Newsletter 35 of 2019

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           Newsletter No. 35                                                     13 September 2019

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SA designer Thebe Magugu becomes first African to win LVMH Prize

By Kaunda Selisho

Whatever collections the winner designs during his time at LVHM headquarters will be available online.

Critically acclaimed South African designer and LISOF graduate Thebe Magugu was the toast of the town when he was announced as the winner of the Moët Hennessy–Louis Vuitton (LVMH) Prize for Young Fashion Designers recently.

Magugu, whose women’s wear brand bears his name, is also the first African designer to win the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers which will see him receive a €300,000 (R4.9 million) grant and a yearlong mentorship from executives at the French luxury conglomerate.

The 26-year-old beat out eight other finalists to take home top honours at a finale event held at Louis Vuitton in Paris, France.

The competition was launched in 2013 and created to honour and support young fashion designers around the world.

According to the official website, every year, a young designer and three graduates from fashion schools can claim prestigious prizes from the conglomerate.

The competition that Magugu won is open to designers under the age of 40 from every country in the world. All they need to qualify is to have produced at least two collections prior to entering.

In addition to the mentorship and the grant, Magugu will receive support in all the areas of expertise that LVMH believes are critical to a young fashion brand; intellectual property, sourcing, production and distribution, image and advertising as well as marketing.

Past winners include Canada’s Thomas Tait (2014), France’s Marine Serre (2017) and Japan’s Masayuki Ino (2018).

Formed in 1987 as a result of the merger between fashion house Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy, the French luxury conglomerate is home to over 60 subsidiaries that produce luxury lines of clothing, cosmetics, fashion accessories, jewellery, perfumes, spirits, watches and wines.

According to an organisational chart by Christian Dior, their company is the main holding company of LVMH as they own 40.9% of its shares and 59.01% of its voting rights.

Some of the conglomerate’s best-known subsidiaries include Rihanna’s Fenty clothing line, Céline, Charles & Keith, Dior, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Hublot, TAG Heuer and Bvlgari.

Social media was atwitter with news of Magugu’s win last week, with well wishes streaming in from the likes of Lindiwe Suttle, Glamour editor Asanda Sizani and media personality Maps Maponyane.

Whatever collections Magugu designs during his time at LVHM headquarters will be available online at LVMH-owned multibrand e-commerce platform 24S.   The Citizen

The owner of Foschini grabs market share

By Karl Gernetzky

Clothing group TFG says cash turnover has grown solidly in the first 21 weeks of its 2020 financial year, but credit extension remained almost flat in Africa due to reduced consumer spending.

The group said growth in credit turnover was 0.9%, reflecting its prudent approach to credit extension, particularly in the current subdued trading environment and even more so now that the National Credit Amendment Bill was signed into law three weeks ago.

The bill will result in payments of over-indebted consumers being suspended, in part or full, for as long as two years, or even cancelled if they remained financially distressed.

TFG’s brands include American Swiss, Foschini, and Markham. It also operates in Australia and London.

TFG’s director for financial services, Jane Fisher, said the group believes that the debt intervention measures are unconstitutional.

This is in line with the position held by the National Clothing Retail Federation (NCRF), a body representing major clothing retailers, which made presentations to parliament during the development of the law.

According to the NCRF, the act will not pass constitutional muster as it arbitrarily deprives credit providers of their right to property, in breach of the constitution, Fisher said. “This deprivation of rights is arbitrary, as there are suitable and less restrictive means of assisting low-income consumers which have not been considered by the legislators,” she said.

TFG’s cash sales surged 14.1%, which the retailer said represents significant growth in market share.

Foreign sales remained robust as well, with group turnover rising 8.1% over the period, TFG CEO Anthony Thunström said in a statement prepared for the group’s AGM.

Group online turnover jumped 9.9% over the period, now constituting 9.3% of total turnover. TFG Africa’s online sales jumped 58.5% and those of TFG Australia 32.6%, while TFG London experienced a 1.5% decline.

Mergence investment analyst Nolwandle Mthombeni said the results create the impression that TFG is dealing with a different consumer compared with Mr Price and Truworths. “The comparable turnover growth is far above its peers, which is indicative of market share gains in SA,” she said.

The debt-relief bill will disproportionately affect retailers because in the lower-income market credit is limited to clothing, personal loans and furniture, Mthombeni said.

Unlike some of its retail peers, TFG has a much lower credit exposure and a higher proliferation of brands, which counts in its favour, said Cratos Wealth portfolio manager Ron Klipin. “Management has had a good record of delivery throughout the cycle,” he said.

The outlook for trading conditions across all three of the group’s business segments remains challenging, TFG said, noting that SA’s position is most concerning. “In SA, the constrained economic environment persists with continued fuel price increases, higher taxes, and increasing unemployment all contributing to reduced consumer spending,” Thunström said.

TFG started tightening the credit criteria in the second half of 2018 as it was concerned by some early indicators of deteriorating consumer credit health, said Damon Buss, equity analyst at Electus Fund Managers. “Overall, the update is very solid given the weakness of the macro environment and results of competitors released recently,” Buss said.

TFG’s share price rose 2.75% to R152.94 last Tuesday, with the retailer down 7.93% so far in 2019, compared with a 21.64% slump for the JSE’s general retailer index.  Business Live

New fibres based on food waste

Transforming food waste into fabrics and fibres? This is the booming textile trend that is currently revolutionising the fashion industry, whose toxic environmental impact is being criticised a little bit more each day. We take a closer look at these exceptional materials with extraordinary properties.

A booming sector

Whereas the amount of food waste produced by humans is set to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, textile manufacturers are rivalling each other when it comes to imaginative ways to create innovative and ethical fibres, repurposing natural raw materials that have already been used in order to reduce their environmental impact. This intense and dynamic search has notably been recognised by the filing in 2016 of scientific patents by the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel Limited (HKRITA). The result? Many fibres made using foodstuffs have come to light over the past few years, pushing back the limits of textile design. Accordingly, an Italian company Antonella Bellini is nowadays able to boldly transform spoilt milk into clothes, the milk being heated beforehand, reduced to a powder and then transformed into a woven fibre. But it is not the only one to achieve such feats.

A diverse variety of fibres

The latest to date? Coconut wool. Christened Nullarbor and invented by the Australian firm Nanollose, this fabric is manufactured by fermenting liquid coconut waste, placed in a culture with bacteria, without requiring trees to be cut down or the use of much water/energy compared to cotton. This production method brings to mind the process for making Piñatex, a plant-based leather made from pineapple leaf waste that – initiated by the British firm Ananas Anam – has seen rapid growth in the vegan shoe industry. It is in direct competition with the wine leather from the Italian company Vegea, which had the ingenious idea of using the Latin country’s winemaking resources to come up with an extremely robust material made from the seeds and skins left over from grapes used to make wine. This technological feat earned it the Global Change Award from the H&M group and the 2017 Innovation prize at the PETA Fashion Awards, guaranteeing it global renown. The same success awaited AppleSkin imagined by the start-up Frumat, which uses a specific process to transform the fruit waste into a plant-based textile as well as Kraft paper and tissues.

Finally, it is worth noting the invention of orange fibre, developed by the Salvatore Ferragamo group using citrus waste and rewarded with numerous prizes, as well as banana silk, S.Café® developed by L’Herbe Rouge, and the development of new non-woven materials based on eggshells! This non-exhaustive list of promising advances primarily indicates the emergence of a new textile era based on upcycling and the circular economy. A whole host of opportunities!

Mark Bennett

It is with sadness that we share the news that Mark Bennett, publisher of The African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor newsletter, collapsed and died on August 26, aged 59, whilst on a contracting gig in Ghana, West Africa.

Did you know……..

1933 Fashion: What did people wear?

In 1933, the V-shape (wide shoulders to slim waist with flared skirt) placed an even stronger emphasis on the corset. There was a two-way stretch and the new, all-in-one, full-length corset with Lastex bra and six suspenders to hold up stockings.

Bolero jackets and puff sleeves are in style, as are short, fitted sweaters. In the evening, necklines are high in the front, and very low in the back. Large brimmed hats reinforce the long silhouette.

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