This week in our global fashion roundup column, we bring to you fashion news from around the world. GTBank Fashion Weekend is set to hold this November, the Black In Fashion Council signs 70 brands to its pledge to make fashion more inclusive, Egyptian startup, La Reina, secures six-figure seed funding and more.
GTBank Fashion Weekend Returns For 5th Year
The Guarantee Trust Bank plc (GTBank) has confirmed that the 5th edition of the GTBank Fashion Weekend, themed “The Future of Fashion Retail”, will hold on Saturday, November 14 and Sunday, November 15 2020.
The two-day online and offline event will feature fashion experts and industry leaders from around the world. The event will also provide hundreds of indigenous small fashion business with opportunities to expand their online presence, reach new markets, and position their businesses for sustainable growth.
The event will feature Online Master Classes, an Immersive Online Shopping Experience with Free Delivery Nationwide, and a Runway Show. The bank will also provide an e-commerce platform to connect small businesses with consumers online, whilst still giving shoppers an immersive online shopping experience.
For brands that wish to be a part of the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend, the Bank will provide free custom-built retail stalls and sponsor all promotional activities to drive visibility and sales. The runway show will feature looks from some of Africa’s best brands.
“Fashion is more than just art or endeavour, it is a way of life, and as we make adjustments to how we live in these new realities, we are also reimagining how we create value for small businesses, the local fashion industry and our customers through the GTBank Fashion Weekend,” Segun Agbaje, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, GTBank said. “This year, key parts of our fashion experience will go online, but the focus remains the same; to drive the growth of our fashion industry by promoting enterprise for small businesses in the sector.
“At GTBank, we will continue to lend the full weight of our franchise to safeguarding lives and livelihoods not only by leading the fight to curtail the COVID-19 outbreak but also creating and championing initiatives that help businesses and individuals thrive,” he added.
Reebok Names Kerby Jean-Raymond New Vice President of Creative Direction
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Every time an interviewer would ask me what else I’d want to be a creative director for I would never say, but in my head it was always a footwear brand. Gotta shake shit up a lil yuh know? Thank you @reebok. I haven’t had a job in 9 years, so please get me a lunch box.
A post shared by Kerby Jean-Raymond (@kerbito) on Sep 30, 2020 at 6:57am PDT
On Wednesday, Reebok named Kerby Jean-Raymond its Vice President of creative direction. His role will have him overseeing the brand’s design strategy and marketing.
“I am thrilled to be evolving my role at Reebok and joining the leadership team as the head of creative direction,” said Jean-Raymond in a statement. “I welcome this opportunity to help invigorate the brand with new ideas, while also focusing on instilling a sense of social purpose into our work.”
Kerby, who has been vocal in the movement for equality for years will continue the design work that prompted Reebok to extend a 2017 single collaboration with his label, Pyer Moss, into an ongoing relationship with the sportswear giant. He will also spearhead ‘Product with Purpose’, a program that is part of the label’s commitment to United Against Racism.
“Kerby is a fashion visionary with a bold approach who has established himself as a leader and a passionate activist,” Matt O’Toole, president of Reebok said. “We are incredibly excited about the impact he will have on Reebok from a design and brand purpose perspective, and for him to bring his unique voice and direction to the Reebok brand more broadly. This is certainly a big opportunity for both Reebok and for Kerby—he understands the value of our rich heritage and iconic silhouettes and how he can build on that and take Reebok in an exciting and evolved direction.”
This month, Jean-Raymond, along with Kering, further developed Your Friends in New York, a creative platform that aims to empower the next generation of innovators. He was also named American Menswear Designer of the Year at the 2020 CFDA Awards and Designer of the Year by Harlem’s Fashion Row. He has become a resounding voice in the fashion industry and plans to use his expertise to reshape Reebok.
The Black In Fashion Council Signs 70 Brands To Its Pledge To Make The Fashion Industry More Inclusive
The Black In Fashion Council (BIFC), yesterday, announced that it has signed 70 companies up to pledge to raise the percentage of Black employees in both executive-and-junior-level positions.
Cofounded by New York-based fashion publicist Sadrine Charles and Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner, the organisation has nearly doubled the number of brands on board since its launch in August.
The new brands include independent labels, like Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch; luxury conglomerates, like Capri Holdings, the parent company for Michael Kors, Versace, and Jimmy Choo; retailers, like Saks Fifth Avenue, Shopbop; and two of the industry’s biggest talent management agencies, IMG and The Wall Group.
“The process has been long, but we are determined to see actual change and progress in the industry,” Peoples Wagner said in a statement. “Creating a new industry-wide standard as far as inclusivity has never been done before, but it’s needed now more than ever.”
All signees have pledged to work with the BIFC for the next three years to make integral changes and strides toward inclusivity. The process begins with one-on-one check-ins this fall, and BIFC will also be hosting listening sessions with diversity and inclusion executives, as well as Human Rights Campaign (HRC) experts, on the ways in which other companies have found success.
Early next year, each company will complete a survey that evaluates four pillars—human resources, talent inclusion, support, and corporate spend—which will be reviewed with HRC to generate equality index scores and create personalized action plans for improvement.
“We’ve taken a lot of time to think about how we move forward to make sure that brands are not just checking a box and that they’re actually committed to systematic change,” adds Peoples Wagner. “We’ve made this process so easy for brands to sign onto. Sandrine and I are doing this because we truly care about the progression of the industry.”
GAP And Arvind Part Ways Due To Impact of The Coronavirus Pandemic
Iconic US fashion brand GAP is breaking away from India franchise partner Arvind Fashions. This break up is coming as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it may lead to the exit of GAP from India altogether.
Arvind, which brought the San Francisco-based brand to India in 2014, confirmed the development. This is part of Arvind’s strategy to focus on select brands that are doing well and are profitable. Arvind stated that it has appointed an investment banker to find a buyer for the GAP business.
“Due to the pandemic, Arvind Lifestyle Brands, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arvind Fashions and GAP, have decided to mutually terminate their franchise business relationship in India. Due to circumstances after the pandemic, both companies agreed that a mutual termination was in both parties’ best interests,” an Arvind spokesperson said.
Arvind did not comment on the fate of GAP stores in India and the impact on employees as part of the move.
Due to the pandemic that forced a large section of the workforce to work from home, apparel sales have been hit and premium brands are expected to be one of the last to recover.
This comes after another US brand, Harley Davidson, decided to shut its India factory as it prepares to leave the market.
Harlem’s Fashion Row Announces Recipients of Icon 360 x A Common Thread $1 Million
In June, Vogue and the CFDA announced that they were awarding a $1 million grant to Harlem’s Fashion Row’s Icon 360 fund. The support was provided by A Common Thread, which launched earlier this year in response to fashion businesses crumbling during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Brandice Daniels, Harlem’s Fashion Row founder, Vogue, and the CFDA’s A Common Thread initiative revealed the 27 recipients of the $1 million grant. The money will be split into four tiers, and the winners include Fe Noel, Kimberly Goldson, Kenneth Nicholson, Sergio Hudson, and Abrima Erwiah of Studio 189.
Other designers include Kristian Lopez of Kristian Loren, Rodney Patterson of Esenshel, Carlton Jones, and Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece of Ashya. The recipients were chosen by members of the Icon 360 x A Common Thread board, made up of industry leaders like Cassandra Diggs, president of the CFDA, and Vogue.com editor Chioma Nnadi.
“It’s been a dream to provide financial awards to designers of colour, ” Daniels said. “I’m so grateful for the commitment of the CFDA and Vogue with this generous donation to Icon 360.”
Egyptian Fashion Rental Startup, La Reina, Banks Six-Figure Funding
Egyptian online fashion rental service La Reina has raised an undisclosed six-figure investment in a seed funding round. It will use this funding to expand its team and launch a new fashion subscription service.
Founded in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab after they experienced their own problems getting hold of a bridal dress, La Reina allows women to rent their evening and bridal gowns to others. It caters to women standing on either side of a demand and supply equation, with designer dresses as their meeting point.
The startup secured a US $1 million Series A funding round led by Algebra Ventures, Egypt’s largest venture capital fund, with participation from global VC fund 500 Startups, back in May 2018, and has now raised more money from the same two companies, plus a handful of angel investors.
La Reina will use the undisclosed amount of funding to grow its team and launch its fashion subscription service – The Box. The Box partners with renowned fashion brands such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, Mango and Stradivarius to provide the members with the newest collection to be used and returned within a week.
“We are proud to have such prominent investors backing us. They have supported some of the most disruptive companies in the region and are confident that La Reina has great potential as it forges along enhancing its offerings to become pioneers in the rental fashion space,” El-Tanawy said. “We created The Box to offer practical shopping solutions for women who lead busy lives but are also keen on looking their absolute best every single day.
“We want our members to become versatile in how they dress up while also encouraging them to create a very minimal wardrobe. Such an approach stresses on the importance of fashion sustainability, The Box helps to decrease the fashion footprint by 85 per cent with each subscriber making it a game-changer that shapes the future of fashion and how we consume it,” she added.