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
Fashion’s Biggest Holiday is Today
- Over the last decade, Alibaba has transformed Singles' Day into the world’s biggest shopping event
- Sales hit $25.3 billion last year, dwarfing Black Friday
- Tiffany and Moschino are among luxury brands new to Alibaba since Singles' Day 2017
The annual shopping frenzy in China — and, increasingly, other countries — will already be over by the time you read this. But watch the reports over the next few days about how much consumers spent and which items and brands were top sellers. Alibaba says customers spent $1 billion in the event's first 85 seconds (it took a whole two minutes to hit that figure in 2017), and $10 billion in just over an hour. For individual brands, a big Singles' Day haul can act as a catalyst for year-round success; Nike is a perennial 11/11 winner, and is releasing two Singles' Day-themed Air Jordans, while on the luxury side a Burberry limited-edition scarf sold out in a pre-holiday event. Skechers, which has struggled in the West, has turned Singles' Day success (1.4 million pairs sold last year) into a booming Chinese business. This is only the second Singles' Day since Alibaba launched its Luxury Pavilion, though luxury brands are more likely to rely on limited-edition items than discounts to drive sales.
The Bottom Line: Amid concerns about Chinese luxury spending, the stakes are higher than usual for this year’s Singles' Day.
Celine, Drops and the Future of Luxury Releases
- First Hedi Slimane-designed items go on sale Monday at Celine boutiques
- Celine follows Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Moncler in experimenting with new release strategies
- Burberry said its B Series drop brought in large numbers of new, younger customers
Never one to stick with fashion tradition, Slimane is shaking up more than Celine’s look. From what we know, Slimane’s approach to product releases isn’t as radical as Louis Vuitton’s Wizard of Oz-themed London pop-up or Burberry’s Instagram flash sale. But his chosen method — introducing a selection of core accessories far off the traditional retail calendar — offers a glimpse at how luxury can incorporate aspects of drop culture without going full hypebeast. The benefits are obvious. Slimane gets the spotlight to himself when fans inevitably line up to be among the first to own the “16” bag originally seen on Lady Gaga’s arm. One downside: Slimane’s critics will grab some of that spotlight for themselves. BoF readers recently savaged the “C” bag on Instagram, comparing its quilted flap style and logo to the Chanel 2.55.
The Bottom Line: By chipping away at the concept of seasonal releases, Slimane is leaving a mark on luxury fashion that is likely to live alongside his designs.
Helping Digital Brands Get Physical
- Neighborhood Goods, billing itself “a new type of department store,” opens Saturday outside Dallas
- The store will host rotating installations by digital brands, including Stadium Goods and men's wellness line hims
- Direct-to-consumer brands are turning to brick-and-mortar stores for long-term growth as digital marketing costs rise
It was only a matter of time before someone scaled up the pop-up. Fashion startups these days are quick to establish a physical presence, using stores in a high-traffic retail areas to drum up publicity and gather data on customers who might never stumble upon a brand on Instagram. Renting a storefront in a premium shopping district doesn’t come cheap, and Neighborhood Goods is among a new set of companies pitching themselves to DTC brands looking to reduce the risk involved. Other examples include Bulletin, which stocks products from female-led digital brands, and Storefront, which helps brands find short-term rentals in prime locations. Department stores, aka the original multi-brand retailers, are getting in on the act, with Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s inviting digital brands to set up in-store pop-ups they hope will attract a younger clientele.
The Bottom Line: Neighborhood Goods and other pop-up facilitators are a natural outgrowth of the migration of digital brands into brick-and-mortar retail, though in banding together DTC brands risk being lost in the crowd.
COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
In nearly 600 comments on Instagram, BoF readers split on whether Victoria's Secret's annual fashion show is a cherished tradition or an outdated relic. Our take is here: "How Victoria's Secret Can Save Itself"
"The Victoria’s Secret fashion show is a fantasy, the women are dreamy looking, not your average regular civilian, and I love that." -@luluvalentina
"If you want VS to continue to exist and thrive as a brand, they need to make changes. It isn't about changing the idea of the brand itself. It's about including a more modern conversation ... Their refusal to change is what is leading to their low sales in the US market, and the fact that they won't change speaks volumes." -@eggxhibition
Professional Exclusives You May Have Missed:
- The case for seeking out diverse influencers.
- Reinventing the celebrity hairstylist.
- China's celebrity ambassador minefield.
- Despite looming Brexit, luxury brands bet on London retail.
- How much does brand DNA matter?
- How to create the next Birkin.
The Week Ahead wants to hear from you! Send tips, suggestions, complaints and compliments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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