Every week the global fashion industry brims with news that is worth telling. This week, African Fashion International (AFI) launched a new e-commerce store for African designers, luxury fashion brand, Loewe launched a new bag to save the elephants and more.
AFI Launches New E-Commerce Store for African Designers
African Fashion International (AFI) is launching a new concept store at Leonardo, Sandston. The new store, House of Nala concept store, is an extension of the AFI e-commerce store, Designer Boutique, launched in March 2020.
The new store will house outfits from African designers such as Eric Raisina, Adele Dejak, Scalo, Gavin Rajah and KLûK CGDT. Designer such as Bongiwe Walaza, Millie Collines, ARA Emporium and Michelle Ludek will reveal their new collections at the official opening today.
“The opening of the store is the logical next step in our vision at AFI. While we aim to support local designers, we also want to ensure a convenient, safe and luxurious shopping experience for our clients. We believe that the House of Nala concept store is an important extension to our e-commerce store and (by) being located at The Leonardo, combines just the right balance,” said Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe, founder & chairperson of AFI.
“AFI believes that the House of Nala concept store will enable the company to grow sales for local designers who wish to continue to build their brands and to contribute to their business sustainability. We are also committed to supporting and nurturing a circular economy in the business of fashion. And we believe that by supporting local designers and providing them with a bespoke space to showcase their talent, the company can further its goals in this regard,” she added.
This new concept store is sure to help African designers make more sales following the drop in sales the pandemic brought.
Loewe Launches New Bag to Save the Elephants
In its annual collaboration with wildlife campaign Knot On My Planet, luxury brand Loewe is releasing a handbag made to save the elephants. The elephant bag is made using the traditional Shuka, a vibrant checkered fabric typically used by Kenyan Maasai Tribes to make shawls.
The tasselled strap of the bag is handcrafted by women in Kenya’s Samburu Trust. The colours of the traditional textile represent the Samburu people’s connection to their environment: red for the blood of cattle, blue for the sky, and white for their cows’ milk.
All of the bags are elephant-shaped and with a zip on top and a long tasselled strap. In different shades of blues and reds, the bag is unique and simple.
With only 300 editions, the Elephant Bag will launch exclusively March 25th, 2021 on Loewe and on MyTheresa.com. One hundred percent of the bags’ sales proceeds will be donated to the Elephant Crisis Fund.
Chinese Stars, Citizens Dump H&M, Adidas, Nike, Amongst Others Over Forced Labour Accusations
Following concerns of forced labour raised by Western fashion brands, many Chinese stars and citizens are dumping them. A-list actors and musicians, such as Wang Yibo and Eason Chan, are ditching their lucrative endorsement deals. Also, online retailers report an increase in demand for Xinjiang cotton quilts as Chinese buyers support domestic products.
All of this follows the announcement that several Western countries had imposed sanctions on China. On Thursday, Chinese state TV called for a boycott of H&M as Beijing lashed out at Western clothing and footwear brands. H&M was criticised for stating in March 2020 that it would no longer buy cotton from the northwestern Chinese region. Brands like Burberry, Adidas, Nike, New Balance and Zara were also called out for statement made as far back as 2 years ago.
Facing the most wrath, H&M has been removed from all major Chinese e-commerce platforms, while two popular actors cut ties with the company and state media published commentaries criticising it. On Wednesday, Chinese sportswear maker Anta Sports announced it was quitting the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a Switzerland-based cotton organisation, and would continue to use cotton produced in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
Boohoo Cuts Hundreds of Suppliers Following Allegations of Slave Labour
Online fashion retailer, Boohoo says it has cut ties with 400 of its suppliers to restore faith in its products. This move follows accusations of forced labour against the brand. The brand has now published a list of 78 companies with 100 factories it has approved.
In a statement, the brand said that it had ceased doing business with several manufacturers who were “unable to demonstrate the high standard of transparency required, despite being provided with opportunities to address any issues identified in the auditing process”. The claims raised against the brand included allegations of long hours for wages as low as £3.50 an hour and sparked a £1bn hit to its share price.
“This is not the end of a project for us at Boohoo but the beginning of a new way of working with our suppliers. We are driving positive change in the industry and want to play our part in rebuilding a vibrant manufacturing base in Leicester, one that offers good employment and great prospects for the workers and the industry in Leicester as a whole,” Chief executive John Lyttle said.
“The publication of our UK Supply Chain List marks another step on our journey towards greater transparency and embedding positive change, not only in our own organisation but through the wider network of businesses that make up our supply chain,” he added.
Fashion Designer, Guests at KL Fashion Show Under Fire for Ignoring Covid 19 Regulations at Fashion Show
Recently, Malaysian fashion designer Leeyanarahman held a fashion show for her Hari Raya collection that sparked anger amongst internet users. Following the release of photos from the event, the designer and guests at the event have been called out for not observing the covid-19 protocols at the event.
From about 100 people in attendance at the hour-long event, most were not wearing face masks or practising social distancing. This enraged many internet users with many calling the brand very irresponsible for holding such an event while the fight amidst the fight against the coronavirus.
The brand’s co-founder, Yaana Lee has responded to the allegations and refuted claims that they did not practice the covid-19 protocols. She claimed that they took struct measures to ensure compliance by reducing the hall’s capacity, providing facemasks, making sure that guests have scanned the MySejahtera app and had their temperatures taken. She, however, apologised for being negligent despite all the preventive steps taken.
Shanghai Fashion Week to Kick Off Early April
On April 6, the 2021 Autumn/Winter Shanghai Fashion Week will kick-off. According to the Shanghai municipal commission of commerce on Monday, this event is set to further energize the consumer market.
According to the commissioner, in the first 2 months of 2021, Shanghai recorded a 48.6 per cent year-on-year growth in retail sales. This is higher than the country’s average pace in the same period.
With strict covid-19 prevention and control measures in place, the event will see offline design launches. Over 100 new product launches in the city’s fashion landmarks will happen. There will also be online launches via a newly-created event called “Shanghai Fashion & Lifestyle Carnival” to promote domestic brands and designers.