Worldview: Australian Fashion Week Taps Textile Innovators

🇦🇺 Australian Fashion Week taps textile innovators. The country’s annual designer showcase kicked off on May 13 in Sydney and continues until May 17, featuring shows from brands like Acler, Albus Lumen, Bec & Bridge, Carla Zampatti, Iordanes Spyridon Gogos, Karla Spetic and Liandra. Off the runway, the Australian Fashion Council hosted an event featuring local industry ventures that aim to reduce textile waste. Three innovators were feted: textile recycling start-up BlockTexx, Mud to Marle, a joint venture between Full Circle Fibres, Deakin University and textile manufacturer Loomtex that aims to transform low-value Australian wool and cotton into high-value yarns, and the AFC FashTech Lab which ran a pilot programme for 15 brands to cut waste, transitioning them from physical to digital sampling. “While we can never compete with labour costs overseas, we can gain a competitive edge globally by leveraging the raw fibres here in Australia and right shoring, with advanced technology,” said the AFC’s recently appointed chief executive, Jaana Quaintance-James. [BoF Inbox]

🇰🇷 Coupang misses earnings estimates amid Korean tax investigation. One of South Korea’s largest online marketplaces, Coupang has reported a 17 percent increase in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to $281 million in the quarter ended March 2024. Analysts had forecasted $283.3 million for the company, which is based in both the capital Seoul and Seattle in the US. Net income plunged 95 percent after the firm included losses from the troubled e-tailer Farfetch, which it acquired in January. In April, South Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) opened an investigation into a potential offshore tax evasion scheme between the Korean firm and its parent company which is registered in Delaware in the US. [Bloomberg, Korea JoonGang Daily, Korea Times]

🇨🇳 Burberry wins trademark infringement case against Chinese firm Xinboli. The Jiangsu Provincial High People’s Court has ruled in favour of the British luxury brand in a case which was filed in a lower court in 2020, preventing Xinboli Trading Shanghai from using Burberry’s check pattern, deceptively similar logos and “Baneberry” branding. The court also awarded Burberry 6 million yuan ($831,255) in damages and granted “well known” status for the trademarks, enabling Burberry to enjoy heightened protections in China in the future. [The Fashion Law]

🇳🇬 Nigeria-founded pan-African e-tailer Jumia sees revenues surge in Q1. The company operating in Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and Uganda has reported year-over-year growth of 19 percent (which amounts to a 57 percent increase in constant currency) in the first quarter of 2024, reflecting $48.9 million in revenues. GMV at the New York-listed platform, which sells everything from fashion and beauty to electronics and food, increased 5 percent (or 39 percent in constant currency) to $181 million. [TechCrunch]

🇯🇵 Japanese retailer United Arrows posts 3.2% annual sales increase. The firm behind the luxury multi-brand chain and private label of the same name has reported total sales of 134.26 billion yen (approximately $862.16 million) in the 2023 fiscal year, up from 130.13 billion yen in the previous year. The company’s operating profit rose by 5.9 percent to 6.74 billion yen. [Fibre2Fashion]

🇿🇦 Amazon launches in South Africa, challenging Naspers and Takealot. The e-commerce major has entered the South African market, in a challenge to local competitors and other regional platforms like Jumia’s Zando. Fashion-focused China-founded e-tailers like Shein and Temu have also made inroads in Africa’s most advanced economy but, so far, Amazon’s local site only sells beauty products and athletic wear, not other apparel categories. [Reuters]

🌏 Turkey’s apparel exports to Israel decline amid trade suspension. Since suspending all trade with Israel earlier this month, Turkey has already seen a decline in apparel and textile exports to the country, from 1.82 percent in 2023 (when Israel was Turkey’s 13th largest apparel export destination worth $311 million) to 1.40 percent in early 2024. Turkey said it will continue the suspension until Israel allows humanitarian aid to flow uninterrupted into Gaza in light of Israel’s latest offensive in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. [Fibre2Fashion, BBC, The National]

🇮🇳 India’s Kalyan Jewellers posts 97% surge in profit after tax in Q4. The Thrissur-based company whose portfolio includes its namesake brand and digital-first brand Candere reported consolidated profit after tax (PAT) of 137.49 crore rupees ($16.4 million) during the March quarter. Operating more than 250 showrooms across India and the Middle East, the company saw consolidated revenue from operations grow 34 percent to 4,534.93 crore rupees. [Economic Times]

🇦🇺 HMC Capital acquires a 10.29 percent stake in Australia’s Baby Bunting. The Australia-listed alternative asset management company led by David Di Pilla has invested in the childrenswear and baby products retailer, making it the second largest substantial shareholder in the company. Bennelong Funds Management Group no longer appears as a substantial shareholder, according to a May 9 disclosure. [Australian Financial Review]

🇮🇳 India’s Arvind posts 2.1% rise in Q4 consolidated net profit. The Bengaluru-based company, which has a portfolio of owned and licensed international brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger and a denim fabric manufacturing business, said consolidated net profit rose to 990.3 million rupees ($11.9 million) during the period. [Economic Times]

🇨🇳 Swiss watch exports to China decline sharply in March. The value of Swiss watch exports to mainland China and Hong Kong fell 41.5 percent and 44.2 percent respectively year over year in March, according to a report released mid-April, just days after Watches & Wonders, by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The Greater China decline was one of the main contributors to the industry’s overall global decline in exports, which fell by 16.1 percent. [BoF]

🇮🇳 Indian jewellery marketplace Eternz raises $1.15 million in funding. The Bengaluru-based company founded in 2023 by Arthi Ramalingam has secured the investment in a pre-seed funding round led by Kae Capital with participation from Gemba Capital, IIMA Ventures, TDV Partners and Venture Lab. Selling products from brands including Giva, Angara and Kisna, the e-tailer plans to use the funds to open a physical retail experience centre to complement its digital platform. [Indian Startup News]

🇰🇷 South Korean regulators sign safety accord with AliExpress and Temu. “Recently conducted safety inspections on products such as those for children sold on the AliExpress and Temu platforms detected a large amount of substances harmful to the human body, seriously threatening consumer safety,” said the Korea Fair Trade Commission, the local watchdog that will now check whether harmful products have been blocked from sale by the China-founded e-tailers and pursue the creation of a Consumer Safety Act to make the accord legally binding to the platforms. [Reuters]

🇧🇷 Retailers and businesses hit by catastrophic floods in Brazil. The crisis paralysed the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, with four-fifths of the state’s 11 million people affected. As of May 7, 95 people had died, 131 were missing and 159,000 had been displaced, while 1.5 million residents have been impacted. Parts of the state capital Porto Alegre, population 1.3 million, were submerged, damaging retailers and other properties. [Reuters, Bloomberg]

🇮🇳 Profits decline 3% in Q4 at India’s Relaxo Footwears. The producer and retailer of shoe, sandal and slipper brands including Maryjane, Sparx and Flite has reported consolidated net profit of 61.39 crore rupees ($7.3 million) in the quarter ended March. [Economic Times]

🇨🇱 Chilean mall operator Mallplaza posts 14.2% profit growth in Q1. The company which has 26 properties across Chile, Peru and Colombia opened 196 new stores for brands like H&M, Decathlon, Victoria’s Secret and Miniso during the period. [FashionNetwork]

🇨🇳 Gucci taps Chinese actor Song Weilong as brand ambassador. The Italian luxury brand has struck a deal with the award-winning young actor famous for roles in Chinese dramas such as Love the Way You Are, featuring him in its new 520 Valentine’s Day campaign. [Hypebeast]

🇰🇷 South Korean boyband Stray Kids makes a breakthrough at the Met Gala. Wearing Tommy Hilfiger, the eight men in the group — Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N. — became the first K-pop band to have all their members walk the red carpet together at the event. [Vogue UK]

🇨🇳 Chow Sang Sang appoints Chinese actor Wang Anyu as brand ambassador. The Hong Kong-based jewellery retail giant has partnered with the star of films like “The Last Immortal” to endorse several of its collections. [Jing Daily]

🇰🇷 Burberry names South Korean actor Son Suk-ku as brand ambassador. The British luxury brand has partnered with the award-winning actor known for his roles in “Sense8″ and “The Roundup” among others. [Hypebeast]

🇨🇳 Coach names Chinese actor Zeng Shunxi as spokesperson. The American brand has tapped the star of TV series like “My Journey to You” and “Meet Yourself” to endorse its products for the Greater China region. [Jing Daily]

🇭🇹 Stella Jean designs uniforms for the Haitian Olympic team. The Rome-based Italian-Haitian designer has created the outfits for the Caribbean nation’s 15 athletes during the opening ceremony in Paris on July 26. [MSN]

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