Last week, much of the biggest news was about brands expanding internationally. Cartier is opening U.S. stores, Supreme is opening its first store in China, and Shein is building distribution centers across the U.S. Read on for a look at some of the big news from last week and an analysis of why the jewelry sector is feeling confident. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Glossy Podcast and the Glossy Beauty Podcast! –Danny Parisi, sr. fashion reporter
Jewelry withstands inflation and supply chain pressures
Despite the doom and gloom facing mass brands like Under Armour, luxury brands are staying strong. Companies like Hermès and LVMH have all posted soaring profits. The latter has seen its revenues particularly boosted by its jewelry brands.
LVMH’s third-quarter revenue was nearly $20 billion, with the watch and jewelry sector growing by 25% to $2.6 billion. Within that, Tiffany & Co. and Bulgari were the standouts among LVMH’s jewelry brand portfolio, which also includes Chaumet and Repossi.
Jewelry is particularly resilient to some of the pressures facing other sectors. Luxury jewelry’s high price attracts affluent customers unlikely to be bothered too much by inflation, and expensive watches are an investment opportunity. Rolex even raised its prices for a second time this year on Friday. Jewelry brands, bolstered by good earnings, are eyeing expansion, too, as with Cartier’s plan to open 10 more stores in the U.S. over the next year.
Beyond that, jewelry has two advantages to help weather issues with the global supply chain.
“What’s unique in our category is that you often make your raw materials where you make your product,” said Amy Jain, CEO of the jewelry brand Baublebar. “It’s a lot more streamlined than fabric.”
For example, the vast majority of the silver, gold and platinum used by Tiffany & Co. is mined in the U.S. Around 60% of its products are made in the U.S., as well. That cuts down on the global shipping companies sometimes have to do when their material source, manufacturing locations and customers are in three different places.
And even when jewelry brands do have to ship things, it’s often much easier for them than companies in other categories.
“We can air [ship] everything,” Jain said. “Our product is so small and compact that we can fit a lot of it on a single air freight. There are also a lot of ways we can speed up that process more affordably than other categories can.”
Hedi Slimane’s Celine breaks its runway dry spell
After taking over from cult favorite Phoebe Philo in 2018, Hedi Slimane has led Celine into a new — and occasionally alienating — direction. But the brand hasn’t hosted a runway show in nearly two and a half years, since the pandemic broke out.
That’s changing as, last week, Celine announced that it will return to the runway on December 8 in Los Angeles, continuing the trend of fashion brands showing outside the traditional calendar and locations.
Supreme goes to China
The brand that practically invented hype has never had an official retail presence in China. All of its 14 stores are in the U.S., Europe and Japan. But that changed last week as the company opened a storefront within the new Dover Street Market location in Beijing.
This launch extends Supreme’s existing partnership with Dover Street Market. It includes stores in Dover Street Market locations in New York, London and Tokyo, among others. According to a report from WWD, Supreme has been intending to enter the Chinese market since at least 2020.
Shein established distribution centers in the U.S.
Speaking of international expansion, Shein’s ultra fast fashion model has so far relied on shipping orders to U.S. customers from overseas. But that, too, is changing. The company now has one major distribution center in Whitestone, Indiana, and it plans to open another in California by early next year. A third location somewhere in the Northeast will potentially follow.
It’s a significant increase in Shein’s already formidable logistical empire that puts out thousands of new styles every month.