Worldview: Seoul Fashion Week Lures Regional Buyers


🇰🇷 Retailers from across Asia descend on Seoul Fashion Week. Buyers from Lane Crawford in China, Runway in Vietnam, Nihow in Taiwan and Singapore’s Shift and Pick, which distributes emerging brands throughout Southeast Asia, were among the 101 international buyers from 23 countries at the latest edition of South Korea’s biannual fashion industry showcase. Held from Feb. 1 to 5 in the capital, the event saw more than 20 brands take to the catwalk and 68 join the affiliated trade show. Organisers further encouraged regional Asia-Pacific business links by collaborating with Musinsa, a Korean online retailer selling fashion across 30 countries including Japan, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. [BoF Inbox]

🇨🇳 Alibaba is reportedly considering selling InTime department stores. The e-commerce giant has solicited several firms to buy the Chinese chain of more than 100 stores and malls, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. A recent Reuters report pointed to a wider potential sell-off of non-core consumer sector assets, including grocery business Freshippo and retailer RT-Mart. Alibaba Group did not respond to both media’s requests for comment. [Bloomberg]

🇮🇳 India’s Arvind posts 9% rise in Q3 consolidated net profit. The Bengaluru-based company, which has a portfolio of owned and licensed international brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger and a denim fabric manufacturing business, said consolidated revenue from operations fell 4.6 percent to 18.8 billion rupees ($226 million) during the period, citing lower demand for denim products and other factors. [Economic Times]

🇭🇺 Budapest Central European Fashion Week attracts record visitors. The Hungarian Fashion & Design Agency (HFDA) organised the industry event for the thirteenth time, from Jan. 22 to 28, showcasing 29 brands, including Hungarian, Polish, Slovakian, Serbian, Austrian and Ukrainian designers, to around 3000 visitors including editors from regional fashion media such as Vogue Poland, Vogue Czechoslovakia and Elle Serbia. [BoF Inbox]

🇨🇳 Henkel acquires Vidal Sassoon in Greater China from Procter & Gamble. “With this acquisition, we are able to offer a complete portfolio of hair innovations to consumers in China – across Schwarzkopf, Schwarzkopf Professional, Shiseido Professional, as well as Vidal Sassoon,” said Wolfgang Konig, Henkel’s consumer brands executive vice president. [BoF Inbox]

🇺🇿 Uzbekistan’s cotton industry risks ‘backsliding’ into forced labour. According to a recent report by the Uzbek Forum for Human Rights, observers found a “distinct” increase in reports of coercion during the harvest period even though the monitoring organisation found “no widespread, systematic, government-imposed forced labour” last year. The Central Asian nation is one the world’s top 10 cotton producing countries. [Sourcing Journal]

🇨🇳 Swiss watch exports to China rose 8% in 2023. Shipments to China rose almost 8 percent during the year to about 2.8 billion francs ($3.2 billion), accounting for about 10 percent of exports, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The US remained the top market destination with exports rising 7 percent during the year to 4.1 billion francs ($4.7 billion), accounting for about 16 percent of total exports. [BoF]

🇮🇳 India’s Raymond reports profits of 1.84 billion rupees ($22 million) in Q3. The company, one of the world’s biggest producers of suit fabric and a maker of branded apparel, said consolidated profit after tax nearly doubled in the period. The company with holdings in denim wear and real estate saw net revenue grow 11 percent during the period. [Economic Times]

🇳🇿 New Zealand to pioneer ban of ‘forever chemicals’ in cosmetics in 2026. The country’s Environmental Protection Authority said it will prohibit the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to protect people and the environment. PFAS are class of about 14,000 chemicals often used to make products resistant to water, stains or heat, which can take hundreds or thousands of years to break down in the environment. [The Guardian]

🇮🇳 India’s Titan reports a 9% profit increase in Q3. The country’s largest watch and jewellery group, whose portfolio includes its namesake brand alongside Tanishq, Zoya, Mia and CaratLane, said net profits reached 1,040 crore rupees ($125 million) in the period, amid an international expansion drive across the US, Middle East and Southeast Asia. [Economic Times]

🇨🇳 China’s Temu spent nearly $3 billion in marketing in the US last year. The PDD Holdings-owned online retailer invested big to take market share from Amazon and other competitors, according to a report in the FT, citing advertising spend estimates from research group Bernstein. Temu is also opening its platform to American and European sellers, according to the AP. [Financial Times, AP]

🇮🇳 India’s Kalyan Jewellers posts 21.5% rise in profits after tax in Q3. The Thrissur-based company and seller of its namesake brand said consolidated profits after tax rose to 180.37 crore rupees ($21.7 million) for the period. [Economic Times]

🇨🇳 Canada Goose rides on China luxury recovery to forecast strong quarter. The outerwear brand forecasted revenue above analysts’ estimates on Thursday, as the luxury goods maker bets on a sharp rebound in the crucial China market to help ride out a slowdown in the US. [BoF]

🌍 UN body raises ‘profound concerns’ over Red Sea attacks. UNCTAD raised the alarm about ongoing disruptions caused by Yemen-based Houthi attacks on vessels using Suez Canal-bound freight routes in the Red Sea, and other recent maritime trade disruptions. Meanwhile, Levi Strauss & Co chief financial and growth officer Harmit Singh recently told the Sourcing Journal that the American denim brand is seeing a 10-to-14-day increase in transit times due to the disruptions. [UNCTAD]

🇨🇳 Hermès expands in Hong Kong betting on the return of luxury shoppers. The French brand is expanding its store in Causeway Bay’s Lee Gardens, one of the city’s most high-end shopping malls, adding to recent signs that luxury brands are renewing their focus on the special administrative region as economic slowdown weighs on the broader outlook for China. [BoF]

🇹🇭 Louis Vuitton names Thai rapper BamBam as brand ambassador. The member of K-pop boy band Got7 launched by South Korean record label JYP Entertainment who released a solo album three years ago recently attended the French megabrand’s menswear show in Paris. [Hypebeast]

🇨🇳 Alibaba’s resale trading app Xianyu opens physical store in China. The marketplace, which sells secondhand fashion items and other product categories, has opened the brick-and-mortar location in Hangzhou in a bid to prove its value to the internet and e-commerce group. [Technode]

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