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
Instagram Takes on the Shopping Mall
- Facebook reports first-quarter earnings on April 24
- Facebook launched in-app shopping on Instagram last month with Adidas, Burberry, Zara and other brands
- Deutsche Bank sees the service growing into a $10 billion business in 2021
In January, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said shopping was one of the areas he was “most excited about” for Instagram in 2019. We learned what he meant when Instagram launched in-app checkout last month, minting a multi-billion-dollar business practically overnight. The concept sounds simple — consumers can buy items in their feed instead of clicking through to a brand’s website. But in making online shopping even easier, it has huge implications for retail. Some analysts project consumers will spend $10 billion annually through Instagram, with the platform taking a cut and the brands receiving the rest. Much of that business will be taken from from wholesalers, not to mention brands’ own stores. As Facebook releases earnings this week, look for guidance on how Instagram's new feature has fared so far, and what Zuckerberg might be cooking up next.
The Bottom Line: Department stores and mall landlords have the most to lose here. The more convenient online shopping becomes for brands and consumers alike, the weaker the rationale for operating vast networks of physical stores.
Earth Day Is Every Day. For Fashion, Will That Ever Be More Than a Cliché?
- Earth Day is April 22; fashion brands are releasing capsule collections and promoting sustainability initiatives
- Fashion Revolution releases its annual transparency index, tracking 200 brands' disclosure of environmental and human rights practices, on April 24
- April 24 is the sixth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster
Fashion brands love an excuse to show off their sustainability credentials, however flimsy, with Earth Day as ground zero for tie-in capsule collections, T-shirts and promotions. On a more substantive level, industry giants like H&M and Kering are making sweeping internal changes to minimise their environmental impact. Similar campaigns aim to improve conditions for garment workers in developing nations, though brands' living wage pledges often fail to match reality on the factory floor. Consumers are waking up; over 400,000 Instagram posts are tagged with #whomademyclothes for Fashion Revolution Week, an annual campaign centred on climate and human rights issues. Authorities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam and elsewhere who are actively weakening worker rights, are unlikely to be swayed by hashtags, but the global brands that contract with factories in these countries might.
The Bottom Line: How you feel about these initiatives depends on your philosophy — if you see the goal as minimising the harm of each garment sold, recent progress is encouraging. If your view is that the quickening pace and falling price of fashion consumption cycles are the problem, then all of these efforts are just noise.
Entrepreneurs Take Centre Stage at BoF West
- BoF West, a day of speakers and panels exploring the intersection of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and fashion, is on April 26
- Speakers include Serena Williams, Elizabeth Banks, Allbirds co-founder Tim Brown and Good American co-founder Emma Grede
- Only 2 percent of US venture capital funding went to companies founded by women
Fashion is an inherently entrepreneurial industry. New brands and companies start up every day, whether it’s a fashion student who dreams of becoming the next Karl Lagerfeld or a tech wizard with plans to disrupt the garment supply chain. The lineup at BoF West includes founders of all stripes, from Rich Pierson, who co-created meditation start-up Headspace, to Serena Williams, who launched her direct-to-consumer fashion line last year, and revealed last week she has invested in over 30 companies founded by women or people of colour (or both). Williams also appears on one of two covers of BoF's entrepreneurship-themed print issues (the other is beauty magnate Huda Kattan), which also launched this month and includes a step-by-step guide to building a company.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
"As amazing as this is, I wish they would use their money for other things like poverty and helping the homeless. They have so much money. Billions, not millions." —@alexhilton211, commenting on "Pinault, Arnault Families Pledge €300 Million to Rebuild Notre-Dame"
Professional Exclusives You May Have Missed:
- Why fashion's Notre-Dame pledges are good for business.
- The five most important things a brand must do when building a direct-to-consumer business
- How can brands stand out in China's oversaturated Instagram economy?
- Can recycling fix fashion's landfill problem?
- Chinese investors woo European brands. It's complicated.
- How to make sustainable fashion people will actually buy.
The Week Ahead wants to hear from you! Send tips, suggestions, complaints and compliments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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