200 exhibitors representing 400 brands (80 percent international) and receives 8,000 visitors each edition.
Russia is ranked twelfth in the ranking of Spanish footwear customers with €33.4 million and 1.3 million pairs.
With more than 150 million inhabitants and a growing middle class, Russia is an ideal market for the international expansion of Spanish footwear. The Russian economy is beginning to show signs of recovery and the increase in consumption has led international companies to reactivate investments in the market.
The exports of Spanish footwear to Russia, after several consecutive years of declines, in 2016 reached €30 million and 1 million pairs, with growth of 1.2 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively. During the first nine months of 2017, data continues the upward trend. Russia is ranked twelfth among Spanish footwear customers with €33.4 million and 1.3 million pairs. In addition, it has the highest growth of exports in the strategic markets for Spanish footwear, with increases of 32 percent in value and 38 percent in volume. During the period from January to September 2017, 75.5 percent of the value of the exported to Russia corresponds to footwear in leather. In particular, women’s leather shoes represent 54 percent of the total with an average export price of €42.33 per pair.
Messe Frankfurt to add Leatherworld Paris
Messe Frankfurt will launch a new event in Paris for the leather industry in September 2018. Set for September 17-20, it is co-located with the the company’s existing events: Texworld, Apparel Sourcing, Shawls & Scarves, Texworld Denim and Avantex Paris. All these generally take place in conjuction with the as Première Vision Paris calendar, which already has it’s own leather event, PV Leather.
Texworld is said to attract exhibitors from lower-cost manufacturing countries (mostly in Asia), while Premiere Vision tends to focus on the higher-end of the market.
Messe Frankfurt President Michael Scherpe said many visitors know that the countries represented at Texworld and the parallel shows are also a good source of leather and leathergoods. Scherpe said exhibitor groups from countries such as Pakistan, India and China requested a niche specifically for leather-sector countries.
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In Brazil last week, the Real closed at R$3.2610 against the US dollar, a change of 0.7% compared to the previous week’s R$3.2365. Slaughter and tannery production is still low and despite the continued pressure for a price reduction, fresh hides remained stable. The exchange rate change was not favorable for Brazilian leather exports. On the sales side, there is little news. The average daily revenue of Brazilian leather exports in the first four weeks of November was only $6.8 million, down from $ 7.1 million last year. TR1 is trading at $0.90-1.00 cfr.
Heavy Texas Steers up $1.00 — Volume in 66/68 lb.Texas steers appeared to be limited due to the fairly well sold positions of producers. There were a few sales reported at $54.00 as well as $55.00. Offerings of 74/76 lbs. were seen at $65.00 and 84 and up at $69.00 but there were not any confirmed sales reported.
The overdone steak
Very few people want to eat and over done steak. Much of the flavor evaporates in the cooking, not to mention the tenderness of it. The steak loses it’s desirability.
What does steak have to with fashion? The same thing. When a fashion is over done, it loses it’s desirability, to wit, the mens at leisure shoe that has a white or contrasting colored synthetic material along it’s bottom.
While recently sitting in a waiting room at a Phoenix hospital, I couldn’t help notice that the majority of men were wearing various types of shoes, nearly all of which had the white sole along the bottom, along the lines of the above picture. An overwhelming majority wore athleisure footwear along the lines of the above.
The white bottomed shoe has now become, what I call the “Louis Vuiton effect.” Wealthy women around the world strived to have a purse with the LV label/style. They were high priced, were a status symbol and came in leather and eventually in synthetics. Once the top 5 or perhaps 10% of wealthy women had the purse, other women saved up to buy them and then came the knockoff’s that enabled all but the poorest women to have one.
My wife, who I consider to be an expert at handbags, can look at a woman wearing one and can always tell which is the real “Louie” or the knock off. As these bags became common place, the wealthiest segment of the population quit wearing them as the style lost its panache.
Speaking of my wife, this past weekend she dragged me to Nordstroms. There in their mens shoe department, most if not practically all of the non dress shoes had the white bottom, and some had other contrasting colors. At Nordstroms, there is no such thing as a cheap shoe, so if one can afford it, he will buy the latest style of the best brands, and thus the perpetuation of the style.
In my opinion, I think that the style is becoming overdone. Just like the steak, and the Louie Vutiron brown purse, it will eventually lose its desirably. I view this as an opportunity as major style changes create new demand and thus better chances for leather to expand it’s market share. This won’t happen over night, and may take several years to run its course, but eventually, the old style will become passe as everyone who can afford it, reaches for the latest and greatest. For leather in footwear, the change can’t come soon enough.