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The Best of BoF | The World in 2016

To round off the year, we revisit the articles that sparked the most debate, yielded the biggest insights, and got the fashion industry talking in 2016. Today, we highlight some of the global stories that shaped fashion in 2016.
Havana | Source: Shutterstock
  • BoF Team

Illustration: Paul Price for BoF

In spite of the country’s slowing economy, stock market turmoil and a climate of uncertainty, China’s luxury market still presents lucrative opportunities if you know which direction to look.

Chinese shopper | Source: Reuters

Lowering import tariffs and tightening customs controls are among the Chinese government’s strategies for curbing "selling agents” who trade in luxury goods at lower prices. Will it work?


India is withdrawing 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation in an attempt to crack down on "black money" | Source: Shutterstock

In an effort to clamp down on corruption, India has withdrawn 500 and 1,000 rupee notes. BoF examines how it could fundamentally change the way people shop.

Indian model Bhumika Arora wears Alexander McQueen at Le Mill and Nirav Modi jewels | Source: Le Mill

India remains one of the most conspicuous growth opportunities for a global luxury market stuck in a rut.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the inauguration ceremony of the 'Make In India' week in Mumbai | Source: Courtesy

The ‘Make in India’ campaign is raising the profile and prospects of India’s garment and textile industry.


Giorgio Armani stages a show in Moscow this April | Source: Courtesy

As international executives and diplomats flock to the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum, is there cause for tentative optimism in Russia’s downtrodden luxury market?

Source: Shutterstock

In emerging markets that rely on oil to keep their economies buoyant, the drastic drop in price is making fashion leaders nervous.

East Asia

Seoul's Dongdaemun Design Plaza | Source: Shutterstock

With a strong manufacturing base, government funding and a globe-conquering pop culture, Seoul Fashion Week wants to become a destination for international buyers. But it won’t be easy.

North Korea's armistice anniversary parade on Kim Il-Sung square | Source: Getty

Fashion is an increasingly important tool for North Korea’s ‘black market generation’ to make small but significant changes to the culture and economy of the secretive state.

Ginza shopping district in Tokyo | Source: Shutterstock

Japan’s economy is dipping in and out of recession, but the country is still one of the bright spots in the global luxury goods market. BoF reports.


Prime Minister Theresa May with apprentices and scholarship winners; from L-R: Callum Brooke (Burberry Apprentice), Emma Sheldon (RA Smart Holdings), Mark Glasgow (Graduate Traineeship Winner), Hannah Porter (Graduate Traineeship Winner), Prime Minister Theresa May, Nabil El-Nayal (MA Scholarship Winner), Serena Gili (MA Scholarship Winner), Tom Chapman (Private White V.C Apprentice), Sam Lavelle (John Smedley Apprentice)

In her address to the British fashion industry last night, Prime Minister Theresa May never directly addressed Brexit. Here, leading figures share their thoughts on the UK's looming split from the EU.


An american flag on display in Macy's in Chicago | Source: Shutterstock

Unemployment is down, gas is cheap and interest rates remain low. So why is American retail suffering?

Illustration by Costanza Milano

Data shows Donald Trump supporters, buoyed by his win, spent more on apparel after the US election than Hillary Clinton supporters.

Melania Trump, future first lady of the United States | Source: Shutterstock

Despite the fashion community's near-unanimous support of Hillary Clinton, it will not be able to ignore that America's future First Lady's style now has a global platform.


Aerial view of Paris| Source: Shutterstock

France has been rocked by three tragic terrorism-related events in the past 18 months, raising questions about the long-term impact on France’s $18 billion fashion and luxury sector.

Paris, November 18, 2015 | Source: Shutterstock

Can the French authorities counteract the growing sentiment that the City of Light is not as safe as it once was?


Yemi Alade and D'Banj with their awards at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2015 | Source: Getty

Stylish, dynamic and extremely popular, Afrobeats stars are brand ambassadors for many multinationals in Africa but the fashion industry has yet to grasp their value.

The Huajian shoe factory near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | Photo: Aida Muluneh

Ethiopian manufacturers are becoming increasingly competitive and ambitious, but can East Africa really provide an affordable sourcing alternative to Asia?


Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro | Source: Shutterstock

Facing a weak economy and widespread government corruption, Brazil’s luxury consumers are weary. Yet fashion brands continue to invest in the country.

Middle East

Pilgrims in Mecca during Hajj | Source: Flickr/Omar Chatriwala

New retail developments in Jeddah and Mecca are evidence of the opportunity presented by increasing numbers of pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia.

Illustration: Noma Bar for BoF

With a new fashion council, a revamped fashion week and a growing reputation as a launch pad for big brand events, Dubai is evolving into a fully-fledged fashion capital for the Middle East and North African market.


Havana, Cuba | Source: Shutterstock

Economic reforms, improved relations with the US and even Chanel's upcoming Cruise show are all encouraging signs, but the future of the Cuban fashion market still remains uncertain.

Havana | Source: Shutterstock

Tim Blanks reports from Havana, finding the Kardashians and Kanye West amongst white clad adherents of Santeria in a city on the cusp of a new revolution.

For more articles like this, check out our Global Currents channel.

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