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Burberry and Beckham Rule London Fashion Week

This week, everyone will be talking about Riccardo Tisci's first show for Burberry at London Fashion Week, the 10th anniversary of Victoria Beckham's luxury brand and retailers' holiday hiring plans. Read our BoF Professional Cheat Sheet.
By
  • Brian Baskin

Hello BoF Professionals, welcome to our latest members-only briefing: The Week Ahead. Think of it as your "cheat sheet" to what everyone will be talking about on Monday.

THE CHEAT SHEET

Meet the New Burberry

Burberry flagship in Seoul, Korea | Source: Instagram/Burberry

  • Riccardo Tisci's first Burberry collection hits the London Fashion Week runway on Monday
  • Burberry unveiled a new logo in August, part of a brand refresh to jump-start sluggish sales
  • Burberry says it will stop using fur and will no longer destroy unsold product
Burberry's show will be the defining moment of London Fashion Week. Tisci and chief executive Marco Gobbetti want to reposition Burberry as a true luxury brand, after revenue fell last year. Their efforts were complicated by negative publicity over the destruction of unsold merchandise (common in fashion to avoid luxury products appearing on discount racks). The company now says it will end that practice, as well as the use of fur. And the clothes? Aside from an upcoming collaboration with Vivienne Westwood and a T-shirt on sale last week, we’ll have to wait for Monday (though in another nod to retail trends, pieces will be available for sale via Instagram minutes after hitting the runway).
The Bottom Line: With its fur ban, innovative use of e-commerce and rebranding, Burberry is embracing the future of fashion retail. If the clothes can match the hype, it could be the ultimate comeback story.

Victoria Beckham's Victory Lap

Victoria Beckham | Source: Courtesy

  • For her brand's 10th anniversary, Beckham will show at London Fashion Week for the first time
  • British Vogue is hosting a party for Beckham's luxury brand after the show
  • Neo Investment Partners bought a roughly 30 percent stake in the brand for $40 million last year 
Seemingly every late '90s/early aughts celebrity dreamed of becoming a fashion mogul. Few managed to crack the upper echelons of luxury (not that Jessica Simpson is complaining). Beckham, who jumped from New York to London for her Spring/Summer 2019 show, is a rare exception. The former Spice Girl has managed to win over critics at fashion week while cashing in via collaborations with brands like Target and Reebok. As the face of her eponymous brand, Beckham's tactics contrast with fellow celebs-turned-designers Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, who prefer their minimalist garb to speak for itself. Beckham has something else in common with many luxury designers: her label isn't profitable, with losses nearly doubling to over $11 million in 2016, according to the most recent data available. 
The Bottom Line: Celebrities can overcome scepticism to join the luxury ranks if they make fashion their full-time job. Building a sustainable business is a trickier code to crack. 

Christmas in September

A New York Macy's store on Black Friday | Source: Reuters

  • Target will hire 120,000 holiday workers, 20 percent more than last year
  • Other retailers expected to announce holiday hiring plans in the coming weeks
  • A growing share of holiday retail jobs are in warehouses to process online orders
It’s not your imagination — the holiday season is starting early this year. Retailers are getting a jump on hiring armies of workers to handle the annual end-of-year shopping rush — and if Target's plans are any indication, it's going to be a very good Christmas this year. The shift to e-commerce is complicating matters, as picking and packing orders at breakneck pace in a warehouse for two months isn’t an easy sell, and with US unemployment at a two-decade low, retailers are offering higher pay, bonuses and other incentives to attract workers. But distribution centres can't be ignored; last year holiday sales grew twice as fast online as overall. 
The Bottom Line: The annual holiday hiring spree demonstrates how e-commerce is turbocharging sales, but the costs of fulfilling those orders are spiraling higher as well. 

COMMENT OF THE WEEK

Burberry Spring/Summer 2018 | Photo: Juergen Teller

"I’m sure that many brands adopt the same practice, but Burberry are being called out for admitting it. One answer to a dilemma like this would be to produce far less!"

— Clemency Newman, on "Burberry Stops Destroying Product and Bans Real Fur."

SUNDAY READING

Professional Exclusives You May Have Missed: 

The Week Ahead wants to hear from you! Send tips, suggestions, complaints and compliments to brian.baskin@businessoffashion.com

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