Powered by easy-to-use digital technology, BoF has been a global publication from day one. But with a growing audience amongst French industry insiders and consumers alike, it was time to provide our French-speaking audience with a forward thinking, globally-minded resource about today's fast-paced, high-stakes fashion world – in their own language. You can check out the new BoF en français here.
Now, for our Week in Review. This week, we start with legendary French editor, Carine Roitfeld, who is the subject of a much-awaited fly-on-the-wall documentary which debuted this week in the UK. I have yet to see the film, but according to our columnist Colin McDowell, it fails its talented subject as much as it fails its audience. What did you think of it?
Each fashion week, there are always new developments at the intersection of social media and what is effectively the most glamorous trade event on the planet. While mass consumer brands from technology to packaged goods to automobiles have long sponsored fashion shows and events, they are now focusing more attention on the social media feeds (in particular Instagram) of fashionable superusers, who are, in turn, leveraging their large followings to tap sponsorship opportunities.
On a more serious note, the debate around the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh rages on. More than 1000 people died horrible deaths in what was an entirely preventable tragedy, argued Tansy E Hoskins, who said that more rigorous workplace health and safety standards must be set and enforced by the workers themselves — and that brands should not be left to police themselves, a system which is clearly not effective.
On Saturday, Milan Fashion Week will see the debut of Stella Jean, a promising ethical designer based in Rome, who is from Burkina Faso. She has garnered behind-the-scenes support from Suzy Menkes, Franca Sozzani and, now, Giorgio Armani, who invited Jean to show in his 550-seat teatro, one of the many new efforts being made to incubate a new generation of talent in Italy. It will be interesting to see how these initiatives bear fruit in the seasons to come.
And then came today's news that yet another young fashion label has aligned itself with a major luxury goods group. Following Kering's recent investments in Christopher Kane and Joseph Altuzarra, Nicholas Kirkwood, maker of towering stilettos and the creative director of a business estimated to turn over $20 million each year, has impressed the executive suite at LVMH, which announced today that it has taken a majority stake in his fledgling business. Many congratulations to Nicholas and his trusted business partner Christopher Suarez on reaching this milestone.
And for some really interesting weekend reading, I highly recommend Rebecca May Johnson's analysis of the demise of major surf brands like Rip Curl, Billabong and Quiksilver, all of whom have been under severe financial distress in the past few years. With the rise of formidable fast fashion competitors going after the youth market and the loss of the credibility that once attracted core surfing aficionados, it seems that these brands are all well past their prime, even if big private equity players have been swooping in to strip out costs and restructure the brands for IPOs or sales down the road.
That's all for now, but stay tuned for the best curated news and analysis on the business of fashion when we return next week.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Is Fashion Week For Sale? (Opinion)
Op-Ed | Preventing Another Rana Plaza (Opinion)
Fashion’s New Stella (Intelligence)
LVMH Acquires Majority Stake in Nicholas Kirkwood (News & Analysis)
In the Mood for Qipao (Global Currents)