11 episodes

Welcome to The Debrief, a new weekly podcast from The Business of Fashion, where we go beyond the glossy veneer and unpack our most popular BoF Professional stories. Hosted by BoF’s chief correspondent Lauren Sherman, who after covering fashion and beauty for nearly two decades, will be your guide into the mega labels, indie upstarts and unforgettable  personalities shaping the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry.

The Debrief The Business of Fashion

    • Arts

Welcome to The Debrief, a new weekly podcast from The Business of Fashion, where we go beyond the glossy veneer and unpack our most popular BoF Professional stories. Hosted by BoF’s chief correspondent Lauren Sherman, who after covering fashion and beauty for nearly two decades, will be your guide into the mega labels, indie upstarts and unforgettable  personalities shaping the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry.

    Gen-Z’s Great Expectations

    Gen-Z’s Great Expectations

    BoF’s workplace and talent correspondent Sheena Butler-Young explains why managers in the fashion and beauty industries are struggling to balance their youngest employees’ expectations against the needs of their businesses.
     
    Background:
    The youth-obsessed fashion and beauty industries can’t get enough of Gen-Z talent: they believe they need to recruit more entry-level employees in order to maintain relevance and attract new customers. But the cohort is entering the workforce with big expectations — not only around salary, but remote working, too —  that many companies feel unprepared to meet. 
     
    “Gen-Z is entering the workforce amid a labour shortage… So that’s real leverage behind the demands they’re making,” explained Sheena Butler Young, BoF’s workplace and talent correspondent. 
     
    Key Insights: 
    Gen-Z is the latest in a long line of generations accused of impatience entering the workforce. A key difference between Gen-Z and its Millennial predecessors is that the job market currently favours job-seekers rather than employers — so their demands are more likely to be met.  Fashion is finding demands surrounding remote work particularly hard to deal with given the collaborative nature of most jobs.  Brands shouldn’t get caught up in stereotypes about young talent, but find ways to actually understand job-seekers’ desires.  Often, the generation that hates being sold to and just wants transparency, honesty and open lines of communication about career progression.   
     
    Additional Resources:
    What Will It Take to Make Gen-Z Happy at Work? What Fashion’s Class of 2022 Expects from Employers Solving Retail’s Labour Shortage

     
     
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    Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout. 
     
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    • 26 min
    Why Chanel Is Opening Private Boutiques

    Why Chanel Is Opening Private Boutiques

    BoF’s luxury editor Robert Williams offers insight into the surprising news that the mega-label plans to open stores dedicated to serving top customers.
     
     
    Background: 
     
    As traffic to stores soars, Chanel’s chief financial officer Philippe Blondiaux said the brand plans to open dedicated boutiques for top-spending clients starting in key Asian cities. It's a strategy that emphasises the importance of big-spenders to the in-demand French luxury brand’s future amid whispers of an impending recession — but one that risks alienating first time and occasional shoppers who are still dropping upwards of $10,000 for bags.
     
    “Brands like Chanel, they’ve lived through lots of cycles of boom and bust in the economy… When there’s an economic crisis, they need to be ready to have a real focus on repeat business,” said BoF’s luxury editor Robert Williams. 
     
     
    Key Insights: 
     
    Chanel sells many items in-store only, and limits locations to the most luxurious places in the world’s most luxury cities — operating just around 250 stores compared with Louis Vuitton’s over 400 doors.  Chanel is not the first brand to open special stores for private clients; Brunello Cucinelli deployed a similar concept last December. Other brands like Zegna have dedicated spaces in-store for special items.  In 2021, the company’s profits have tripled and revenue jumped 50 percent year over year. The brand’s growth in fashion, watches and jewellery last year was driven by its decision to raise prices and a flood of new clients and first-time buyers to luxury.  In addition to focusing on its physical footprint, Chanel is pushing its beauty business, which has been historically driven by department stores and beauty retailers like Sephora and Marionnaud, toward majority direct-to-consumer.   
     
    Additional Resources:  
    Chanel to Open Private Stores for Top Clients as Sales Soar 50% How Luxury Brands Court the 1 Percent


     
    Follow The Debrief wherever you listen to podcasts. 
     
    Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout. 

    Want more from The Business of Fashion? Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.

    • 19 min
    Is This the Beginning of the End for Leather?

    Is This the Beginning of the End for Leather?

    Brands including Stella McCartney, Balenciaga and Hermès are making products from mushroom-based material. BoF’s chief sustainability correspondent Sarah Kent details the forces pushing next-gen fabrics like mycelium leather forward — and whether the much-hyped sustainability solution has a future in fashion.
    Background: 
    After years of experimentation and development, handbags, shoes and coats made of mycelium leather — created from the roots of mushrooms — are hitting the shelves from names like Stella McCartney, Balenciaga and Hermès. It’s a test of whether mycelium leather will make it in the mainstream. Made by start-ups like Bolt Threads and MycoWorks, mycelium is promising for fashion as brands seek out non-plastic, non-animal-based, less-energy-intensive leather alternatives and consumers demand more environmentally friendly products. But taking an idea from the lab to the store floor involves a lot of trial and error. 
     
    “Innovation takes time. I think the fashion world isn’t used to having to wait. We’re all about instant gratification,” said BoF’s chief sustainability correspondent Sarah Kent. 
     
    Key Insights: 
    “Mushroom leather” is actually a misnomer. The fabric is made from mycelium, which is the web structure that forms the roots of mushrooms underground.  Though the space is gaining momentum as brands bring products to market and start-ups attract investment, most items are still limited-edition or very expensive. To gain mainstream traction, companies need to scale up and prices need to go down. Much depends on how brands’ first experiments perform.  A large swath of companies, including LVMH and Kering, see value in testing mycelium as consumers become more interested in looking after their social and environmental impacts at the same time innovations mature.  If all goes well, the market for alternative materials could be worth $2.2 billion by 2026. 


    Additional Resources: 
    Would You Buy a Mushroom Handbag? For the first time, brands including Stella McCartney, Balenciaga and Hermès are bringing products made of mushroom-based materials to market, an early test for whether the next-generation fabrics could one day hit the mainstream. Fashion’s Race for New Materials — Download the Case Study: Brands are pursuing a raft of initiatives to adopt recycled textiles, regeneratively farmed cotton and mushroom-based leather, but giving fashion’s major materials a sustainability makeover still requires billions of dollars worth of investments and deeper, longer-term commitments to scale.  Luxury’s Latest Battleground: Material Science: Armed with extensive patent portfolios, Bolt Threads, Modern Meadow, MycoWorks, Natural Fiber Welding and others are targeting luxury brands with alternative materials.


    Follow The Debrief wherever you listen to podcasts. 
     
    Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout. 
     
    Want more from The Business of Fashion? Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.

    • 22 min
    The Decline of the Skinny Jean

    The Decline of the Skinny Jean

    After years of analyst anticipation that the leg-squeezing silhouette would soon go out of style, market research firm NPD Group found sales for the skinny jeans fell behind straight leg jeans in 2021. Skinny jeans are far from dead though — still accounting for 30 percent of sales. Retailers have already felt the effects of the shift: Pacsun pulled the style from its stores because no one was buying it.  “It really just speaks to the changing of the times and how styles are evolving within fashion,” said BoF correspondent Chavie Leiber.  
    Key Insights: 
    Skinny jeans are no longer the most popular denim silhouette, according to data from NPD Group. But, that doesn’t mean no one is buying them.  As consumers come out of the pandemic, they don’t just want comfort. Shoppers are either skewing toward raw denim with no stretch or athleisure and leggings — but jegging and stretch denim styles occupying the in-between have started to fall to the wayside.  The world is in the midst of a “denim Renaissance,” says Marie Pearson, senior vice president of denim at Madewell, who added she’s never seen so many different types of fits and shapes selling. Additional Resources: 
    The Style That Finally Dethroned Skinny Jeans Why Skinny Jeans Will Never Die Fashion Drives New Denim Momentum  
    Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout.
     
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    • 16 min
    How Luxury Woos the World’s Biggest Spenders

    How Luxury Woos the World’s Biggest Spenders

    BoF’s Chavie Lieber dives into the elaborate and secretive way luxury brands court their high-spending clients with trips to exotic locales and entry to exclusive events. 
     
    Background: 
     
    In the midst of a post-Covid luxury boom, brands are going the extra mile to lavish top spenders — known as very important clients, or VICs. To court and keep VICs, who often account for the majority of their sales, names like Givenchy, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Chopard fly clients out to ritzy charity galas and film festivals, organise exclusive runway shows and extended stays in five-star hotels and even grant access to designers and executives.   
     
    “It's really about access to a designer, keeping them in the inner rings of the fashion world, so they feel seen and appreciated,” said BoF correspondent Chavie Lieber. “And then, obviously it leads back to more sales.” 
     
    This week on The Debrief, BoF’s Chavie Lieber takes Lauren Sherman inside the cloistered world of luxury clienteling. 
     
    Key Insights: 
     
    VICs, who can range from being very private to Insta-influencer status, are the engine powering luxury. Luxury e-commerce platform MyTheresa said 3 percent of its customers account for 30 percent of its business.  In response to consumer appetite in the wake of Covid, brands have upped the ante on experiences for VICs and potential new big spenders.  Much focus has been on the US, where spending in tertiary cities like Palm Beach and Austin — rather than New York and Los Angeles — is redirecting luxury’s attention.  In the midst of economic turbulence, VICs are becoming even more important to brands, as entry level consumers hold off on spending-up.   
     
    Additional Resources:
     
    How Luxury Brands Court the 1 Percent The Crypto Wealthy Are Luxury’s New Big Spenders The Two Hottest Cities in America  
     
    Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout. 
     
    Want more from The Business of Fashion? Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.
     

    • 24 min
    Fashion’s Greenwashing Problem

    Fashion’s Greenwashing Problem

    In a sea of unsubstantiated claims about sustainability, BoF’s Sarah Kent explains why it's so hard to measure impact, and what sort of regulation could be coming for fashion.  
     
    Background: 
     
    Concern about the environmental impact of clothing has swelled in the past few years. So too, has the practice of greenwashing. Right now, fashion marketing is flooded with eco-conscious messaging as brands dub their products “sustainable” without doing the groundwork to back up declarations. Consumers and regulatory parties are starting to demand more. 
     
    “What we're seeing is companies wanting to talk more about this, consumers wanting to know more about this, and regulators really sitting up,” said chief sustainability correspondent Sarah Kent. “It's this perfect storm where something that has been an issue that needed to be addressed for a long time is coming to a head.” 
     
    Key Insights: 
    With little oversight outside voluntary inter-industry initiatives and no regulation, a sustainable marketing free-for-all has swept over fashion.  European policymakers looking to crackdown on greenwashing are currently considering legislation about how impact across various environmental areas can be measured.  Several snags have inhibited any real progress on measuring sustainability, including bad data, tangled methodologies, and the presence of complex social factors that go beyond ecological impact.  Some brands have begun efforts to increase transparency and show consumers information on why their products are more or less sustainable. H&M has started to give items nutrition-style labels that tell buyers things like what level its materials rank on a scale of better alternatives. Allbirds attributes carbon calorie counts to its products, so consumers understand associated emissions.   
     
     
    Additional resources: 
    Green or Greenwashing: Who Gets to Decide?: European efforts to introduce standardised rules governing how brands backup environmental claims are fuelling a heated debate that stands to create winners and losers. The Sustainability Regulations That Could Reshape Fashion: Governments in Europe and the US are discussing regulations and policy proposals that could help steer the sector in a more sustainable direction. Fashion's Greenwashing Problem Begins with Bad Data: Fashion is doubling down on ambitious promises to clean up its environmental impact, but bad and misleading data are complicating efforts to build a more sustainable industry.  
     
    Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout. 
     
    Want more from The Business of Fashion? Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.

    • 20 min

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