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Overview: 5 Must-Read articles from April

By Vivian Hendriksz

May 4, 2017

London - As the fashion industry continues to move at an endlessly rapid pace, keeping up to date with the latest news has become critical to all professionals and experienced fashion insiders to remain on the ball. Sharing the most relevant, engaging and inspiring stories from the fashion industry in an accessible, yet original manner is part of our core values. Now as we charge towards the middle of the year, FashionUnited takes a moment to reflect on some of the leading stories and articles from last month.

Case Study - Primark: “Sustainability is not a marketing campaign for us”

FashionUnited published its first multimedia, long-form article which studies Primark's sustainable and ethical initiatives. This inclusive in-depth piece, which features unique content, such as videos, photographs, and infographics, aims to highlight the complexity and difficulties faced in bringing around systematic change within the fashion industry. It also aims to underline opposing opinions on sustainability and fast-fashion and questions whether the two can either go hand in hand.

“Historically when we did not say anything, people believed that we were not being sustainable at all when we were just trying to find our comfort level in communicating this,” says Katharine Stewart, Primark's Director of Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability. “But I find it more difficult to share what we are doing in terms of sustainability because we do not make capsule collections and can’t just hang a little label on it. We have to find a more holistic way to share what we do.”

Read more on Primark's social and sustainable efforts here: A closer look at Primark’s stance on responsible fashion

Photo credit: courtesy of Primark

In Pictures: Farfetch reveals 3 new initiatives at FarfetchOS

Farfetch held its debut conference FarfetchOS last month at the Design Museum in London, where the online luxury retailer unveiled its Store of The Future (SOF), its first foray into augmented retail. Farfetch also announced two other new initiatives during the conference - an exclusive partnership with Gucci, which lets customers shop a range of items from the brand with a 90 minute delivery time slot and a partnership with Nicholas Kirkwood which offers customers the chance to customize the brand’s signature Beya loafers and mules. FashionUnited created an interactive in picture report looking at Farfetch's new initiatives.

"Physical retail accounts for 93 percent of sales today, and even with online growing at fast speed, it will account for 80 percent by 2025. Retailers need a way to collect information about their customers while they are browsing in-store, just as they collect data from online searches," says José Neves, Farfetch Founder, Co-Chairman & CEO. "Store of The Future aims at providing the in-store experience of the future by giving visibility to retailers on what is happening in the store."

Read more here: In Pictures: Farfetch reveals 3 new initiatives at FarfetchOS

Photo credit: courtesy of Farfetch

Puma x Daily Paper: Bringing together the roots & visions of both brands

Amsterdam street-wear inspired brand Daily Paper teamed up with leading sportswear brand Puma to launch a unique collaborative collection. Inspired by African sports, Maasai cricket players, in particular, the SS17 collection brings together the best of both brands roots and heritage. FashionUnited interviewed Hussein Suleiman, the co-founder of Daily Paper and Yassine Saidi, Puma’s Global Senior Head of Lifestyle to learn more about the collection.

“We are very influenced by our African heritage and Puma has a huge history in supporting African team sports. I grew up wearing Puma jerseys myself,” says Suleiman. “When Yassine reached out to us for a collaboration I was very honoured. Of course, I really wanted to work with one of the top sportswear brands in the world.”

Read more here: Puma x Daily Paper: Bringing together the roots & visions of both brands

Photo credit: courtesy of Puma and Daily Paper

Wool and cotton price hit all-time highs as demand exceeds production

Profitable farms, higher demand from local apparel producers and retailers, higher consumer’s confidence levels and a profitability rebound based on growing margins are the main reasons why wool and cotton fibres are enjoying historically high prices. The wool market is enjoying quite an upwards ride in Australia, as the fibres trading on the Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) price have reported seven consecutive weeks of climbing prices per kilogram per week.

But wool is not the only fibre that has experienced a recent price rebound. While cotton prices had been declining for several years, they began to pick up again in 2016, when consumption exceed production for the first time in 6 years. What has led to this sudden increase in wool and cotton prices? FashionUnited Business Intelligence report looks at the recent spike in wool and cotton prices and examines the factors affecting these fibres prices.

Read more here: Wool and cotton price hit all-time highs as demand exceeds production

Photo credit: via Wikimedia author: Kimberly Vardeman

Why do fashion designers dress themselves in uniforms?

What does Giorgio Armani have in common with Steve Jobs, Karl Lagerfeld with Mark Zuckerberg, Anna Wintour with Mother Teresa? They are associated with wearing an instantly recognizable daily uniform. Jobs and Zuckerberg might be said to dress for the technology industry, Mother Teresa had little time for trends, but fashion designers and magazine editors? Aren’t they in the business of telling us what to buy and what to discard every six months? What gall, what sense of entitlement, what perverse elitism affords them the luxury of getting to stay the same? In this opinion-based article FashionUnited studies designers uniform dressing habits by looking at some of the industry's leading figures and their "signature looks."

“When I look at myself in the mirror, I am super-critical. I have to think of what I can wear that will look good on me. I can't wear stripes or bright colours because they make me expand," explains Giorgio Armani to the Guardian. "I almost always wear the same thing. I have an athletic body but am only 1m 70cm tall, sadly, and I know what suits me best."

Read more here: Why do fashion designers dress themselves in uniforms?

Photo credit: Catwalkpictures

Rana Plaza - 4 years after

Even though it has has been four years since Rana Plaza, the after effects from the industry's worst disaster can still be felt. On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Savar, close to Dhaka in Bangladesh, collapsed. The building housed five garment factories and took the lives of 1,138 garment workers, with more than 2,500 were injured. Tragically, most - if not all - of the deaths and injuries could have been avoided had the garment workers been allowed to evacuate early like other workers in the building.

To mark the tragic event's anniversary FashionUnited put together a timeline of events starting from the accident in April to the most current developments, including the Dhaka Apparel Summit, Fashion Revolution Day, efforts by the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, factory inspection reports and other efforts by local and international stakeholders.

Read more here: Rana Plaza - 4 years after

Photo credit:Zakir Hossain Chowdhury / ANADOLU AGENCY