Fast fashion retailers up prices without forgoing unethical practices

Competition among fast fashion retailers has led stores like Forever 21 and Zara to increase prices without cutting back on their shady, inhumane and downright dirty design and production practices, according to The Fashion Law.

“Additionally, [thanks to] the influx and success of other similarly situated web-based retailers like Nasty Gal, Missguided and Pixie Market, the most longstanding fast fashion retailers, such as H&M, Forever 21 and Zara, are being forced to up the ante in order to attract new customers and to hang on to the ones they already have.”

This has caused fast fashion retailers to stock their shelves, both in-store and online, with higher priced goods. Stores known for their cheaply made and cheaply priced versions (i.e., copies) of runway trends now stock $70 trousers and $60 sweaters, without changing the unethical and harmful methods with which they are produced.

Adding variety to their garments in terms of price, quality and, in some cases, brand, The Fashion Law continues, helps fast fashion retailers keep up with competition. Some even stock certain pieces on Revolve.com and other non-fast fashion e-commerce websites.

Alexa Chung wearing Topshop at Topshop Unique’s Fall/Winter 2015 show [source: Who What Wear]
“Another theory centers on the fact that influencers–whether it be Alexa Chung, who has been a proponent of Topshop for years, Olivia Palermo, who is a fan of Zara or Kendall and Kylie Jenner, who have been spotted in Forever 21 and Nasty Gal garments, and have fronted their own collection for PacSun–have increased demand for street brands, thereby driving up prices,” according to The Fashion Law.

In short, it seems high fashion is not as cool or desirable as it once ways. The more young consumers see social media startlets like Kendall and Kylie Jenner shopping–and designing!–fast fashion, the more likely they are to shop fast fashion themselves. Thanks to Kendall Jenner and co., buying cheap is trendy again, and fast fashion’s accessibility ensures young people will keep consuming it.

“One major factor [in the rise of fast fashion prices] has been this real push globally by some of the fashion industry’s most influential bloggers and fashion editors, who have said to the world, ‘it’s OK to mix and match,’” says Simon Lock, owner and CEO of The Lock Group and the pioneering force behind Mercedes-Benz Australia Fashion Week.

“It’s OK to wear a Chloe top with a pair of Zara or H&M jeans. With that has come a certain amount of prestige that is then associated with these fast fashion brands and as a result, consumers are willing to pay more for it.”

Lock is not alone in believing this theory. In fact, it is an idea he has in common with Anna Wintour, esteemed Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine.

Bercu on the cover of Wintour’s first Vogue, November 1988 [source: Vogue]
“[Wintour’s] first-ever Vogue cover, from the November 1988 issue, featured model Michaela Bercu in a Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele-styled look of a haute couture Christian Lacroix jacket and stonewashed Guess jeans,” according to The Fashion Law.

The Christian Lacroix jacket, Wintour revealed in 2012, came with a matching skirt. But, Bercu gained a little weight prior to her photoshoot with Vogue–she had been on vacation at home in Israel–so the skirt did not fit her.

“It was so unlike the studied and elegant close-ups that were typical of Vogue’s covers back then, with tons of makeup and major jewelry. This one broke all the rules. Michaela wasn’t looking at you, and worse, she had her eyes almost closed. Her hair was blowing across her face. It looked easy, casual, a moment that had been snapped on the street, which it had been, and which was the whole point,” Wintour continued, reflecting on the issue on Vogue’s 120th anniversary.

“I had just looked at that picture and sensed the winds of change. And you can’t ask for more from a cover image than that.”

It seems Wintour was ahead of her time.

Advertisements

Teen Vogue employees face backlash after making racist remarks on Twitter

Teen Vogue employees Lara Witt and Lauren Duca are under scrutiny after posting racially insensitive and downright hateful remarks on Twitter. On March 18, Witt (@Femmefeministe) wrote, “Also white people are evil. Whiteness is evil.”

Duca’s (@laurenduca) remarks came nearly a year earlier when she wrote, “Friendly reminder that there’s an uneven playing field, and straight, white men are generally trash,” on May 27, 2016. Both Witt and Duca have verified Twitter accounts.

[source: Twitter user @Femmefeministe]
[source: Twitter user @laurenduca]
Teen Vogue’s website lists Witt as an author and Duca as a weekend editor. While both face a ton of backlash via Twitter from Teen Vogue fans and critics alike (more on that later!), Heat Street noticed something suspect about Witt in particular. In an article titled “Feminist writer Lara Witt’s very un-woke Twitter history,” Joe Simonson points out several cases in which the Teen Vogue author spewed highly hypocritical sentiments.

“Witt is a master at this social justice warrior pastime…When she’s not writing riveting columns at publications like Teen Vogue entitled ‘What I learned from DAPL protestors as a woman of color,’ or ‘Stop weaponizing ciracial children,’ at Wear Your Voice Magazine she’s letting the internet know just how terrible everybody and everything is,” Simonson writes.

“But what about Witt herself?  Has she always acted with the same kind of purity she demands from others?”

When it comes to body shaming, a concern among feminists, Witt is guilty of it herself.

Per Heat Street, Witt tweeted, “Nothing bothers me more than ignorant people who think they’re smart. Well, that and fat people who take up [two] seats [on] the bus,” on April 12, 2011.

A little over a year later, Witt wrote, “The number of women in Philly that are in their early 20s and overweight is alarming. #America.”

Witt also took to Twitter to criticize a man’s outfit choice on a city street: “Come on, dude, it’s the city, put on some fucking shoes and decent attire. Fat, lazy American,” she wrote on May 30, 2012. She also included a snapshot of the man and his friend, which they clearly did not know was being taken.

[source: Twitter user @Femmefeministe via Heat Street]
Slut-shaming is another hot button issue about which feminists preach ad nauseam. Of course a social justice warrior and liberal like Witt would never participate in such misogynistic behavior–at least, that is what she wants her followers to believe.

On January 4, Witt tweeted, “You’re shamed for any sense of sexual agency and pleasure. I can’t tell you how many times I was called a whore when I was only 18.”

Simonson notes, “What about dangerous and violent gendered language against women? Surely someone like Lara would never slut-shame, right? It’s not like she’s specifically written articles attacking people who slut shamed Kim Kardashian.”

But, five years earlier she slut-shamed a fellow woman. “Wait, what?! #KimKardashian only got married for publicity? What groundbreaking news. I didn’t know she wasn’t an attention whore,” Witt wrote on October 31, 2011.

According to Simonson, “[Witt] at least she recognizes the problematic nature of using the word crazy, right?  She frequently writes columns centered around mental health and wellness.”

Not exactly. On September 15, 2011 she tweeted, “Hearing this woman’s bed bug issue while [on] the bus is driving me crazy.”

Lastly, Witt took to Twitter not once, but twice to bash “fat, male, slutty Jews,” according to Simonson.

“I find it despicable that some Jewish figures are decrying rockets being launched at them. Israel has the means to protect itself,” she tweeted on July 29, 2014.

In response to her own tweet, Witt also wrote, “Gaza has no way to protect itself from the very government that has kept it handicapped for years. Gaza is oppressed; Israel is a terrorist.”

But, let’s get back to backlash both Witt and Duca are currently facing on the social media platform. In a March 19 tweet highlighting both aforementioned racist remarks by the two Teen Vogue employees, an account called Tennessee (@TEN_GOP) wrote, “Hey @TeenVogue, care to comment on blatant racism from your employees?” Teen Vogue has yet to respond publicly.

@AM_Gwynn responds, “@TEN_GOP @TeenVogue Perhaps this needs the attention of a hate crime agency?” and “This should go viral. Teen Vogue prefers protecting real racists over profit and reputation? This is not acceptable.

@PrettyFru writes, “@TEN_GOP @TeenVogue I’m just about to my limit with this hypocrisy! Never be apologetic for being ANY color–it wasn’t your choice.”

@jtoufas says, “@TEN_GOP @TeenVogue, “Both of these tweets sound ignorant. Why does the color of skin mean anything?”

Lastly, @indigoblue65 writes, “@TEN_GOP @TeenVogue Shocked you’re allowing such hateful, racist people to write for such an influential [magazine] for teens!”

That’s not all, though. A simple search for Witt or Duca’s account on Twitter’s app or website yields a ton of criticism aimed directly at the young writers.

Exploring the garment gap: why high fashion brands sell more accessories than clothes

If you take a walk on any college campus, you will notice one thing for certain: a plethora of young women who tote designer handbags and trek in name-brand shoes, yet sport low-end loungewear in terms of clothing. And, it is no accident that a large percentage of young women dress this way. Their style, or lack thereof, is evidence of the garment gap: the phenomenon in which luxury clothing brands sell exponentially more accessories than actual garments.

“For me [producing every single look from the runway for retail] is absolutely necessary,” Dries Van Noten told The Talks in 2015.

Per The Fashion Law, the Belgian designer’s sentiment “sheds light on his ongoing resistance to conforming to a larger practice in the fashion industry,” i.e., “brands’ reliance on the sales of non-runway–and in many cases, non-garment–goods to derive the majority of their profits.”

There is no question that many big-name designers (think: Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent) sell more handbags, shoes, even makeup and fragrance than they do clothing. In fact, “leather goods represent over 50 percent of the €7.9 billion that the conglomerate’s luxury division earned in revenue for the 2015 fiscal year,” while “ready-to-wear accounted for only 16 percent,” according to The Fashion Law.

“At Louis Vuitton–by far LVMH’s most valuable and recognizable brand, accounting for no less than one-third of total group sales and almost half of its profit–bags play a significant role,” The Fashion Law Continues.

“[Louis Vuitton’s] current roster of bags and related accessories includes upwards of 850 products,” while “shop-able womenswear collections consist of just over 380 products.”

To anyone with fair reasoning skills, it may seem pretty pointless, for lack of a better term, for luxury fashion brands to design clothes anymore. After all, both the amount of effort and the cost of putting together just one fashion show are extremely high. But, high fashion has never been logical or practical–quite the opposite, in fact. The Fashion Law lists two major reasons high-fashion brands continue to show garments on the runway, despite the fact they never make the transition to retail:

“The first [is] that runway garments are simply not meant to represent marketable items but instead, serve a different purpose.”

“One could argue that modern day couture and ready-to-wear shows, in many cases, are more akin to large scale marketing events for brands–for the purpose of enabling and/or maintaining lucrative licensing deals–than buying opportunities for clients.”

When you think this through, it actually makes a lot of sense in today’s society. Fashion shows once served as buying opportunities for clients, as The Fashion Law states, but today, Fashion shows are more like pseudo-events. That is, they exist purely for publicity.

Chanel Fall/Winter 2017/2018 at Paris Fashion Week, March 2017 [source: Fashionisers]
“Over-the-top shows serve as an opportunity for brands to market themselves as luxury fashion brands,” The Fashion Law continues, bringing us to the second reason.

“The second reason centers on the tactic of putting runway garments on the back-burner in favor of brands more strongly pushing runway accessories and derivatives thereof–namely, bags and sometimes, shoes, [as well as] watered down garments, as these have proven to be key sources of income for brands.”

Plainly, this means clothes just aren’t selling for most high-end designers.

“For luxury brands, it is about licensing and handbags with nearly everything else taking the form of marketing,” according to The Fashion Law.

Thanks to Paris-based brands like Saint Laurent and Vetements, “the most recent rise of ‘it’ items…are not limited to bags.” Ultimately, when it comes to Saint Laurent, you think biker jackets, not purses. And, when it comes to Vetements, you think hoodies, sweats and activewear–definitely not handbags.

“Hoodies, bomber jackets, statement jeans and other eye-catching garments have taken center stage in street style shots, in Gucci stores, in editorials and elsewhere.”

But, this is a rarity and, not to mention, an extremely new phenomenon in the fashion industry.

“Most runway pieces never get produced. They’re marketing exercises. The legacy brands aren’t in the fashion business anymore. They’re selling handbags and lipstick,” Cameron Silver, founder of Decades, the posh Los Angeles vintage clothing store, told The Daily Beast last year.

Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2017/2018 at Paris Fashion Week, February 2017 [source: Fashionisers]
“According to a report released by Exane BNP Paribas, accessories– namely, handbags–dominate in the luxury market. They represent one of the few categories with high sales densities and full-price sell-through rates,” according to The Fashion Law.

“As of 2016, they account for almost 30 percent of the total global luxury market, up from just 18 percent in 2003.”

So, why isn’t high fashion selling?

Silver has an answer: “Luxury brands have alienated the luxury customer.”

“Bloggers and celebrities, who either borrow or get clothes free, have replaced paying customers in the hearts, minds and front rows of fashion’s nabobs,” according to The Daily Beast.

Blogger Jetset Justine carries a Neverfull by Louis Vuitton and wears sunglasses by Ray-Ban [source: jetsetjustine.com]
“Runway clothes are made for magazines or loans,” Silver continues.

“Customers are low on the totem pole and they’re starting to rebel. It started in the mid-’90s with the red carpet and celebrities. Who wants to pay $250,000 for a couture dress they’ve seen loaned to some actress six months earlier?”

But, it’s not only couture that is failing to sell. Fast fashion has also taken its toll on ready-to-wear sales.

“Thanks to the Internet, [ready-to-wear] is also now instantly over-exposed,” writes The Daily Beast.

“By the time it’s in stores, it looks tired,” says Silver.

“The quirkiness of luxury, the artisanal experience, has largely been lost.”

Bloggers Chiara Ferragni and Aimee Song, among others, sit front row at Tommy Hilfiger’s Fall 2015 fashion show [source: runwaynewsroom.tommy.com]

Meet The M: every blogger’s favorite jewelry brand

Thanks to bloggers and influencers, the brands they promote gain popularity through the power of social media. Big names in fashion, beauty and lifestyle like Triangl Swimwear, Are You Am I, Pop & Suki and Glossier all rose to fame via promotions (sponsored or otherwise) from top bloggers and Instagram-ers.

If you keep up with any of these bloggers or social media influencers, it is very likely you’ve heard of The M: a Manhattan-based jewelry retailer specializing in personalized and nameplate pieces. It seems influencers, bloggers and models from coast to coast are obsessing over this up-and-coming Insta-worthy brand!

YouTuber Lauren Elizabeth in The Old English Choker (top) [source: Instagram users @themjewelers]
Bella Hadid in The Gothic Choker Nameplate [source: Instagram user @themjewelers]
Blogger Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What is a fan, as are YouTube sensations Lauren Elizabeth and Maddi Bragg; young supermodels like Romee Strijd and Bella Hadid have also been spotted in The M chokers. Dainty yet unique, The M designs updated pieces that are reminiscent of Millennials’ childhoods.

After their original stint in the 1990s, chokers came back into style over a year ago. Since then, online-based jewelers like The M reinvented this childhood favorite into a chic and sophisticated accessory that can be worn in both casual and formal settings, as exhibited by the brand’s high-profile fanbase. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that personalization has also been one of the past year’s hottest trends; it seems every other blogger owns a satin bomber jacket emblazoned with her name.

Romee Strijd in The Gotchic Choker necklace [source: Instagram user @themjewelers)
With over 216,000 Instagram followers alone, The M, which has a sizable and popular online boutique, competes with traditional jewelry retailers like Kendra Scott and David Yurman. Sure, Scott and Yurman have been household name long before The M’s rise to fame, but this social media star know exactly how to connect to its customers.

Branding via social media is nothing new, but few companies are so successful with it that they become anything more than a 15-minute fad. Most brands that start out on social media lack consistency and fail to truly connect with potential customers and followers, quickly turning them into a thing of the past.

By posting personal snapshots–including selfies, a Millennial favorite–of It girl customers like Devon Lee Carlson (older sister of YouTuber Sydney Carlson), The M becomes a friendly, relatable brand–especially when compared to standoffish high-end brands like Tiffany & Co.

Similarly, fans of the brand feel more connected  to these bloggers and influencers than they do to aloof models utilized by traditional retailers. After all, shots of young women grabbing a casual coffee with friends are way more welcoming than the luxurious settings designed by advertising professionals in the jewelry realm.

The M’s price point may also draw in followers. One of the brand’s most popular pieces, The Gothic Nameplate necklace, starts at $130, which is affordable, but pricey enough to remain exclusive, setting The M apart from fast fashion retailers like Forever 21 or BaubleBar.

YouTuber Maddi Bragg in The Old English Choker (top) and The Mini Choker Nameplate (middle) [source: Instagram user @themjewelers]
Recently, The M collaborated with Danielle Guizio, a young fashion designer also based in New York City, who has 120,000 Instagram followers of her own. Guizio’s tracksuits and oversized sweatshirts are popular among high-profile bloggers and social media starlets like Hailey Baldwin and Madison Beer.

The Gothic Choker necklace, which starts at $180, is her signature piece, and it is available on her website in addition to The M’s.

Likewise, both brands do an exceptional job promoting the choker necklace on their respective social media platforms, increasing its popularity in the blogosphere and beyond. While the personalized choker is certainly edgy, it fits in perfectly with The M’s range, as well as Danielle Guizio’s.

The Gothic Choker necklace (middle) [source: Instagram user: @danielleguizio]
The Gothic Mini Choker [source: Instagram user @themjewelers]

Retail giant Target to expand fashion departments, technology in 2017

Over the next three years Target Corp. will spend $7 billion to renovate more than 600 stores, according to WWD.

“[The stores] will look and function differently. They’ll be reconfigured with more space for fashion storytelling and table settings in home. They’ll be digitally connected,” the retail giant’s chairman and chief executive officer Brian Cornell tells WWD.

“Order pickup and bridal registry in 2018 will touch 250 stores — 600 by 2019, and that’s just the beginning.”

Target shoppers on Black Friday, 2016 [source: Target Corporate]
The renovations come on the heels of a “weak quarter,” according to KSTP.

During the past quarter, which includes the holiday season, Target’s profit fell 43 percent “with strong online sales failing to offset weakening business at its stores,” according to KSTP.

“Target’s stock tumbled more than 12 percent and rattled Wall Street, as shares in Walmart, Macy’s and other retailers fell as well.”

Cornell also tells WWD 2016 “was not our best year,” and explains that, not only will the corporation spend $7 billion on a capital investment program to combat fallen profits, it will also “sacrifice $1 billion in annual operating profit this year to grow sales faster and capture market share against better-performing rivals such as Walmart Stores Inc., as well as off-pricers such as TJ Maxx.”

Children wearing Cat & Jack, a successful new brand by Target [source: Target Corporate]
The investments in part will go towards the launch of 12 brands within the next two years, according to WWD, that will represent more than $10 billion of Target’s sales. This is thanks to the success of Cat & Jack, a new children’s brand, that is expected to produce $1 billion in sales in 2017.

“The majority will be in Target’s home and fashion categories, which represent $26 billion in combined sales,” according to WWD.

When deciding which brands to launch, Cornell explains to WWD that the corporation really listened to consumer wants and needs.

“In some cases, it will be a new branch or a relaunch of an existing brand,” Cornell tells WWD.

“The consumer told us that some of our brands have gotten a little tired and a little bit old. We’ll go from a series of labels to a collection of brands. We now have a portfolio with a lot of labels but very few brands.”

On Monday, March 6, Target’s stock closed at $56.11, falling over 16 percent from the week before. Despite this downward trend, Cornell asks shareholders to “make an investment to build a strong company for the future,” according to WWD.

“Our goal today is to demonstrate that the investments we’re making are the right decisions for the long term.”

Inside Target’s small format store at Packard’s Corner near Boston University [source: Arrowstreet]

Though Target’s net earnings for the fourth quarter, which ended January 28, “plummeted 42.7 percent to $817 million from $1.4 billion a year earlier” and “sales for the three months declined 4.3 percent to $20.69 billion,” leaving the company with “an earnings drop of 18.6 percent for the full year, to $2.74 billion, on a sales decline of 5.4 percent, to $20.6 billion,” according to WWD, it found great success in their 32 small format stores.

Cornell tells WWD that “units sales per square foot are higher than average,” and because of this, “Target is ramping up the rollout with 30 new units this year with a goal of 100 set for 2020.”

Outside a small format Target store [source: Arrowstreet]

While all 1,800 of Target’s stores “are within 10 miles of 85 percent of customers,” according to WWD, Cornell insists that the small format stores “expand the corporation’s footprint in in key urban areas and college campuses” in part because they are “customized for each community,” as opposed to the typical, full-line stores.

“In the last six months we’ve opened stores in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. You can expect to see more and more,” Cornell tells WWD.

“It’s time to accelerate this new format.”

When it comes to full-line stores, however, it is quality over quantity. Instead of opening in new locations, the corporation hopes to renovate “old and tired” stores that have not been updated in 10 years, according to WWD.

“Our supply chain has been a major focus,” Cornell tells WWD.

“We’re slow and we have too much inventory. We’re changing how we move product…We’ll operate with less inventory, less working capital and better shelf availability.”

Cathy Smith, Target Corp.’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, tells WWD the corporation “expects a low- to mid-single-digit decline in comparable sales and earnings per share of 80 cents to $1.” Smith also predicts earnings per share (EPS) of $3.80 to $4.20 in 2017.

“We’re positioned to deliver superior Return On Invested Capital over time,” Smith tells WWD. “Let me be clear, this will be a multiyear, multiphase program.”

Vogue Arabia’s first-ever cover goes to Gigi Hadid

After years of speculation, the Arab world will finally have its own edition of the world’s leading fashion publication. Vogue Arabia, which will be available on newsstands March 5 throughout the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), is the 22nd edition of the magazine, according to Vogue Arabia.

“It is the first Vogue to break onto the market in digital prior to print,” writes Philippa Morgan. The publication’s digital platform launched in October of 2016.

[source: Vogue Arabia]
Vogue Arabia’s first-ever cover star, revealed on March 1, is none other than social media It girl Gigi Hadid. The 21-year-old was born in Los Angeles, California to a Dutch-American mother and Jordanian-American father of Palestinian origin. She has been in a relationship with musician and former One Direction member Zayn Malik, who is of Pakistani decent, since 2015.

“Photographed by Inez and Vinoodh and styled by Brandon Maxwell, the evocative images emphasize the supermodel’s Arab roots,” according to Vogue Arabia.

“There’s no better first ‘face’ to lead the charge for Vogue Arabia than Gigi, a model who defines tomorrow’s entrepreneurial and dynamic generation,” Editor-in-Chief Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz tells Morgan.

“In one poised photograph, she communicates a thousand words to a region that’s been waiting far too long for its Vogue voice to speak.”

[source: Vogue Arabia]
“The March issue, entitled ‘Reorienting Perceptions’, features established and up-and-coming designers, high fashion styled with modest flair and luxury lifestyle insights from across the Middle East with a unique Arabic twist on global high-fashion reportage,” reports Vogue Arabia.

Shashi Menon, CEO & Publisher of Vogue Arabia, tells Morgan: “With Vogue Arabia, we’re making a bold bet on the future of marquee, high-gloss content in the region—across both print and digital. The unparalleled heritage and global footprint of the Vogue brand, combined with our distinct strategy of publishing more than 90 percent original content with dual language editorial, really make Vogue Arabia stand out.”

[source: ATRL]
On March 1 Hadid, whose full name is Jelena Noura Hadid, shared her Vogue Arabia cover with her 30 million Instagram followers. A notorious “nice girl” in the traditionally stand-offish fashion industry, Hadid captions the photo:

“I think the beautiful thing about there being international Vogues is that, as a fashion community, we are able to celebrate, and share with the world, different cultures. Being half-Palestinian, it means the world to me to be on the first-ever cover(s) of @voguearabia, and I hope that this magazine will show another layer of the fashion industry’s desire to continue to accept, celebrate, and incorporate all people & customs and make everyone feel like they have fashion images and moments they can relate to… & learn and grow in doing so. Thank you @deenathe1st for your vision and for having me on this cover… by the incredible @inezandvinoodh–so much love.”

Vogue Arabia will be published in both Arabic and English.

[source: ATRL]
Though Hadid has a history of pride regarding her ethnic background, many Vogue readers were off-put by her Vogue Arabia cover.

“I’m bitter over the fact that Gigi only claims her Palestinian heritage when it benefits her. She didn’t deserve [the cover],” writes @starksteves on Twitter.

@__munneerraa, another Twitter user, writes in response to @VogueArabia: “Oh guys you should’ve put a proper Arab on the cover! Like the Abduls for instance!”

The Abduls are two Saudi blogger sisters, according to Vogue Arabia.

Aden stars on the cover of CR Fashion Book, on newsstands March 2nd [source: CR Fashion Book]
Several Twitter users, including @starksteves, shared that they wished Somali-American model Halim Aden landed the first Vogue Arabia cover. The 19-year-old immigrant, who wears a hijab, recently walked the runway for YEEZY Season 5, according to Fader; she also made it to the semifinals of 2016’s Miss Minnesota USA pageant and walked for Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara in Milan, according to Allure.

Hadid, who does not typically wear a hijab, dons an embellished one for her Vogue Arabia cover. However, she is been widely known to celebrate her Palestinian background.

“A year ago she posted a photo of herself with henna on her hands while with friends, adding a note at the end of her caption saying, ‘& before you go all ‘cultural appropriation’ in my comments, check out the last name. Hadid. Half Palestinian & proud of it,'” according to Vanity Fair.

“She also joined her sister Bella at a rally in New York in January to protest Donald Trump’s immigration policies.”

Gigi (left) and Bella (right) at a New York rally [source: Breitbart]
“This also marks a personal landmark for Hadid, as it is her 21st Vogue cover,” according to Vanity Fair.

“She continues to inch near the record held by Lauren Hutton with 26 covers, and told Ellen Degeneres in February that she ‘wouldn’t complain’ if she were to land a 27th. At this rate she’s well on her way.”

Notoriously aloof CÉLINE joins Instagram, announces plans to launch e-commerce

After 70 years of being one of the most aloof high fashion brands, Paris-based CÉLINE created an official Instagram account (@celine) and announced plans to launch an e-commerce branch on its official website, according to The Fashion Law.

[source: The Fashion Law]
“Despite being one of the most influential (and highly copied) fashion brands on the market, under the direction of Phoebe Philo, Céline has maintained a low profile in terms of its retail footprint and distribution chain,” writes The Fashion Law.

“Moreover, it has traditionally eschewed most digital channels, making it one of the new brands lacking a social media presence and a website without e-commerce capabilities–until recently, that is. The brand launched an official Instagram account this week.”

These big changes come on the heels of another big change at CÉLINE; namely, the appointment of the company’s new CEO Séverine Merle, who will take office April 1. CÉLINE is one of the final LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned house to launch an online store, following other big names such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Sephora, who have made significant sales via e-commerce.

CÉLINE ad campaign Spring 2017 [source: celine.com]
“Even if luxury purchases are not made online, the presence of an e-commerce strategy is essential, as more than 60 percent of luxury goods purchases, online or in-store, depend on what customers see on the web,” according to The Fashion Law.

As of February 28, CÉLINE amassed 56,700 Instagram followers and posted nine images in a few short days. Images include seven up-close shots of its Spring and Summer 2017 collections, as well as an apparent shot of a horse’s leg and one of an earthy lamppost captioned “Lamppost.”

“With the desirability created by Philo beginning in 2008, Céline’s sales are up and so, to meet demand, it has slowly moved to expand its retail network,” The Fashion Law writes.

“In September 2014, the brand opened its second brick-and-mortar store in New York – in Soho – the other New York location being uptown on Madison Avenue. This second New York store brought the total number of Céline stores in the U.S. to five (other locations include Bal Harbor, Las Vegas, and Beverly Hills).”

Pierre-Yves Roussel, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group, insists CÉLINE’s e-commerce launch is crucial for showing “the breadth and depth of the collection,” according to British Vogue.

“We want to be very product-focused. It’s always been the motto of creative director Phoebe Philo since the very beginning,” Roussel continues.

Interestingly enough, Roussel is currently “filling the breach at CÉLINE since [former CEO Marco Gobbetti’s] departure” until Merle’s arrival at the company in April.

Gobbetti left the French fashion house last July after eight years. He is now poised to become Burberry’s next CEO, according to Business of Fashion; he will take the title from Christopher Bailey, who will in turn become the London-based luxury brand’s chief creative officer and president.

“Merle joins [CÉLINE] from another of LVMH’s labels, menswear brand Berluti, where she is currently executive vice president,” according to WWD.

Merle poses alongside Louis Vuitton luggage [source: Madame Figaro]
The Paris-based businesswoman also held previous positions at Kenzo and Louis Vuitton, according to her LinkedIn profile, two other LVMH brands.

Her prior experience makes her a promising authority to oversee the company’s first e-commerce endeavor.

Chris Morton, chief executive of Lyst.com, a multi-brand online luxury retailer in which LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault’s family investment company has a small stake, told The Fashion Law the following:

“A luxury brand that avoids the Internet is effectively refusing to engage with its customers where they are increasingly spending time and money. It is not listening to what its customers want, which is dangerous in any consumer-facing industry.”

Simply put, it would be in CÉLINE’s best interest to not ignore its customers in favor of maintaining its traditionally cool, distant ways. The brand’s customers are now online, so the brand itself should be more accessible via new media platforms, as well.