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Worldview: Afghan Women Protest Taliban’s Closure of Beauty Salons

This week’s global markets round-up of fashion business news also features H&M’s new partner for Brazil, Chinese sportswear giant Anta and Indian sneaker start-up Flatheads.
A beauty salon in Kabul, Afghanistan before a Taliban decree comes into effect forcing all salons to shutter.
A beauty salon in Kabul, Afghanistan before a Taliban decree comes into effect forcing all salons to shutter. (Getty Images)

THIS WEEK IN GLOBAL MARKETS

Afghan beauty salon workers protest a decree that their services are forbidden. In another rollback of women’s rights in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue, which is responsible for enforcing the group’s interpretation of Sharia law, announced that all beauty salons must stop trading by Jul. 15 because they have been deemed ‘un-Islamic’. [Radio Free Europe]

H&M inks deal with Panama-based distributor Dorben Group to enter Brazil. The fast fashion brand, which has a presence in smaller markets across Latin America like Peru, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and Costa Rica, will make its long-awaited debut in Brazil in 2025, in partnership with the firm that has worked with brands including Valentino and Michael Kors in the region. [BoF]

China’s Anta recruits basketball star Kyrie Irving following his split with Nike. The Fujian-based sportswear giant has inked a five-year deal with the American NBA player to oversee a signature shoe collection as part of a wider role for the athlete as the company’s new chief creative officer. [ESPN]

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Indian youth apparel brand Styched acquires local sneaker start-up Flatheads. Soumajit Bhowmik, CEO of the mass market digital-first fashion brand, told local media that the Bengaluru-based shoe company’s expertise would help his firm enter the footwear category. [Economic Times]

South African fashion retail group TFG appoints two new board members. Jan Potgieter and Nkululeko Sowazi will join The Foschini Group as independent non-executive directors to advise the Cape Town-based company on its portfolio of 34 retail brands, including Foschini, Donna, Connor and Britain’s Whistles and Hobbs, operating across more than 4600 outlets in 26 countries. [IOL]

Richemont drops on signs that luxury demand is falling in China and the US. Shares for the group holding brands such as Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Chloe fell as much as 10 percent on the news of slower-than-expected economic growth in China and a revenue decline in the Americas despite Q1 sales growth in Asia including China. [BoF]

Bangladesh’s garment exports rise despite global economic headwinds. During the fiscal year 2022-23, ready-made garment exports from the Southeast Asian country increased by 10.27 percent compared to the previous year, reaching $46.991 billion, according to provisional data released by the Export Promotion Bureau. [Fibre2Fashion]

Five new garment and textile factories will invest $50 million in Cambodian facilities. In a move that is likely to further boost the country’s status as a fashion manufacturing and sourcing hub, the Cambodian Investment Board has granted investment plan registration certificates to Taral International Co Ltd, Super Knitting Co Ltd, SSCA Garment Co Ltd and others. [Khmer Times]

Recovery in China helps Burberry offset declining Q1 sales in the US. Sales increased 46 percent in mainland China and 39 percent in the South Asia Pacific region for the British luxury brand amid an 8 percent fall in the Americas. [BoF]

Reliance Retail prepares for an aggressive expansion of Muji in India. Ryohin Keikaku Reliance, the joint venture between the Indian conglomerate and the Japanese retailer, is reportedly planning to open significantly larger stores and has hired a new manager, Nazmul Haque, who previously led Fast Retailing’s JV in Bangladesh. [India Retailing]

A strong rebound in China helps the Swatch Group hit record H1 growth. The removal of zero-Covid policy restrictions in the market, which according to an FT report, accounted for a third of group revenue last year, helped the watch and jewellery company behind brands like Longines, Omega and Breguet reach 18 percent net sales growth. [BoF]

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Singaporean beauty distributor Aura Prestige set to expand across Southeast Asia. The company, which partners with brands such as Aramis, Creed and Guerlain, has indicated that it is planning to further enlarge its store footprint in the luxury niche fragrance sector across Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and its home market. [Cosmetics Design Asia]

Mall of Egypt and Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall hold local designer shopping festivals. The former, operated by Majid Al Futtaim, announced the launch of its Lokal pop-up of more than 35 homegrown brands this month, while the latter will see Sharaf Retail’s Forever 21 host a pop-up with Saraya Designers in the UAE. [Zawya]

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