Worldview: Seoul Fashion Week’s Celebrity Marketing Push


🇰🇷 Seoul Fashion Week brands trumpet their sustainability efforts. Many of the 30 brands headlining the latest edition of South Korea’s biannual industry showcase, held between Sep. 5-9, focused on environmental and ethical business claims, even though media coverage was skewed toward street style outside the shows and celebrity attendees like members of NewJeans, the K-pop band tapped to be the event’s official ambassadors. [The Korea Herald, Korea JoongAng Daily, BoF Inbox]

🇧🇭 Bahrain’s Investcorp divests stake in India’s Safari bags. The Gulf-based alternative asset manager that once owned Tiffany & Co and controlled Gucci several decades ago and currently counts Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala as one of its shareholders, has divested its third and final tranche of shares in the Mumbai-based listed luggage maker Safari Industries. [Zawya]

🇿🇦 South African clothing retailer Woolworths to spend over $500 million in capex. The Cape Town-based fashion and food chain Woolworths Holdings, which also has operations in Australia and New Zealand through holdings in Country Road Group, aims to strengthen margins with the investment over the next three years, but analysts suggest that the move is also an attempt to counter recent advances made in South Africa by rival Shoprite. [Reuters, Fibre2Fashion]

🇮🇩 Indonesia threatens to restrict TikTok Shop over ‘monopolistic’ behaviour. A government minister said the country should “reject and prohibit” the Chinese short-video app from combining online shopping with its social media platform, just months after the app announced it would invest billions of dollars in the Southeast Asian nation. [Financial Times]

🇮🇳 Lab-grown diamond exports are up in India where about 90% of the world’s overall diamond supply is cut and polished. The lab-grown category accounted for about 9 percent of diamond exports from the country in June, compared with about 1 percent five years ago. Given the steep discount that they sell for, that means about 25 percent to 35 percent of volume is now lab-grown diamonds, according to Liberum Capital Markets. [BoF]

🇱🇰 Garment exports from Sri Lanka decline sharply in year-to-date. In the period from Jan. to Jul. 2023, the south Asian country’s garment exports decreased by 19 percent year on year to $2.63 billion. the apex industry body Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF)’s spokesperson blamed unfavourable market access arrangements with the EU and UK among other factors. [Fibre2Fashion, Daily Mirror Sri Lanka]

🇨🇳 New law would punish people for wearing clothes that “hurt Chinese national feelings.” Legal experts and civil liberties advocates have asked the Chinese government for clarity on a proposed law that, if passed, would see offenders detained for up to 15 days and fined up to 5,000 yuan ($680) for wearing certain attire. While the intention appears to be a ban on clothes with unpatriotic messages or symbolism, fashion industry professionals are concerned that the vaguely worded law could be interpreted more liberally to apply to anything the authorities deem to be unappealing or provocative. [Global Times, New York Times]

🇲🇦 Economic impact of Morocco earthquake could be as high as 8% of GDP. It remains unclear how the country’s apparel and textile export industries have been impacted by the Sep. 8 earthquake that killed more than 2000 people and affected 300,000 others. The epicentre was 72 kilometres from Marrakech, a city where some factories are located, but other large cities that serve as manufacturing and sourcing hubs like Casablanca, Tangier, Fez, Meknes and Rabat are much further away. [Reuters, The National]

🇯🇵 Japan’s e-commerce group Rakuten introduces New York Fashion Week pre-sale event. American designers and Rakuten retail partners such as 3.1 Phillip Lim, Altuzarra and Rebecca Minkoff will feature a selection of pieces from their latest collections for the shopping platform known locally for its rewards and cash back programmes, as part of a ‘Wear the Runway’ campaign months before styles hit stores. [BoF Inbox]

🇮🇳 India’s Reliance Retail Ventures inks joint venture with Ed-a-Mamma. The retail conglomerate will hold a 51 percent majority stake in Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt’s kids and maternity-wear brand. “With sustainability as its core proposition the brand has garnered acclaim for its meticulous attention to detail, using ethically sourced materials and eco-conscious production processes,” said Isha Ambani, director of RRV. [BoF Inbox, Mint]

🇨🇳 Retailers in Hong Kong call for mall operators to cover flooding losses. The worst torrential rain and flooding the Asian shopping hub has seen for over a century could cost the city $100 million. The extreme weather also affected some locations in nearby Shenzhen in mainland China. [South China Morning Post, Bloomberg]

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