The FIT Foundation has just named a new director. The non-profit corporation hired on fashion and design consultant Fern Mallis to take over the new role.

Mallis is most known as the founder, consultant, and author of New York Fashion Week. In joining the advisory board, Mallis was just appointed as director in order to help fundraise for FIT. Previously, she has received the Presidents Award for Lifetime Achievement from FIT in 2013. With an established history with the Fashion Institute of Technology, Mallis will now help further along support for the institution through the foundation.

The New Yorker also created Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis. In the past, she served as the executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for approximately ten years. Her vast experience as a veteran also includes working as senior vice president at IMG Fashion. Running fashion shows as well as an established philanthropist, Mallis has become widely credited in the fashion industry. Her new role at FIT Foundation will only further showcase her skills in this industry.

Wal-Mart’s recently launched startup investment arm, Store No 8, has just hired a new executive staff member. The retailer just announced bringing on Jenny Fleiss as its chief executive officer.

The new staff addition will run code eight, which develops one-to-one shopping experiences. Coming from experience at Rent the Runway, Fleiss brings on her skillset as a former co-founder and head of business development at the company. San Francisco-based Store No 8 will help expand Wal-Mart by specializing in areas such as robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and machine learning according to CNBC. The startup will be owned by Wal-Mart with access to the company’s resources. In joining the team, Fleiss will help transform the shopping experience online for code eight.

“The big mission is to make shopping magical and enjoyable for consumers,” Jenny Fleiss told Business of Fashion. “There isn’t as much magic in online shopping today,” she told the publication. Currently, the funding for code eight wasn’t explicitly stated to the public. It seems that Fleiss will be able to help improve the company within the next year or so as the new CEO, helping to provide an overall better customer experience.

Lifewear brand Uniqlo just named a new creative director for its R&D center in New York. Tapping the talents of Rebekka Bay, the brand has decided to move forward with its product design and development.

Bay will take over the position of creative director effective May 1. Last February, she left her role as creative director at basics brand Everlane. In her new job, she will lead the design team in New York as well as oversee the company’s product development. She will report to Yuki Katsuta, global head of R&D for Uniqlo and senior vice president of Fast Retailing, in her new job.

Previously, Bay has worked at fashion companies including Cos, Gap, and Everlane. In all of these companies, she held artistic and creative positions helping to enhance the brand’s styles and aesthetics. Moving towards Uniqlo, it’s likely that her experience will be a positive for the brand. With currently 831 operating stores, Bay’s first input for product design will show for Uniqlo’s Fall/Winter 2018 collection.

Online shopping destination Touch of Modern has named a new executive position for the company. For the menswear company, Egon Smola has been appointed to both president and chief operating officer.

Smola will be reporting to chief executive officer and co-founder Jerry Hum. In his new position, he will be responsible for day-to-day operations at the company. He will help develop and promote company culture. He will also work with Hum directly to help strategize for the business as well as explore more partnership and fundraising opportunities. "Touch of Modern is at a stage in our growth – which continues at a rate of 150 percent year-over-year since our start in 2012 – when it makes sense to bring in an established, proven operator with the diverse experience to steer us down any of the many promising growth paths we could take next," explains Touch of Modern CEO and Co-founder Jerry Hum.

In the past, he has worked with various start-ups and Fortune 500 company. He worked with GetInsured as well as at online automotive company Dealix. He worked previously with Yahoo to help the company’s global online dating subscription business. With mass experience in the digital realm, he can help propel Touch of Modern into the next stage of its business. “With such a plethora of growth opportunities available to make Touch of Modern the primary way to shop for a male demographic in a mobile environment, the challenge will be in determining which of many possible paths to follow," Smola said in a statement.

Uniqlo brings on veteran Rebekka Bay as creative director for R&D center

Japanese-brand Uniqlo is moving forward with a new staff addition. The company, owned by Fast Retailing, just named Rebekka Bay as their new creative director of its Research & Design center in New York.

She will take over the position starting May 1, just after leaving her role as creative director at elevated basics brand Everlane. In her new role at Uniqlo, Bay will be in charge of leading the design team based in the city. From there, she will also oversee product development for all aspects of the company. She will be reporting to Yuki Katsuta, global head of R&D for Uniqlo and senior vice president of Fast Retailing, according to WWD. She will “build and manage a team of dedicated designers and oversee the company’s product design and development, working as part of the company’s global R&D organization,” the company stated to WWD.

Rebekka Bay named creative director for Uniqlo

At Uniqlo, the first collections that will show input from Bay will be Fall/Winter 2018. As of March 2017, the lifewear brand currently has 831 operating stores. With Bay overseeing product development, her role will be seen in a vast number of stores, overall affecting the future of the brand. As of the year August 2015, the company has net sales worth of 780.1 billion yen, or approximately 7.2 billion US dollars. As the company is growing, Fast Retailing has doubled its earnings in the first half. The Japanese group has posted a net profit of 889.5 million euros (956.7 million dollars) in the first six months of its fiscal year, which ended February 28. According to the company, their sales have a growth of 0.6 percent to 8,752 million euros (9,413 million dollars). With Bay coming onto the scene, it will be interesting to see how Uniqlo grows in this area.

Coming from a background as a creative director, her experience from Everlane may prove useful for the brand. Although stylistically different from Uniqlo, both brands have an emphasis on quality and construction, which can parallel through Bay’s skills and experience. Bay also has experience as an artistic director and vice president at Gap. She worked at the American company from 2012 to 2015, helping guide Gap in its artistic endeavors. Before that, she came from H&M’s sister company, Cos, elevating the brand to its minimalist chic aesthetic. Working at Gap, she upgraded from dealing with a company with about 90 shops to Gap, who had over 1,700 stores internationally. With Uniqlo just under 900 stores, she has a similar high-profile position taking over the role of creative director.

Photo: Uniqlo

Vogue Arabia, the style bible that sought to put the Middle East on the international fashion map, has dismissed and replaced its Saudi princess editor after just two editions. ​

​ The announcement came one day after Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, the mother of three who previously set up a members-only fashion business introducing edgy designers to the Gulf, told media outlets that she had been sacked. Nervora, the Dubai-based publishers, announced Friday that Manuel Arnaut, who began his career at Vogue Portugal, had been appointed editor-in-chief effective May 7. ​

​ He is the second man appointed to lead an edition of Vogue in less than a week, following the appointment of Ghana-born Briton Edward Enninful to British Vogue. Even in the cut-throat world of glossy magazine publishing, it was an astonishingly quick exit for a woman widely known in fashion circles and feted for putting US supermodel Gigi Hadid in a jewel-encrusted veil on the inaugural cover. ​

​ "I refused to compromise when I felt the publisher's approach conflicted with the values which underpin our readers and the role of the editor-in-chief in meeting those values in a truly authentic way," Abdulaziz told Business of Fashion. "I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish in such a short space of time," the London-based website quoted her as saying. ​

A post shared by Yasmine Al Massri (@jazmasri) on

​ Arnaut has worked for Conde Nast for more than a decade and oversaw the 2015 launch of Architectural Digest Middle East. "The team and I are committed to working towards a Vogue Arabia that is the proud voice of the region, representing the strength and allure of the Arab woman," he said in a statement. ​

​ Nervora CEO Shashi Menon paid brief tribute to Abdulaziz, who was appointed in July 2016. "As the launch editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia, Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz has earned a place in the history of fashion and Vogue," Menon said. Vogue Arabia launched an Arabic and English-language website last year and its print edition in March. It is published by Nervora under license agreement with Conde Nast International.​ (AFP)

​Puma confirms François-Henri Pinault departure from board of directors

London - Puma has confirmed that François-Henri Pinault is no longer a member of its newly elected Puma board of directors, reviving speculation that it parent company Kering has begun to explore options for a sale of the sportswear label.

"We confirm that Mr. Pinault is not a member of the newly elected Puma Board of Directors. Mr. Thore Ohlsson is now Deputy Chairman," said a Puma spokesperson to FashionUnited following the Puma's General Annual Meeting in Herzogenaurach, Germany. In addition to Pinault departure, Todd Hymel, CEO of Volcom, a Californian based sportswear brand held by Kering, also stepped down from Puma's board of directors, which now consists of 6 members.

Is Kering preparing to sell Puma?

"Six members, amongst them two employee representatives, are sufficient for an effective and flexible steering of the company and also avoids an unnecessary cumbersome decision-making process," said Jean-François Palus, Chairman of Puma's board of directors during the meeting. "The last six years have shown that a smaller board aligns better with the company’s size. We may also not forget that a smaller Administrative Board also enables the company to save costs."

The departure of Pinault, Chief Executive Officer of Kering, came as the German label increased its full year guidance for 2017 following strong results for its first quarter. Consolidated sales increased by 15 percent to 1 billion euros as EBIT increased 70 percent to 70 million euros, which has only fuelled rumours Kering is preparing to sell the sportswear brand.

This is not the first time Kering has been faced with rumours concerning a Puma sale, even though Pinault made it clear in the past in an interview with the Financial Times that Kering would retain its majority stake in Puma until 2018. However, insiders now speculate Kering could be seeking out potential buyers now ahead of a sale, to ensure they receive top price for the sportswear brand.

Photos: Puma headquarters, courtesy of Puma

Marketplace Etsy has named Rachel Glaser as its new chief financial officer to succeed Kristina Salen, whose March 31, 2017, departure was announced last year.

Glaser, who has more than 30 years of senior financial experience in similar roles, will join Etsy on June 1 and will be responsible for overseeing the marketplaces global financial operations. She will report into Etsy chief executive officer and chair, Chad Dickerson, and will join the executive team.

Commenting on the appointment, Dickerson said: "Rachel has a long track record of success as a senior finance executive and has gained broad experience across a variety of consumer-facing, publicly-traded companies. She has also helped scale marketplaces that empower artisans around the world.

“Rachel not only possesses the right skills to take Etsy's financial operations to the next level, but she also brings a passion for furthering the Etsy mission and nurturing our vibrant community. I look forward to Rachel's contributions as we continue to execute on our strategy that we believe will deliver long-term value to all of our stakeholders."

Glaser most recently served as the chief financial officer of the Leaf Group, where she helped scale their global marketplace and consumer media businesses. Prior to that, she served at Realtor.com’s subsidiary Move as chief financial officer and held the senior vice president, operations finance at Yahoo.

In the interim period before she joins, Karen Mullane, Etsy's vice president, corporate controller, will serve as interim chief financial officer.

Edward Enninful to succeed Alexandra Shulman as Vogue Editor-in-Chief

London - Edward Enninful, the former style director of W Magazine, has been named as the new editor-in-chief at British Vogue. He is set to succeed Alexandra Shulman, who stepped down from her role after a 25 year tenure this January. The appointment sees British Vogue taking on its first male-editor in it's 100 year history.

Enninful, who is set to begin his new role August 1, has been called "an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist," by Jonathan Newhouse, Chairman and Chief Executive of Conde Nast International, who confirmed Enninful new role at British Vogue.

"By virtue of his talent and experience, Edward is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue"

Jonathan Newhouse, Chairman and Chief Executive of Conde Nast International

Enninful joins the team at British Vogue from W Magazine, where he has served as Creative and Fashion Director since 2011. He first began his career in the fashion industry at the young age of 16, when he was scouted as a model by stylist Simon Foxton and met i-D founders Trish and Terry Jones. He began assisting Beth Summers, i-D fashion director at the time, while attending Goldsmith', University of London.

Following Summers exit, Jones took appointed Enninful as her successor, which saw him become the industry's youngest fashion director at the age of 19. Enninful held that position for more than 20 years, contributing to other fashion magazines over the years, including American and Italian Vogue. Newhouse has citied Enninful work for at Italian Vogue, under its late editor France Sozzani, as having "attained landmark status in recent cultural history."

His influence within the industry has not gone unnoticed, as Enninful was award an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth in 2016 and was named the fashion creator of the year in 2014 by the British Fashion Council. His appointment at British Vogue comes weeks after speculation first began he was in the led for the position, with the London Evening Standard naming him as the "surprise outsider."

Photo: Courtesy of Conde Nast International and British Vogue
Jil Sander announces new creative directors

Jil Sander has confirmed that husband and wife duo Luke and Lucie Meier will be the creative directors of the brand. The news follows the departure of former creative director Rodolfo Paglialunga in March.

While both designers have lengthy resumés in the fashion world, this will be the first time they have worked together in a design capacity. Lucie has worked for other luxury French fashion houses including Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, and most recently worked under Raf Simons at Dior, where she took the interim reins with Serge Ruffieux before Maria Grazia Chiuri's appointment. Luke cofounded menswear brand OAMC.

The duo will show their first collection in June.

Luke and Lucie Meier named creative directors of Jil Sander

“We feel proud and honored to join this beautiful brand,” the couple said in a joint statement after the announcement. “We hope to show the affection we have for this brand through our work, as Jil Sander has had such a profound influence on our paths.”

Alessandra Bettari, the chief executive of the brand, said that she expected “the creation of very clever collections” and that the Meiers had “a vision which is modern, cohesive, and in touch with what is relevant now.”

The brand has undergone some interesting phases as the brand's namesake founder has left and returned to the company three times, having permanently stepped down in 2013. As for what the Meier's will bring to Jil Sander, we can most likely expect those traditional, strong luxury Parisian influences, perhaps coupled with some street style influences due to Luke's preferred aesthetics.

photo via: Jil Sander Facebook