This week: a look at what other streetwear blogs-turned-retailers might get acquired next and a report that the E.U. is investigating unnamed fashion brands for antitrust violations. Plus, Commando tries to compete with the new generation of shapewear companies with a new CMO, and the crypto market continues to experience volatility. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Glossy Podcast to hear the Week in Review with Glossy’s editor-in-chief Jill Manoff and myself, as well as Jill’s conversation with Donni founder Alyssa Wasko. — Danny Parisi, sr. fashion reporter
What other streetwear-blog-turned-marketplaces could be acquired?
On Monday, Highsnobiety was acquired by German online fashion retailer Zalando. I wrote a breakdown of the news, chronicling Highsnobiety’s status as a streetwear tastemaker and its transformation into a full-fledged retailer in 2019, and exploring why the move from publisher to retailer was a logical path.
Now that Highsnobiety has been snapped up, the case could be made that other streetwear media brands are good acquisition targets. Just last year, Complex was acquired by Buzzfeed in June. Complex has a strong commerce business that makes up more than 15% of the business; its annual revenue is $200 million.
Over at Vogue Business, Kati Chitrakron wrote a compelling case that Highsnobiety competitor Hypebeast is on its way to becoming a retail powerhouse of its own. The company opened a 25,000-square-foot flagship store on Friday in New York, which sells curated products from 40 of its 250 online brands, plus houses a café, an events space, an art gallery and an office.
Founded in Hong Kong, Hypebeast is currently owned by the Dallas-based private equity firm Core Capital Group. It’s easy to imagine a luxury retailer showing interest in scooping up the property. Farfetch would be a good candidate if it wants to follow up on its acquisition of Stadium Goods. With annual revenue of just under $100 million, Hypebeast is also bigger than Highsnobiety, which hit $60 million annual revenue in 2021.
Underwear and shapewear brand Commando appointed a new CMO last week: J. Crew alumni Lori Wagner.
Wagner spent 12 years at J. Crew as part of its e-commerce team and is the former CMO of Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan and Eileen Fisher.
We’ve previously written about the growth of the shapewear category, particularly in light of the newcomers Skims and Yitty. Commando, founded in 2003 by CFDA designer Kerry O’Brien, is an older name in the space, but is attempting to modernize to keep market share. In addition to Wagner, Commando also hired Gregory Morris, formerly of Alice + Olivia, as its new CTO and Lindsay Lyman-Clarke, of Burton, as chief product officer.
The cryptocurrency market continued to experience volatility last week. Cryptocurrencies exchange Celsius paused all withdrawals, citing “extreme market conditions,” and so-called stablecoin currencies like Tether and Decentralized USD wobbled and dropped below their $1 mark.
The market volatility comes at a time when a number of fashion companies are just beginning to accept crypto payments, including Farfetch and Alo Yoga. On the Glossy Week in Review podcast , Glossy editor-in-chief Jill Manoff and I talked about what the ongoing problems in crypto will mean for fashion’s love affair with all things web3. Our verdict was that crypto probably isn’t going away anytime soon, but the gold-rush feeling of 2021 will likely level off.
EU investigating unnamed fashion designers
In 2020, an open letter signed by dozens of fashion designers proposed shifting the autumn-winter fashion season to August through January and the spring-summer seasons to February through July.
Now, according to a dramatic report from Reuters on Wednesday citing anonymous sources, several of those brands are being investigated for possible violation of antitrust laws. While the open letter ostensibly was meant as a show of unity in support of a fashion calendar that’s more sustainable, it also could be considered an attempt at price-fixing. E.U. regulations discourage companies from banding together and making formal agreements that would influence overall pricing.
While the brands being investigated weren’t named, the letter has dozens of signatures including those from Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, as well as Joseph Altuzarra and Dries van Noten. Those found in violation of the E.U.’s regulations could face a fine of up to 10% of their revenue.