China’s Digital Retail — What’s Next?

China’s Digital Retail — What’s Next?

The digital economy has entered the “fast lane” and is progressing at a high speed under a new wave of technology and China has been at the forefront in terms of scale for several years. From 2012 to 2021, the volume of the country’s digital economy grew from $1.52 trillion to more than $6.25 trillion and the proportion of the digital economy in overall GDP rose from 21.6 percent to 39.8 percent.
But even amid this explosive growth the online retail industry has been slowing, with declining profits since the era of the “traffic dividend” has come to an end. At a stage when consumer demands are becoming more focused and personalized, online retail is returning to being a “commodity operation.” Against this background, how can China’s digital retailers evolve to grow beyond relying on sheer scale?

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With the largest digital consumer market in the world, all industries in China have seen the need to revise their “internet thinking.” Now the pace of digitally enabled industry iterations is leaping forward even faster.

According to the Digital Retail Report by The Boston Consulting Group, the migration of global consumers to digital channels has advanced three to four years ahead of expectations in recent years due to both technological developments and external pressures. The construction of new infrastructure and payment systems provides a foundation for digital industrialization in China, while the telecom network helps boost the entire economy.

China’s digital retail is regularly ranked first in the world in terms of popularity alone: the online fashion retailing platforms represented by Taobao, JD and Pinduoduo, and the social retailing channels represented by TikTok effectively link the lower tier markets and industrial clusters. International luxury e-commerce platforms represented by Net-a-porter and Farfetch have also won their target user groups with precise marketing strategies.

Data show that in 2021, total online retail sales of physical goods in China exceeded $1.39 trillion, an increase of 12 percent year-over-year; the cumulative number of live broadcasts on mainstream e-commerce platforms reached 24 million with a cumulative total of more than 120 billion views; mobile payment reached 151.228 billion times, an increase of 22.73 percent year-over-year. Digital consumption is gaining popularity year-over-year, forming a unique mega market advantage based on a huge user base.

Online has accounted for an increasing share of China’s overall retail market.

E-commerce, as one of the key segments of digital retailing, has cultivated the online consumption habits of a wide range of users. The client-end choice has pushed back the business-end channels, making retail organizations reconfigure and optimize on the basis of traditional business and internet business, paying attention to digital sales, supply chain and procurement; data-driven product management, and other aspects to optimize the retail experience with technical support.

The new demand has led to a deeper integration of the upstream and downstream of the retail sector, which has also triggered a rapid iteration of consumption patterns and supply structures, turning digital retailing from an “alternative path” into a “must-go”.

Since 2012, the booming development of “internet+” has led to the continuous upgrading of information consumption. By the end of 2021, China’s online retail sales reached $1.82 trillion, making the country’s digital consumption market scale the largest in the world.

As an important transaction vehicle for online retailing, co-branded platforms delivered strong results over the past few years. Stimulated by multiple shopping festivals such as June 18 and Double Eleven, online consumption has gradually become irreplaceable. In fiscal 2021, Alibaba’s ecosystem Gross Merchandise Value reached $1.13 trillion, up another $150 million from the previous year, with the average annual spending of Taobao and Tmall users at $1,277.70. JD’s GMV reached $132.2 billion in the same year, up 27.6 percent year-over-year, with about 570 million active users.

Founded in 2015, Pinduoduo has grown to total revenue of about $13.04 billion in 2021, up 58 percent year-on-year, with around 860 million active users, the largest among the key players. The platform moved to launch its online shopping platform Temu in the U.S. in September, competing for market share against Amazon.

Despite the COVID-19-related lockdowns in China and the inability of consumers to travel, Chinese luxury consumption is bucking the trend against the backdrop of a volatile global economic environment and thanks to the surge in luxury spending online. According to data released by cross-border e-commerce technology firm ESW, cross-border e-commerce sales of luxury goods grew by 17 percent in the first half of this year, followed by South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

In the more segmented area of luxury online transactions, online spending in the Chinese market also stands out. According to an analysis by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, the global online market for luxury goods sales will reach $91 billion by 2025, while the Chinese luxury goods market is expected to continue to grow by more than 10 percent over the next five years. Mainstream online business platforms such as Tmall and JD are actively leveraging international fashion weeks to enhance their influence in the industry and expand their resources through investments and acquisitions. The huge purchasing potential and the strength of e-commerce platforms will continue to boost the international position of China’s luxury market.

The information revolution of the 21st century undoubtedly brings infinite possibilities in retail, from big data prediction to precise marketing, from online boutiques to virtual try-on, from e-commerce shopping festivals to livestreaming sales to social retailing and even metaverse retailing. Technological development and innovative sales not only bridge the gap between online and offline retail but also help break down regional barriers and promote the flow of resources. A unified and open market system is the basis for innovation and development, while high-tech practices are the inner force to promote market vitality, both of which complement each other and are indispensable.

Taking Farfetch as an example, it has been pursuing a “digital-first” strategy since its Chinese website launched in 2014, followed by its flagship store in Tmall in 2021. Referring to “turning competition into synergy” with local online giants such as Tmall and JD, Farfetch chief executive officer José Neves expressed his agreement of the bilateral cooperation to WWD, saying, “These platforms can attract traffic for major foreign companies and let more people know about [the brands].”

Farfetch’s flagship store on Tmall.

In fact, since 2017, more and more international fashion brands have chosen Chinese e-commerce platforms as the primary location for localization and digital transformation, attracting consumers with new product debuts, limited-edition collections, customization services and other benefits. Tmall Luxury features more than 200 international brands, and these brands have debuted more than 30,000 new products a month on average over the past year. JD Luxury attracted nine high-end luxury brands represented by Dior and Bulgari under LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the single-day turnover of many brands during the most recent shopping festival was four times the norm.

In addition to the introduction of international brands, the increasing growth of Chinese design is also gaining momentum year-over-year.

The main channels for Chinese products to go abroad are via online platforms and self-management. The former is mostly a two-way choice between designer brands and overseas platforms, such as local designer Huishan Zhang selling dresses and showing designs on Net-a-porter. Self-management mostly relies on exposure in magazines and events, the introduction of popular bloggers to generate extensive discussion on social media and eventually attracting fans to their own websites.

Successful cases include JW Pei, a newcomer in the handbag industry that has gained Gen Z consumers in Europe and the U.S. with sustainable materials and popular styles; Mukzin, a brand with innovative Chinese styles that attracts many European and the U.S. artists and celebrities, and the fast-fashion leader Shein that has gained significant market share against the likes of H&M, Zara and others.

From 2015 to 2020, the compound annual growth rate of China’s cross-border e-commerce reached 15.6 percent, during which time Shein’s growth increased by 189 percent. Last May, the number of downloads of Shein software briefly surpassed that of Instagram and Amazon, jumping to the top of all categories of app downloads in the U.S. In the first half of 2022, Shein had 22.4 million downloads in the U.S., ranking first in the shopping app category

Shein, which was founded in 2008, utilizes an intelligent system to detect trends and collect user feedback in real time thanks to its founder Xu Yangtian’s search engine optimization experience. The system can calculate and guide production on the supply side “from the bottom up.”

In terms of product development, the finished products led by consumer preferences and market insights are highly welcomed by Gen Z. In terms of sales and supply chain, the front-end sales and back-end stocking cooperate to create a very short shipping cycle and a very low inventory backlog. In terms of marketing, different products are promoted according to local conditions in different regions, and cooperation with KOL and KOC helps to increase exposure. It is reported that in the first half of 2022, Shein’s sales reached about $15.38 billion.

In the first half of 2022, Shein’s downloads in the U.S. ranked it first in shopping apps.

C-pop is also blooming on the world stage. Take the new Chinese style brand Mukzin as an example. The company uses clothing as a way to show traditional culture as well as intangible cultural heritage. The brand has staged shows in London, Milan and New York Fashion Week ever since the launch of the “Chivalrous Woman” collection in Paris in 2018. The company has also gained a group of overseas fans who love the “New Orientalism aesthetic.”

Mukzin’s show during New York Fashion Week in 2020.

When talking about its overseas retail strategy, founder Feng Guang said that, in addition to cooperation with department and multibrand stores, Mukzin relies on its own website to drive e-commerce. Traffic to its site mostly comes from online search, so continued exposure through international fashion weeks and the fashion media is key. For brands planning to go abroad, he stressed that overseas consumers pay significant attention to the shopping experience, and mature CRM tools can help maintain customer flow and fan screening to achieve accurate reach. In addition, the best method of going abroad is to look inward first to discover the brand’s own style as well as competitive barriers in the overseas market, before finding one’s own breakthrough.

Both the unicorn Shein, which is worth an estimated $100 billion, and the C-pop brand Mukzin demonstrate the two-way empowerment of Chinese design, Chinese manufacturing and overseas expansion, and the front and back-end industry chain of digital retail in the new era.

Farfetch Is Entering the Beauty Market With 100+ Luxury and Indie Brands

Farfetch Is Entering the Beauty Market With 100+ Luxury and Indie Brands

Photo: Courtesy Farfetch
Attention all beauty shoppers, we have some news for you. Starting today you’ll have a new online store to snag all your favorite beauty wants and needs from — introducing: Farfetch Beauty.
In case you are unfamiliar, Farfetch is a British-Portuguese online retail platform that sells luxury fashion items from boutiques and brands around the world. Today, the company is entering the world of cosmetics with the launch of Farfetch Beauty. The platform launched with over 100 partners featuring powerhouse luxury brands, indie brands, and everything in between. To give you insight, some of the brands included are Olaplex, Charlotte Tilbury, La Mer, and so many more. The launch of these brands coincides with the wider Farfetch group’s existing beauty offerings of Browns, Off-White, and Violet Grey.
With this launch being so important to the company, Chief Brand Officer of Farfetch, Holli Rogers stated that beauty is such an important way for people to be able to express themselves and their individuality – it’s transformative. “We took this as an opportunity to shake up the online beauty retail experience by bridging fashion and beauty to appeal to our existing audience of fashion lovers,” she says. Adding, “We knew we had to offer beauty in an ‘only on Farfetch’ way – combining our know-how in bringing together a diverse community of expert voices that resonate with the modern beauty customer and their needs.”
But wait, there’s more. Farfetch also announced its first-ever Beauty Global Collective. Think of this as a social network to communicate and engage with beauty experts and founders. The collective will be led by a Curator-in-Chief who will be announced next month and joined by Farfetch Global Advisor Cassandra Grey, makeup artist Erin Parsons, board-certified dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD, and more.
You’ll even be able to shop experts’ favorite products through their personal Edit pages. Take cosmetic chemist Michelle Wong, for example, who has Boy Smells Candles and a bunch of Charlotte Tilbury picks on her page.
Once you join the network (for free, of course) and begin to share beauty tips and advice, you’ll earn points to your account, helping you level up from Fan to Expert to, eventually, Pro. With these points, you can secure exclusive discounts and early access to sales.
So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Farfetch.com to join the community and start adding to your cart to rack up those points. If the stars align, we’ll be seeing a lot of Farfetch beauty sales in the near future.
Originally published in Allure.com

Farfetch Rolls Out Resale Service ‘Second Life’ in the Middle East

Farfetch Rolls Out Resale Service ‘Second Life’ in the Middle East

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Farfetch has launched its handbag resale program in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Farfetch Second Life gives customers the opportunity to clear space in their wardrobes by selling unused designer handbags and earning Farfetch credit in return. The program is a key pillar of Positively Farfetch, the company’s mission to become the global platform for good in luxury fashion.Giorgio Belloli, chief commercial and sustainability officer at Farfetch, told WWD that Second Life has been very popular since it launched two years ago. “We started out running the service in the U.K. and Europe before launching it last year in the United States as well. Now Farfetch Second Life is available in 30 countries across Europe and the USA. We’re thrilled to scale this model globally and are looking forward to expanding the categories consumers can give a second life to.”

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He cited that the global pre-owned luxury market is growing rapidly and is forecast to reach $64 billion within the next five years. “Circularity is becoming increasingly important to luxury customers ⁠— for example, a recent customer study we did showed that 52 percent of our customers had bought or sold a pre-owned luxury item in the past year,” said Belloli. “And in terms of the growth of Second Life, items sold through the program have increased 332 percent in 2020.”
Belloli added that its customers are embracing choosing fashion in a conscious way. Sales of conscious products grew 3.4 times faster than the Farfetch Marketplace average and represented over 5 percent of group GMV in 2020. “We’re seeing that consumers are increasingly more aware of how they consume fashion, and that they can take actionable steps to make conscious choices.”
Second Life is designed to make resale easier for luxury customers. Farfetch customers can visit the website to submit information and photographs of the bags they wish to sell. Those are reviewed by an outside partner, who then offers a price within two business days. If the customer accepts the price, the bag is sent for verification and once verified, Farfetch immediately credits the consumer’s account with the offered value.
In the Middle East, Farfetch is collaborating with The Luxury Closet, a premium luxury resale platform that already has a strong foothold in the Gulf countries. The region, with its appetite for luxury handbags, was a natural extension for the business, according to Edward Sabbagh, Farfetch’s vice president of growth and managing director, EMEA. “The Middle East stood out as a huge opportunity. We’ve been on our sustainability journey for a few years now and our regional customers have a strong appetite for shopping more consciously.”
For Farfetch, Second Life is one of several key programs that are moving the company toward its 2030 sustainability goals. The company also has a donate service available in Europe and the U.S. which enables hassle-free donations in return for Farfetch credit, a Fashion Footprint Tool to help consumers easily identify and understand the environmental impact of their wardrobe choices, and a service called Fix service for repairing luxury items.

Farfetch Joins with Central Saint Martins for Communications Course

Farfetch Joins with Central Saint Martins for Communications Course

LONDON – Farfetch has forged a partnership with London’s Central Saint Martins called Fashion Foreword that will support students taking the university’s three-year fashion communications course.
The new partnership offers three scholarships to “financially disadvantaged” students across the course and gives them access to Farfetch executives, who will share insights and advice on topics such as sustainability, inclusion, diversity and how to enter certain career paths.
As part of the partnership, students in their second year will also be given a “consultancy-style project” and tasked with creating a marketing campaign to promote the retailer’s conscious edit.
The consultancy project echoes the work that Farfetch has been doing in its work with startups in its Dream Assembly business accelerator program.

As of late, Farfetch has been pursuing a number of partnerships outside the traditional, product-focused tie-ins with brands.
Earlier this month, it also announced a yearlong partnership with Nataal, a media platform dedicated to covering fashion, beauty, arts and culture from modern-day Africa and its diaspora.
As part of the partnership, Nataal’s community of creatives will work with Farfetch to create content that highlights talent from the region — the aim being to give Nataal a wider international platform and to help Farfetch “continue its efforts of giving more space to Black-owned brands.”
As part of its Positively Farfetch sustainability goals for 2030, the retailer has also committed to offering additional support to brands rooted in underrepresented communities, and is looking to increase representation from those communities in the organization.
“We are at the start of our journey, and by 2021 we commit to publishing a data framework that establishes clear data baselines to set our goal against and ensure progress is transparent,” it said.
Farfetch laid out its overarching 2030 goals and said by that year it wants to see its circular business — including handbag resales, donations and sales of pre-owned or vintage goods — outgrow sales in the primary market, which have been its bread-and-butter until now.
It’s also pledging to sell nothing but conscious products by 2030, across both its own site and all the companies under its umbrella, including Browns, New Guards Group and Stadium Goods.

Palm Angels Goes Analog to Present Spring 2021 Collection

Palm Angels Goes Analog to Present Spring 2021 Collection

Everything started with a book, and now, six years later, a book marks an important milestone for Palm Angels once again.
Back in September 2014, Rizzoli published a photographic book collecting images of Venice Beach skateboarders shot by the brand’s founder Francesco Ragazzi. With a preface by Pharrell Williams, the tome was titled “Palm Angels” and served as the catalyst for Ragazzi’s launch of the titular fashion project.
Now, Ragazzi has teamed with Rizzoli again to release a limited-edition book zine, that not only celebrates the launch of the brand’s spring 2021 men’s and women’s collections, but also offers an insightful look into the elevated streetwear label.

Palm Angels founder and creative director Francesco Ragazzi  Courtesy of Palm Angels

“I think this book shows where we are going with the brand,” said Ragazzi, during a Zoom call from his office in the Milan headquarters of NGG, the group controlled by Farfetch, which operates Palm Angels, along with Off-White, Ambush, Alanui, Opening Ceremony, Heron Preston, Marcelo Burlon County of Milan, Kirin Peggy Gou and Ben Taverniti Unravel Project. “We lived the past six months immersed in a digital dimension and I feel that what we are really starting to miss are emotions. I have the feeling that things are just happening and then immediately disappearing. That’s why I wanted to create something tangible, something that you can have in your hands, place on your table and enjoy again and again, every time you want.”

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However, while the book, with an introduction by Dazed & Confused founder and editor in chief Isabella Burley, lives in a physical dimension, its layout owes a lot to the digital social media culture, in particular to Instagram.
“It’s a sort of Instagram feed where different things are juxtaposed, the high and the low, the established and the upcoming,” said Ragazzi, referring to the fact that the volume is comprised of a mix of images and graphics by a wide, diverse network of international creatives.
Photographer David Sims and stylist Karl Templer are the high-profile duo behind the impactful fashion pictures depicting Palm Angels’ spring 2021 collection. “They brought us a new vision, a new energy, a new point of view on our collections,” said Ragazzi, adding that those images will also appear on billboards and advertising pages.
Along with Sims’ pictures, the book also collects low-fi shots of the Palm Angels team in Milan taken by London-based photographer Rosie Marks; other fashion pictures by South African artist Lea Colombo; dark room experimentation by 86-year-old Roman photographer Enzo Ragazzini; artworks by abstract painters Friedrich Kunath and Thrush Holmes; as well as archival graphic efforts by Javier Jaén and Javier Calleja.
A look from Palm Angels spring 2021 collection.  Courtesy of Palm Angels

Ragazzi highlights the creative pastiche he wanted to create with a quote to introduce the first section of the book: “We are not our thoughts, but we can ride with them. Let them grow in your mind, stand out and attract love and energies, floating in the wind. Make them flow, like sparks of creative chaos that defy the status quo,” he wrote.
Organized in three sections, the zine has a similar structure to the Palm Angels spring 2021 collection, which features three different drops. While “Military” hits stores this month, “Fishing Club” will be available for consumers starting from mid March and the third, “Exodus,” will be on sale in May.

This commercial strategy, anchoring the official presentation of the collections to their deliveries to stores, reflects what NGG chief executive officer Andrea Grilli discussed with WWD back in June about the new release of the Off-White lineups. “The goal is to continue to trigger the emotions associated with the presentation of the collections — whatever the format — but also to immediately satisfy the desire to shop with deliveries and drops every month,” Grilli said. “In this fast-paced modern world, the lapse of four to five months between the show and the arrival of merchandise in stores was disconnected from the real needs of the consumer.”
If the license of Virgil Abloh’s Off-White continues to be the crown jewel in the NGG portfolio, Palm Angels is quickly and constantly growing, not only in terms of popularity, but also commercially. “Palm Angels is among the 10 best performing brands on Farfetch,” said Ragazzi, who stressed that importance of the role of the British-Portuguese digital player in the growth of the brand. “Even if we cannot release figures, I can tell you that in 2020 our business grew,” Ragazzi said. “The main reasons are three, I believe: first, Palm Angels collections are highly approachable, we sell products that you feel OK with buying also during a lockdown to wear at home; second, the brand is strong; third, having a digital player like Farfetch as business partner really helped us a lot.”
A look from Palm Angels spring 2021 collection.  Courtesy of Palm Angels

And Ragazzi thinks that the growth potential is exponential. Indeed, men’s wear currently accounts for the majority of Palm Angels’ sales. “I see great potential in women’s wear, accessories, sneakers,” said Ragazzi, who highlighted that 2021 will be key for the future of the brand. “This year we aim to catapult the brand into a new dimension,” he said, also referring to the retail debut of the brand, which expects to open stores in the U.S. and Europe. “This year we have the opening of at least two boutiques in the pipeline,” he revealed.
See also: 
Off-White x Nike Sneakers Expected to Top Luxury Resale List This Year
Nike Introduces Completely Hands-Free Sneaker
Farfetch Lays Out Ambitious 2030 Sustainability Goals

Alber Elbaz: Let Me Entertain You, Digitally

Alber Elbaz: Let Me Entertain You, Digitally

Is Alber Elbaz the Jay Leno of fashion?
As reported, the designer is to unveil his long-awaited AZ Factory project at 8 p.m. on Jan. 26 with a film during couture week in Paris, and will follow it up immediately with “The AZ Factory World Tour” — billed as an an immersive, virtual experience — then a live broadcast the following day of “The Talk Show with Alber Elbaz & Friends.”
The “World Tour” and “Talk Show” — the first volleys of his new digital and entertainment-driven approach to fashion — are to go live respectively on Farfetch.com and Net-a-porter.com, his exclusive distribution partners, in addition to AZ Factory’s own direct-to-consumer website.
“It is a product-focused and a communications-focused project, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring it to the world in a fabulous, entertainment-driven way with two of the leaders of the digital luxury world,” Elbaz said in a statement.

A venture between Elbaz and Compagnie Financière Richemont, AZ Factory bills itself as a pioneer in launching a fashion brand “in an innovative format that promises to be educational, emotional, and of course, beautiful.”
The “World Tour” and “Talk Show” are described as “two special experiences that will bring the brand story to life via interactive, content-led concepts that are unique to each online player’s own DNA and audience.”

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Sheena Sauvaire, chief marketing officer at Net-a-porter.com, said the talk show would be “an irreverent spin on an analogue TV format inviting VIP guests to discuss what makes us happy through the themes of fashion, science and body positivity.”
Elbaz has “created a wholly new approach to launching a brand at a time when our industry is evolving and consumers are looking for escapism,” according to Sauvaire, who also highlighted a “shared belief that fashion should be joyous and uplifting.”
The “World Tour,” meanwhile, was conceived amid a pandemic that has made travel and gatherings nearly impossible.
“The next best thing was to use our creativity and technology to bring our customers on tour and let them jump on board, take a tour of the incredible collection, and help spread a feeling of joy and togetherness,” said Holli Rogers, chief brand officer at Farfetch.com. “The values of the brand — love, trust, respect and treating customers as friends, along with the desire to experiment and try new things — resonated strongly with our own values.”
AZ Factory is sure to be one of the most closely watched ready-to-wear debuts in 2021, marking Elbaz’s full return to the fashion scene more than five years after he exited Lanvin. His fashion start-up has been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted the industry in myriad ways.
Elbaz has been keeping details of his venture under wraps, posting some videos of working sessions on AZ Factory’s Instagram feed, and his personal account. These have a playful, irreverent spirit, with the designer sometimes obscuring his face with a cartoon likeness.
He lifted the lid on a new brand name and visual identity in November.
See also:

Mega Partnership: Farfetch Links With Alibaba, Richemont

Alber Elbaz Navigates Fashion World Post-Lanvin

The World According to Elbaz: The Designer Ponders Fashion’s Purpose

This Virtual Reality Fashion Game Allows You To Style Your Favorite Supermodels

This Virtual Reality Fashion Game Allows You To Style Your Favorite Supermodels

Natalia Vodianova, Precious Lee, Irina Shayk, Imaan Hammam and Candice Huffine have joined DREST as avatars you can style. Photo: DREST

If you love fashion and computer games, or are a budding stylist who dreams of dressing an A-list star, then you’re in luck. Until December 9, DREST is giving its players the opportunity to cast and style supermodels in a series of photoshoot challenges.
Natalia Vodianova, Precious Lee, Irina Shayk, Imaan Hammam and Candice Huffine have joined DREST, an interactive luxury styling game, to feature as hyper-realistic avatars allowing players to dress their favorite models in a series of outfits.
Style your favorite model through the game, than shop the look. Photo: DREST

The models can be cast through a Booking Fee that grants players a set number of uses, after which the talent will need to be re-booked. Once models are booked the player can style them in a number of outfits, with more than 200 leading brands to choose from including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Off-White, Loewe, Chloé, Thom Browne, Burberry, Stella McCartney and Fenty. Playing stylist, players can also style their model’s hair with nine different styles to choose from, each designed by leading celebrity hairstylist Sam McKnight.
An example of a photoshoot challenge. Photo: DREST

Taking the experience up another echelon – blending virtual with reality – once the look is complete, players can not only share their creation but can also shop the pieces, thanks to a partnership with Farfetch.
On being chosen to have her own avatar, model Imaan Hamman tells Vogue Arabia, “I remember being very excited when I got asked to be part of DREST. When I was a little girl I always had a thing for playing dress up with avatars, it’s so my era! Fashion for me has always been an outlet where I could be myself in many ways and be bold, so having my own real life avatar is a dream come true. It was such a cool experience, so different from a normal day to day shoot. It went by so fast. I had to stand in the middle of the room and I was surrounded by a 1000 mini cameras/lenses in a circle that took a photo of every single part of the body. How cool?”
Photo: DREST

The models admits playing with the latest fashion items appeals to her, saying “I would definitely have lots of fun with just exploring and experimenting. I would love to dress up in three different kinds of styles: classy, street and sexy.”
While shopping in the virtual world and online is fun, the former Vogue Arabia cover star admits, when it comes to buying clothes she still prefers IRL. “It’s so important for me to be able to try the clothes on before buying – to feel the fabrics and feel confident,” she says. “I love to shop when I am in Paris, I feel like there are always better collections there than in other cities. I love Galeries Lafayette and Le Marais area is where you can always find me – I have a huge love for vintage and I always find the best pieces there.”
Players can do group or individual shoots. Photo: DREST

Behind the collaboration between the models and DREST is a philanthropic endeavor. “We have made a pledge to match 50% of revenue earned by the supermodels in-game and donate this to their respective causes through charitable donations,” explains Lucy Yeomans, Creator, Founder & Co-CEO, DREST.  For Hamman, her cause is She’s The First, “a non-profit that fights for a world where every girl chooses her own future. We work with local organizations to make sure all girls are educated.”
Read Next: This is How Model Imaan Hammam Celebrated Her 24th Birthday

Farfetch to Feature The Folklore’s Designers on the Platform

Farfetch to Feature The Folklore’s Designers on the Platform

As part of Farfetch’s ongoing efforts to engage with more Black-owned brands and boutiques, the global platform has partnered with online concept store The Folklore to introduce 10 new designers from Africa and the diaspora to the platform.
Starting today, Farfetch’s customers can shop fashion and accessories from The Folklore’s top brands. The Folklore won’t have its own tab on the Farfetch site, but it will have its own shopping page for men’s and women’s, and its designers will be added to the Black Designer collection page. The Folklore’s edit will be added to the homepage later this month.
Each season, The Folklore will introduce new brands and styles to Farfetch and work with the platform to elevate the stories of these brands through original photo and video content. This fall, The Folklore will introduce more than 60 styles in limited quantities across women’s and men’s apparel, jewelry and bags.

Model photographed in Lagos, Nigeria wearing Third Crown earrings, Orange Culture jacket and Clan top.  courtesy shot.

The designers featured in the launch include Nigeria-based brands Andrea Iyamah, Clan, Fruché,  Lisa Folawiyo, Onalaja, Orange Culture and Tokyo James, and New York-based brands William Okpo, EDAS and Third Crown.
Some of The Folklore’s women’s edit on the Farfetch platform.  courtesy shot.

As part of the partnership, The Folklore produced editorial in Lagos, Nigeria, featuring key looks from the upcoming drop. The images and short film were created to highlight the beauty of Lagos, one of Africa’s fashion capitals, and celebrate the Nigerian brands that anchor The Folklore’s first Farfetch release. The editorial was shot by Nigerian photographer Stephen Tayo and produced by The Folklore’s digital producer, Raven Irabor.

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Amira Rasool, founder and chief executive officer of The Folklore, said, “The Folklore’s partnership with Farfetch is really a defining moment for the fashion industry. This is one of the first partnerships that I have witnessed a major luxury company enter into that is actually committed to working with brands from Africa and the diaspora on a longtime basis.
Amira Rasool  Andrew Liontonia

“The Folklore is all about creating opportunities for designers from Africa and the diaspora to consistently have a platform to distribute their products and tell their stories to wider audiences. We’re happy that Farfetch believes in our mission and that providing this platform for brands has become an important element of their diversity plans as well,” Rasool said.
Holli Rogers, chief brand officer of Farfetch, added that she was very happy to welcome The Folklore to the Farfetch platform. “Representation is important, and Farfetch is committed to meaningful, long-term change when it comes to diversity and inclusion. This partnership will allow our global customer base of over 2 million to discover eclectic designs from Africa and the diaspora, alongside other well-known and emerging designers; giving The Folklore and its designers exposure and demand that they otherwise might not have had access to, and we are proud to be part of this ongoing journey.”
Farfetch, which was founded in 2007 by Jose Neves and launched in 2008, connects customers in more than 190 countries with items from 50-plus countries and more than 1,300 brands, boutiques and department stores.
As reported earlier this month, in a landmark union of luxury digital titans, Farfetch, Alibaba Group and Richemont unveiled a global strategic  partnership to provide luxury brands with “enhanced access to the China market,” and to accelerate the digitization of the global luxury industry.

The Folklore, founded in 2018, stocks more than 30 luxury and emerging designer brands from Africa and the diaspora on its platform, along with featuring artists and creatives to showcase their personal stories.

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Farfetch Talks ‘Luxury New Retail’ Initiative

Farfetch Talks ‘Luxury New Retail’ Initiative

Last week, luxury platform Farfetch made its boldest move yet.
Following up its jaw-dropping Thursday announcement revealing $1.15 billion in investment from Alibaba, Compagnie Financière Richemont SA and Pinault-owned investment firm Artemis, the company laid out its vision for the future in a Friday call with investors.
As founder, chief executive officer and chairman José Neves simply put it, “Our mission is to be the global platform for the luxury industry.”
Lofty words, but there’s also a plan, an infrastructure and plenty of investment to drive it. Much of this mission hinges on “Luxury New Retail,” a key initiative for the partners that seeks to digitize the global luxury business. LNR is more of a strategy than a new platform, broadly referring to an approach that brings together the tech prowess, market reach and luxury expertise of Farfetch, Alibaba and Richemont.

“Luxury New Retail is not a specific technology product or solution,” Neves clarified to WWD. “It’s the division and also the full suite of solutions that we can offer brands that are completely connected. Because everything we offer brands is completely integrated and connected.”
For instance, its marketplace is connected to Farfetch Platform Services, a multichannel suite of e-commerce services. FPS is connected to the company’s Store of the Future, the execution of its “augmented retail” strategy that brings a deep set of digital and intelligent features to in-store environments. And Store of the Future, in turn, is connected to the marketplace, broadly or in China.

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“Everything is the same API, everything is the same data architecture and data layer,” said Neves. APIs, or application programming interfaces, are developer tools that allow different kinds of software to work together or, in some cases, share data. “Obviously we segregate data when it’s confidential for specific brands,” he added. “But it’s essentially one single platform, one single API powering all of this.”
What that means is LNR is no reset or pivot from Farfetch’s “augmented retail” concept, but rather, its spiritual successor. And the benefit of launching off of its existing ecosystem is that it’s informed by the company’s expertise and past experience.
It sounds circular, but the strategy brings a level of interconnectedness that allows a shop to serve its patrons based on a comprehensive view of the individual’s tastes, preferences, buying or browsing habits, blurring the line between online e-commerce and offline retail. It all becomes a cohesive — or in oft-used retail parlance, an “omnichannel” — environment designed to take care of the customer.
Farfetch’s Store of the Future illustrates that well. Shoppers can use digital check-ins at a store and add to their online wish lists as they physically peruse product and even receive personalized recommendations, use smart fitting rooms decked out in data-driven mirror displays or check out using mobile payments.
The company’s partnership with Chanel on its “boutique of the future” offered clientele that futuristic luxury retail experience in Paris, and its continuing partnership will roll out in more destinations. But with Chanel’s exclusivity expiring now, the door is open for other luxury maisons.

All sorts of retailers, in grocery to athletic goods, integrate technology in their physical spaces. But the Chanel experience is distinct and informs Farfetch’s approach.
“In luxury, it’s not about people grabbing a Chanel handbag and walking out of the door, without seeing or talking to anyone or paying. Chanel does not want that. You don’t want that with luxury,” said Neves. “Luxury is about enhancing the human factor, making sure that the adviser can focus on doing things that only humans can do — which is storytelling, which is inspiring customers, which is being creative and putting looks together and offering, on the fly, very personal recommendations to customers. And this is what our technology really focused on.”
Store of the Future, as part of the Luxury New Retail initiative, will soon reveal its second iteration through Browns, the British fashion and luxury goods boutique bought by Farfetch in 2015 as a sort of retail testing environment. For now, Neves is mum on what Store of the Future, version 2.0, will entail. But the company is clearly not resting after the frenzy of its announcement last week.
That’s just one part of the new initiative. According to the company, LNR will serve both monobrand and multibrand distribution strategies for luxury brands, covering e-commerce web sites and apps, in addition to such omnichannel retail technology. It will allow access to the Farfetch and Tmall Luxury Pavilion marketplaces through a single integration.
For Neves, this is a vision of retail that may seem rather futuristic to some Western audiences, but it has become common for consumers and retailers in places like China.
“In China, you have mom-and-pop shops, like convenience-store independents. This has been around for maybe for two generations. They’re connected to Tmall, which sends them data-driven recommendations, ‘You should have this shampoo, because there’s five people in your quarter that buy the shampoo online, and you should have it on your shelf.’ That’s the level of sophistication they’re in,” Neves said.
Now Farfetch is not only banking on the combination, and interconnection, of its efforts to bring such intelligence to the luxury experience. It also has new partner Alibaba’s considerable technology might behind it.
“That’s why the partnership with Alibaba is so exciting, because they created this,” the ceo continued. “Amazon, I think, is a few years away from Alibaba, in terms of sophistication or of integrated omnichannel retail. I think Alibaba is definitely better than anyone in the world.
“And, therefore, having them say that Farfetch is the right one to do this for luxury, and to prove this globally, was a huge stamp of approval for us,” he said. “But also, we will learn so much.”
And, of course, Farfetch will have the immediate benefit of extending its reach to Alibaba’s 757 million consumers. The two companies will also form a steering group for the LNR initiative, alongside Richemont chairman Johann Rupert and Artemis chairman François-Henri Pinault, who also is chairman and ceo of Kering, who will act as founding members.
The timing for this initiative, perhaps, couldn’t be better. The coronavirus pandemic has created a roiling 2020 for the luxury sector, making technologies and retail platforms geared specifically for this industry into essential tools. While this scenario didn’t drive Farfetch’s investment or partnership plans, it did create a sense of urgency, Neves admitted.
“The time when brands need access to that luxury customer, who is no longer traveling, is now,” he said. “The time when brands need to have fully connected stores, and really maximize the visibility of their inventory and the quality of the online and offline experience, is really now.”
Read more: 
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Mega Partnership: Farfetch Links With Alibaba, Richemont
Chanel and Farfetch Unveil ‘Boutique of Tomorrow’

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