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Michael Kors' Crystal Ball for China

This week, everyone will be talking about fashion's reality television opportunity, US Vogue's September issue cover and Michael Kors' China push. Read our BoF Professional Cheat Sheet.
Yang Mi, one of China’s biggest social media stars, designed a special-edition Michael Kors bag to celelbrate Qixi | Source: Courtesy
  • 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.


Michael Kors is the Industry's Crystal Ball for China

Michael Kors store | Source: Shutterstock

Michael Kors can provide some clarity on two questions vexing the fashion world: (1) How long will the China boom last? and (2) Will the Trump administration's trade rhetoric stop the party early? The brand does most of its business in the US and Europe, but has made a big push into China in the last two years as sales slumped in the West. But Michael Kors is also more exposed to the US-China trade spat; its bags manufactured in China could face steep US import duties. On the other hand, the new WeChat storefront sells a full range of products, leaping ahead of most Western luxury brands, which have mainly dabbled with limited runs on the messaging app.

The Bottom Line:  Michael Kors is exposed to the best and worst of forces shaping the Chinese market. On Wednesday, we'll get a sense as to which side may win.

In Vogue's September Issue, Celebrities are Increasingly in Control

Beyoncé is US Vogue's September issue cover star | Source: Shutterstock

  • American Vogue is expected to reveal its September cover this week
  • UK Vogue released its Rihanna cover last week
  • Fewer celebrity covers are accompanied by in-depth interviews

September issues remain a highlight of the fashion calendar, despite the waning influence of print media. The business story is well-trod territory, so let's focus on the most-anticipated cover: American Vogue. Ahead of the reveal, the conversation has centred around whether Beyoncé — and not Anna Wintour — had control over the cover image, right down to the choice of  23-year-old Tyler Mitchell as photographer. What's more, many cover subjects now agree only to a Q&A instead of a full profile, reducing the odds they will come off in an unflattering light. Would magazines even have entertained the idea five years ago? Or even two? In the social media age, September issues may still rake in the ad dollars, but celebrities are in control of the content.

The Bottom Line: Magazines needs celebrities more than celebrities need magazines. Taking a cue from retail, celebrities are increasingly going direct-to-consumer, bypassing traditional gatekeepers to beam their message directly to fans.

The Fashion Industry Faces Reality — Television

Love Island contestants from series 4 of the ITV2 show | Source: Courtesy

  • Kardashians, Bachelor in Paradise have season premieres this week
  • Missguided saw a 40 percent sales bump from its Love Island sponsorship

Fashion brands face a conundrum: they want young people to buy their clothes. Television ads drive sales more effectively than social media marketing. But kids today don't watch television. Missguided and Love Island demonstrated a new path forward, with an innovative partnership that paired the instant gratification of shopping from a social media star's Instagram posts with the ubiquity of a conventional television campaign. The formula isn't easily replicable — Love Island's ratings were off the charts, and its format is unusually well-suited to product placement.

The Bottom Line:  Fashion brands will be eager to drench their clothes and logos over television shows, and ratings-starved networks will be happy to serve up sponsorship-friendly, social-media-ready shows.


Burberry's new monogram developed by Riccardo Tisci in collaboration with Peter Saville | Source: Courtesy

"All of the big houses are transitioning ... to become more modern thinking brands that are inspired by more up-to-date culture such as streetwear, so the logo change to something quite simple and basic has become an almost standard move of late. I'm looking at the Burberry [logo] and wondering if this change is going to be worth the many millions it will cost to switch all the stores, packaging, etc."

— Tony King, commenting on "Burberry Rebrands Under Riccardo Tisci."


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The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
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