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Worldview: Bangladesh Clashes with India Over Sari’s Intellectual Property

This week’s round-up of global markets fashion business news also features Amazon’s Saudi scandal, China’s watch market and recent gains made by jewellery giants from Turkey and Australia.
Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaking to the media, a day after she won the 12th parliamentary elections, in Dhaka on January 8, 2024.
Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaking to the media, a day after she won the 12th parliamentary elections, in Dhaka on January 8, 2024. (Getty Images)
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🇧🇩 Bangladesh clashes with India over regional sari’s IP rights. Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina has reaffirmed claims that the origins of a specific type of handwoven sari known as tangail saris are in Bangladesh, based on the garment’s links to the Tangail District in the country. After securing geographical indication (GI) certificates to protect the intellectual property rights of local producers, she said: “for the last couple of days, I wore tangail sari to show that it is ours. No one else can take it.” A dispute arose earlier this month after an Indian government official reportedly suggested in a Facebook post (since deleted) that GI recognition had been granted for the “tangail sari of Bengal”, implying its origin in India’s West Bengal state. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, GIs are signs “used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.” GIs “not only provide a way for business to leverage the value of their geographically unique products, but also inform and attract consumers.” [Dhaka Tribune, Fibre2Fashion]

🇸🇦 Amazon reimburses exploited South Asian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia. Amazon has paid $1.9 million to over a hundred current and former workers following a media expose chronicling abuses and unfair practices involving migrant workers from countries including Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan at the e-commerce giant’s warehouses in the Middle Eastern kingdom. [The Guardian]

🇦🇺 Australian jeweller Lovisa’s revenues surge 18% amid global expansion. H1 revenue reached AU$373 million (US$242 million) during the period, with net profit after tax rising 12 percent to AU$53.5 million. The retailer opened 74 new stores (including 28 in the Americas, 26 in Europe and debuts in China and Vietnam), ending the period with a network of 854 across more than 40 markets. [Inside Retail]

🇹🇷 Turkish jewellery brand Zen Diamond signs partnership for Indian market. Emil Guzelis, chairman of the Istanbul-based giant with over 400 stores worldwide, has partnered with Neil Sonawal, a former advisor to De Beers, to lead the India market expansion. [Economic Times]

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🇨🇳 Swiss watch exports to mainland China gained 5 percent in January. Exports to Hong Kong fell 4.7 percent during the same period, which saw overall global monthly exports increase 3.1 percent to 1.9 billion Swiss francs ($2.2 billion) by value, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. [BoF]

🇮🇳 India’s Flipkart helps drive Walmart’s international sales in Q4. Doug McMillon, CEO of the US retail giant which owns the Bengaluru-based multi-category e-commerce major, said the latest edition of Flipkart’s annual Big Billion Days shopping festival, held during last year’s festive period leading up to Diwali, was “the best [one] ever,” in an earnings call. Festival promotions in Walmart’s Mexico and China businesses also drove international sales. [Economic Times]

🇧🇭 Bahrain Duty Free Shop Complex posts double-digit profit growth in 2023. The firm selling beauty, fashion and travel goods at the international airport near the Gulf nation’s capital Manama posted 16.2 percent growth to 4.287 million Bahraini dinars ($11.38 million) for the 12 months ended 31 December 2023. [The Moodie Davitt Report]

🇮🇳 VC firm Peak XV Partners invests in Indian luggage brand Mokobara. Bengaluru-based venture capital firm Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India & SEA) has led a Series B funding round, with participation from existing backers Sauce VC and Saama Capital, raising 100 crore rupees ($12 million) for the digital-first company founded by Sangeet Agrawal and Navin Parwalin in Bengaluru in 2020. [Economic Times]

🇨🇴 Colombian underwear brand Diane & Geordi makes Mexican debut. The intimates giant known for its shapewear and lingerie products with more than 107 stores across the national market has confirmed it will open a store network in Mexico this year. The firm already has distribution in the US, Venezuela and Costa Rica. [Fashion Network]

🇮🇳 Court rejects Reebok India’s plea to become LLC over $250 million deficit. The Delhi High Court has upheld its rejection of Reebok’s application to change its status from an unlimited liability company (ULC) to a limited liability company (LLC), citing significant financial losses amounting to a net deficit in current liabilities surpassing assets by more than 2,100 crore rupees ($250 million) and legal issues. [CNBC TV18]

🇦🇺 eBay Australia awards $100,000 to textile recycler Dempstah. The marketplace has named the Australian firm recycling local textile waste into spun yarn through a network of local and international mills as the winner of its inaugural Circular Fashion Fund. Dempstah founder Guy Dempster said “this will allow us to house and operate fibre recovery machinery” and establish a micro mill in Tasmania. [Rag Trader]

🇻🇳 Vietnamese fashion giant Yody makes international breakthrough. The brand founded in 2014 that operates more than 270 stores across the country has announced its first physical overseas store will open in Bangkok, Thailand this year. Malaysia will be the next expansion target market following a deal with Amazon for the US market. [Retail News Asia]

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🌏 Tatler Asia appoints Parminder Singh as chief operating officer. The regional edition of the high-society lifestyle glossy has tapped the former chief commercial and digital officer of MediaCorp and former manager at Twitter and Google to lead its strategic development from Singapore. [BoF Inbox]

🇮🇳 Venu Nair named strategic partnerships & omni channel chief at Myntra. The former executive at Indian companies like Marks & Spencer Reliance, department store chain Shoppers Stop and Trent Limited has been hired to boost the Indian fashion e-commerce giant’s international brands portfolio. [Economic Times]

🇯🇵 Japanese rock star Yoshiki Hayashi makes Milan debut of namesake brand. The visual-kei musician behind heavy metal band X Japan showed his collection for Maison Yoshiki Paris, his second celebrity fashion brand venture following Yoshikimono which is shown during Tokyo Fashion Week. [France 24]

🇨🇳 Charlotte Tilbury names Chinese actor Deng Wei as global ambassador. The British makeup artist behind the eponymous beauty brand has tapped the Chinese star famous for his film roles in “Till The End Of The Moon” and “Lost You Forever”. [BoF Inbox]

🌏 Valentino names Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai as brand ambassador. The Italian luxury giant has cast the C-pop singer popular across Asia as a campaign model alongside South Korean actress Son Ye-jin and US model Kaia Gerber. [Jing Daily]

🇨🇳 Hogan taps Chinese actor and singer Tan Jianci as brand ambassador. The Italian luxury brand has announced that the member of boyband M.I.C. and movie star will endorse the label operated by the Tod’s Group. [Jing Daily]

🇸🇦 Adidas reveals aggressive Saudi Arabia market expansion plan. The sportswear giant’s regional general manager Bilal Fares said it aims to open over 100 stores in the kingdom by 2025, on the back of an office opening in Business Gate Riyadh and plans to accelerate partnership with the Saudi football clubs and designers. [Arabian Business]

🇨🇳 Balenciaga will present its spring 2025 show in Shanghai. The Paris-based luxury brand designed by Demna Gvasalia announced it will show menswear and womenswear collections in the Chinese fashion capital in May. [Hypebeast]

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