Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 14, 2013 11:41 AM
Patagonia, a trailblazer in high-end outdoor apparel and environmental advocacy, is stepping up its corporate responsibility commitment to sustainability with $20 Million and Change, a venture capital fund to invest in startups with innovative solutions involving food, water, energy or waste.
“We believe in our company’s long-term vision around the environment and areas we want to make change in,” said Rose Marcario, CEO of the newly created holding company Patagonia Works. “We know there are great entrepreneurs out there with really great ideas and resources and they could be the next Patagonia.”
Already in the business of providing grants, Patagonia is hoping to nurture the next movement leader, Marcario said. "I do think business is an untapped well for change."
The company has just reorganized into a new umbrella holding company, Patagonia Works, through which it's earmarking the initial $20 million for investment in early-stage small businesses, ranging from $500,000 to $5 million. The plan has only one prerequisite—that a company must already have $1 million in revenue or capitalization.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 13, 2013 06:39 PM
The rescue efforts in Savar, Bangladesh have officially been turned over to recovery as the death toll surpasses 1,100 in what has become the worst accident in the history of the garment industry. But 20 days later, it seems that progress and change is beginning to emerge from the rubble of a decrepit industry.
The Bangladeshi government has agreed to let garment workers form trade unions without the permission of factory owners—a breakthrough in workers' rights in a de-regulated country, where garment factories were shut down this week following worker unrest over wages and conditions.
The proposed safety plan, backed by a coalition of labor groups, calls for independent inspections of factories and a legally binding fire and building safety plan requiring retailers to help pay for improvements to factory safety and is an amendment to the 2006 Labor Act lifting restrictions on forming trade unions in most industries.
The pact also calls for changes regarding severance payments, welfare fund payments, management practices and payment and banking standards. In what could be a game-changing announcement, Swedish retailer H&M announced Monday that it will sign the binding agreement.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 6, 2013 06:33 PM
Gucci and Guess have been tussling over trademarks for years, but the Italian fashion house took a hit from its American counterpart on its own turf last week.
The Court of Milan turned out an 83-page ruling that “rejected all claims” that Gucci had filed against Guess, according to a press release. Not only that, “the Italian Court has ordered the cancellation of certain of Gucci’s diamond pattern, G logo, and ‘Flora’ pattern trademarks” along with its “rights in a ‘Square G’ logo.”
This is a big blow to Gucci, which had received “minimal monetary damages and narrow injunctions on a handful of logos” in a similar case against Guess in New York that was decided last year. That “minimal” amount added up to $4.66 million, though Gucci had hoped to make a $120 million payday. This time, Guess scored a victory that allows it to use its famed Quattro G logo pattern without worry of infringing on any trademarks.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 3, 2013 06:20 PM
After the March announcement of a potential shortage in its supply of black Luon pants due to a failure to meet technical specifications—a.k.a., the sheerness issue—the eccentric Vancouver-based lifestyle brand and highly successful global retailer is still repenting.
In a report published Friday, Wedbush analyst Betty Chen downgraded the rating on Lululemon from Outperform to Neutral. Following a survery of 300 Lulu customers, the analyst found that management has not properly addressed the consumer perception of "quality erosion," that the brand may be losing ground to other yoga apparel companies and that only 10 percent of respondents plan to restock once the Luon pants are back in stores.
We could have called that one. After complaints started to flood in that customers were unknowingly baring their derrieres, Lululemon pulled the designs in question from store shelves and pointed a finger at production managers in overseas factories. Brand loyalists flooded social media pages with complaints and questions, but the brand maintained an oddly cool demeanor, simply directing infuriated customers to the brand's Guest Education Center.
The nightmare didn't end their though, as reports flooded in about store clerks demanding customers to try on the pants and "bend over" before granting refunds and exchanges. Indeed, the trajectory of events since March takes a page from the brand playbook of what not to do after a major product incident.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 26, 2013 05:33 PM
The death toll in the latest Bangladesh garment industry disaster has risen to more than 300 as rescue crews continue to pull survivors from the rubble of Rana Plaza and search for an estimated 500 workers still missing, with more than 2,500 already rescued.
In the aftermath of the garment factory collapse in Dhaka, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for those responsible to turn themselves in. It is believed that the building owner and factory owners are in hiding after ignoring warnings from police and industry officials to forbid workers to enter the building after cracks were discovered on Tuesday. The building collapsed on Wednesday.
"Whoever might be the culprits, and if even they belong to our party, they won't go scot-free," the impoverished nation's Prime Minister warned. (Update: The factory owners were arrested on Friday night, when the death toll had risen to 336.)
The disaster shines a light, yet again, on global apparel companies that outsource manufacturing to Bangladesh, a practice that has ballooned into an $18 billion industry as clothing companies continue to adandon manufacturing in China, where inflation and rising wages are pushing up costs. The upshot: Bangladesh and its questionable garment industry is now the world's second-biggest garment manufacturing center.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 22, 2013 01:38 PM
When many people think of actor Matthew McConaughey, it isn’t his work in such films as Boys on the Side, Dazed and Confused and Magic Mike that comes to mind, but rather his penchant for being half-naked all the time. After all, the actor was hauled away in 1999 for resisting arrest after officers came to his Austin, Texas home to deal with complaints of him loudly playing bongo drums while nude.
These days, though, it looks like McConaughey has found some motivation for keeping his shirt on. He has partnered with Canadian apparel manufacturer Grand National Apparel—manufacturer of Perry Ellis, Pacific Trail and Savane—to launch his own active sportswear collection, JKL. While the duds will be available on JKL’s site, consumers can also find them at Dillard’s stores and dillards.com.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 4, 2013 07:27 PM
Ashton Kutcher is happy to flog his own products. This is the Twitter-savvy guy, after all, who invested in tech startups and then gave them some promo space on his sitcom, Two and a Half Men. He did the same thing when he guest-edited the first "social issue" of Details a few years back.
Now he’s got his money invested in a T-shirt company, so consumers shouldn’t be surprised when Kutcher shows up everywhere they look wearing one of his own products—if you can identify the logo-less tees, that is. The online company, Pickwick and Weller, was founded with two other fellas and goes after the “luxury for less” market.Continue reading...
Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 28, 2013 12:02 PM
Winning takes care of everything. Or so says Nike.
The sporting goods giant posted a quickly contentious image on its Nike Golf Facebook and Twitter accounts this week in the wake of Tiger Woods’ record-tying eighth victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational showing the newly-(re)crowned world No. 1-ranked golfer sizing up a putt. The slogan, “Winning takes care of everything,” a favorite saying of Woods since 2009, is front and center. At the bottom, of course, is Nike’s famous swoosh—alongside the word, “Victory.”
Nike says the statement references Woods’ perseverance to return to the top of his sport and is a salute to his athletic performance. But everything? Please. Sports fans weren’t the only ones who devoured every titillating detail of Woods’ personal life when it was exposed following his late 2009 admission of multiple extra-marital affairs.Continue reading...