6 of 2023

                                                                                                                                        Newsletter No 6/17 February 2023                              


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Pharrell Williams’s new role as Louis Vuitton men’s creative director comes as surprise to fashion insiders

Pharrell Williams. Picture: Reuters

American musician, producer and streetwear designer Pharrell Williams will be Louis Vuitton’s next creative director of menswear, succeeding the late Virgil Abloh.

The French luxury brand confirmed the appointment on Tuesday.

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The role, one of the most prominent leadership positions in men’s fashion, had been vacant since Abloh’s death from cancer in November 2021.

Despite Williams’s high-celebrity profile, his selection may come as a surprise to fashion insiders – Jamaican designer Grace Wales Bonner was rumoured to be the front-runner for the role, as was British designer Samuel Ross and LOEWE creative director JW Anderson.

Louis Vuitton chairperson and CEO Pietro Beccari nodded to Williams’s previous work with the brand, saying: “I am glad to welcome Pharrell back home… His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton toward a new and very exciting chapter.”

Late on Tuesday afternoon, LVMH’s landing page featured a simple black-and-white photo of Williams, wearing a white T-shirt and diamond chain, with the greeting, “Welcome Pharrell!”

As the creative director of menswear, Williams will be charged with producing two collections a year, inclusive of bags, accessories and ready-to-wear clothing. His first collection for the fashion house will debut in June at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.

Williams’s appointment to a leading position at the world’s largest luxury brand also points to the continued cultural significance of hip hop, further cementing its status as a global driver of fashion.

Louis Vuitton announced on February 14, 2023 says hip-hop artist Pharrell Williams will take over as head of menswear for Louis Vuitton. Picture: Robyn BECK / AFP

The 49-year-old Virginia native’s role as a cultural tastemaker and influencer is as varied as it is extensive.

Williams is best known for his impact on the music industry, where he helped define hip hop’s sound as a producer, songwriter and frontman of N.E.R.D. Alongside his own chart-topping music (2013’s inescapable “Happy”), Williams has collaborated with or produced hits for Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z, among scores of other artists.

That lengthy résumé of collaboration extends to the fashion world, where he has worked with several major brands, among them Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Tiffany, Nike and Adidas.

His most well-known partnership, though, is his work with Japanese designer Nigo, the founder of the streetwear company A Bathing Ape. Together, they launched the Billionaire Boys Club in 2003, a clothing, accessory and lifestyle brand aimed at blending streetwear and luxury. Its sneakers (released under the sub-label ICECREAM) were especially popular among youth skateboarders and hip-hop heads in Japan and the US. (Nigo is now creative director of LVMH’s Kenzo label.)  IOL

Call to apply: Fashionomics Africa incubator and accelerator programmes

The African Development Bank has launched the second edition of the Fashionomics Africa Incubator and Accelerator Programs, which aim to assist African entrepreneurs operating in the textile, apparel and accessories (TA&A) industry to scale and expand their businesses.

The incubator programme will be focused on early-stage micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and startups in the textile, apparel and accessories industry, with the goal to provide fashion entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge to grow their projects, build sustainable business models and access financing opportunities.

The accelerator programme will be focused on growth-stage startups in the fashion industry that have launched a business and are focused on building a customer base, maintaining cash flow and potentially expanding their product lines or markets.

What applicants stand to gain

Top applicants will be onboarded into an incubator or accelerator programme where they will be granted:

  • Access to curated resources to help them build and grow their business (incubator) or to help them scale and expand their businesses (accelerator)
  • Access to a strong community and network of fashion creatives across Africa.
  • Access to specialised fashion business training, mentorship and community-led events.
  • Access to industry-relevant data insights about the African fashion ecosystem.
  • Opportunities to pitch their fashion solutions and receive critical feedback and suggestions from industry experts.

Opportunity to be selected as the winner of $20,000 of the incubator or accelerator programme.

The application form will require participants to answer a quiz-based questionnaire.

Applications are open until 22 February 2023.

Click here for more information and to apply.  Bizcommunity

Cannabis production can be a catalyst to revitalise rural communities

Picture: Bloomberg

We need a practical means of ensuring production and value chains don’t mainly develop in areas that have always been the leading agriculture zones

Michael Schmidt raises essential questions about the pace of regulatory work to open the cannabis market and the participation of small-scale farmers

I would add that cannabis could indeed be a catalyst for revitalising rural communities that are currently on the periphery of commercial agriculture value chains, and create opportunities for canna-tourism, especially in rural Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, as President Cyril Ramaphosa rightly highlighted in his state of the nation address (Sona).

SA can still build a competitive edge in the cannabis industry even though countries like Lesotho were first movers. Lesotho is building its cannabis economy on the back of low-cost labour, water abundance, relatively affordable electricity and high altitude, which reduces costs associated with pest management, thereby positioning the country as a key supplier of an organic variety of cannabis.

SA’s competitive advantage could be built on the back of a transparent and predictable regulatory framework; an open investment regime; strong research and development support; knowledge networks that bring together university researchers, centres of excellence and other industry players; product quality and standards authority; and a low-cost licensing regime.

There are real opportunities for new entrepreneurs in this sector. These include cultivation and production; hydroponics; industrial hemp (fuels, chemicals, environmentally friendly plastics, biodegradable nappies, sanitary pads and textiles); compound isolation and new strand development; seed distribution; logistics and transportation; retail outlets or dispensaries and clinical trials and medical research.

But what we need to be thoughtful about is a practical means of ensuring that production and value chains don’t mainly develop in areas that have always been the leading agriculture zones and urban areas where there is better access to investment.

The communities of the Mpondoland region of the Eastern Cape, which the president mentioned in the 2022 sona and again recently, has indeed been growing this plant in the shadows of the law for many years and should benefit from its liberalisation. But does the government have a clear plan for mobilising investment and value chain development to these regions, or will much be left to market forces to determine?

I fear these areas will likely be left out of the commercial value chains if it’s the latter.

Wandile Sihlobo
Department of agricultural economics, Stellenbosch University

Pick n Pay – trading update

Group sales for the first 10 months of the 2023 financial year (FY23) increased 9.3%. South Africa sales growth for this 10- month period was 9.0%, with like-for-like sales growth of 4.8%. The Group’s Rest of Africa segment increased sales by 17.0% for the 10-month period.

Fast Fashion Facts You Might Not Know

More than USD$500 Billion Are Lost from Lack of Recycling and Clothing Underutilisation 

While we are constantly coming up with new, innovative technologies to recycle textiles, we are still not doing enough. It is estimated that less than 11% of fashion brands have implemented recycling strategies for their items. The main reason why recycling is so hard is because of the materials we use to manufacture fashion items. Most are produced with synthetic fibres that are made with crude oil, which makes them almost impossible to reuse in other ways. Fortunately, data shows that the sustainable and ethical fashion market is growing rapidly, offering alternatives that produce clothing with more environmentally friendly materials, that are grown and harvested in a sustainable way, and produced with fewer resources and less toxic materials


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