PSFW 2015: Strengthening Pakistan’s booming fashion world

April 17, 2015 Leave a comment
Phillapines times

8:13 PM Friday 17 April 2015
Adding more power to the booming Pakistan fashion industry, the eighth edition of the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week (PSFW), beginning here on Saturday, will feature eight high-street brands, 16 luxury/prt designers, six textile brands and four emerging designers showcasing the wave of change in the country’s style choices.
The four-day fashion event will witness three distinct platforms within PSFW. Day one will be dedicated to showcasing by luxury/prt designers, while day two and four will start with early evening high-street brand shows, followed by late evening luxury/prt shows.

The third day will feature platform creations by textile houses as a step to highlight Pakistan’s textile prowess and high street fashion strength, which are of significan to national and international fashion markets.

Saad Ali, CEO of Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PFDC) — the organising body of the fashion gala — says he is excited to further their “commitment to holistic fashion in Pakistan” with this edition.

“All participating brands are Pakistani. We are also giving three dedicated platforms and categories within PSFW to three distinct fashion tiers: high-street brands, textile mills and both mainstream/emerging luxury/prt designers,” he told IANS.

“Ultimately, our vision is the promotion of the business of fashion in Pakistan which is why we have worked hard to include, project and retail these three distinct categories. You can expect trends emerging in three distinct markets as a result of their PSFW 2015 showcases,” added Ali.

To ease the business-to-business process, the organisers are also facilitating a way to “determine each designer collections’ retail ability, its production timeliness, as well as whether a designer is able to have it in stores, and if so, when.”

“This year we have an entire schedule that shows when each designer will be available and where for instance that is available to all press and media,” said Ali.

In terms of show line up, one will see luxury/prt collections from designer names like Fahad Hussayn, HSY, Huma amp; Amir Adnan, Misha Lakhani, Muse, Nickie Nina, Nida Azwer Atelier, Republic by Omar Farooq, SairaShakira, Sana Safinaz, Sania Maskatiya, Teena by Hina Butt, Zara Shahjahan and Zonia Anwaar.

The PFDC also introduces debut solo ramp showcases for designers Natasha Kamal and Syeda Amera with their luxury/prt collections, along with focus on young names, who will present their creations under Bank Alfalah Emerging Talent Showcase.

“Expect a new and fresh take on both high street and luxury/prt from PSFW 2015,” Ali told IANS.

The high street shows will feature Hassan Riaz, BeechTree, Chinyere, Erum Khan, Generation, House of Arsalan Iqbal, Rayya Gilani and Shirin Hassan, highlighting contemporary affordable ready-to-wear apparel. The textile day will feature shows by brands like Alkaram Studio, Gul Ahmed, Harmony, House of Ittehad, Shubinak and Warda Prints.

The overall attempt is to “benefit the very trade and business of fashion”, says Sehyr Saigol, PFDC chairperson.

“With the 12th iteration of our critically acclaimed fashion weeks, the PFDC is always working to streamline our prt–porter platform to make the PSFW experience more beneficial for all stakeholders in terms of show experience, exposure and ultimately, retail value. To that end, each year we look inward to find the best possible formats and categories,” she said.

When it comes to buyers, the forthcoming fashion week will focus more on “strengthening the capacity building and operational efficiency of the Pakistani retail fashion industry”.

“As in past fashion weeks, we focus on national stockists, regional buyers and local clientele. However, it is important to state that at this burgeoning period of fashion in Pakistan, our immediate focus is to be introspective and to first strengthen the capacity building and operational efficiency of the Pakistani retail fashion industry and instill seasonal collection discipline before reaching out again to international buyers,” Ali told IANS.

The PSFW will conclude on April 21.

(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of the Pakistan Fashion Design Council. Nivedita can be contacted at nivedita.s@ians.in.)

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BALENCIAGA ACCIDENTALLY LISTS BAGS ONLINE FOR UNDER $200

April 17, 2015 Leave a comment
But those lucky shoppers might not actually receive them.
The mispriced Balenciaga bags can still be seen on Google Shopping. Screengrab: Google

The mispriced Balenciaga bags can still be seen on Google Shopping. Screengrab: Google

If you were planning to start off your weekend with a casual online Balenciaga purchase Friday morning, you may have noticed that the site is down, as it has been since sometime Thursday afternoon, shortly after shoppers discovered a glitch that caused a number of bags’ prices to be mislabeled. The bags were priced at a fraction of retail — under $200 in some cases — and according to the Twittersphere, it was total mayhem.

 While it appears the site went down pretty quickly, some say they were able to snatch up bags in time. Erika Brickley told Refinery29‘s Connie Wang that five of her friends were able to make purchases.

However, it seems unlikely that those purchases will actually reach them. One enraged customer already had her order canceled.

 A similar incident occurred just a couple of days ago when Lucky Brandinadvertently leaked an employee discount code that allowed shoppers to purchase jeans for one cent per pair. Lucky Brand decided not to fulfill those orders, eliciting a slew of angry Tweets from shoppers who wanted their almost-free jeans.

Given that Balenciaga stands to lose a lot more money by honoring these orders  — most of the luxury brand’s bags are priced in the $1,500 to $3,000 range — shoppers probably won’t end up with more than a story to tell their friends.

A rep for Balenciaga did not return our multiple requests for comment.
Categories: Uncategorized

April 17, 2015 Leave a comment

BALENCIAGA ACCIDENTALLY LISTS BAGS ONLINE FOR UNDER $200

But those lucky shoppers might not actually receive them.
The mispriced Balenciaga bags can still be seen on Google Shopping. Screengrab: Google
The mispriced Balenciaga bags can still be seen on Google Shopping. Screengrab: Google

If you were planning to start off your weekend with a casual online Balenciaga purchase Friday morning, you may have noticed that the site is down, as it has been since sometime Thursday afternoon, shortly after shoppers discovered a glitch that caused a number of bags’ prices to be mislabeled. The bags were priced at a fraction of retail — under $200 in some cases — and according to the Twittersphere, it was total mayhem.

While it appears the site went down pretty quickly, some say they were able to snatch up bags in time. Erika Brickley told Refinery29‘s Connie Wang that five of her friends were able to make purchases.

However, it seems unlikely that those purchases will actually reach them. One enraged customer already had her order canceled.

A similar incident occurred just a couple of days ago when Lucky Brandinadvertently leaked an employee discount code that allowed shoppers to purchase jeans for one cent per pair. Lucky Brand decided not to fulfill those orders, eliciting a slew of angry Tweets from shoppers who wanted their almost-free jeans.

Given that Balenciaga stands to lose a lot more money by honoring these orders  — most of the luxury brand’s bags are priced in the $1,500 to $3,000 range — shoppers probably won’t end up with more than a story to tell their friends.

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A rep for Balenciaga did not return our multiple requests for comment.

Categories: Uncategorized

THREE FORMER AMERICAN APPAREL EMPLOYEES SUE THE COMPANY OVER LAYOFFS

April 17, 2015 Leave a comment

images

They’re claiming they weren’t given sufficient notice.

An American Apparel store. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

An American Apparel store. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The lawsuits continue to mount for American Apparel. On Thursday, three former employees who lost their jobs in company’s most recent round of layoffs — Carlos Hirschberg, Cesar Antonio Palma Cordero and Dominga Valencia — filed a class action complaint against American Apparel, claiming the company didn’t give them sufficient notice as was required by the Department of Labor’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

“Not only did American Apparel not give its employees the mandatory WARN notice for mass layoffs 60 days beforehand, American Apparel’s new management intentionally duped a number of these employees into signing separation agreements releasing any and all claims against the company, including but not limited to claims for severance pay and WARN-related claims, in exchange for paltry sums of money, considerably less than sums to which many of these employees were entitled,” the filing reads.

According to the complaint, American Apparel “insisted that these employees sign these agreements immediately,” despite the fact that many could not speak, read or write in English.

American Apparel, of course, takes a different stance.

“These claims are absolutely without merit,” a rep for the company said in a statement. “Workers’ rights and respect for our employees are core principles of American Apparel. This is clear from our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which reflects our efforts to ensure that American Apparel’s workplaces are free from harassment, bullying, and intimidation, and which promotes fair treatment of employees and compliance with labor and employment laws. We are dedicated to a culture of free speech and social commentary.​”

The Department of Labor’s website says that WARN requires that “most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.” Most, but not all. And according to a company memo written by CEO Paula Schneider, no law required American Apparel to provide its employees severance or notice that far in advance.

We’ll be watching to see how this shakes out. Only one side gets to be right.

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China Cracks Down on Water-Polluting Industries

April 17, 2015 Leave a comment
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Social Media Monitoring: The New Frontier of Customer Service

April 16, 2015 Leave a comment

fierce retailIn this FierceRetail eBook, we’ll take a closer look at the various forms of social media and how they differ, along with a checklist of do’s and don’ts for dealing with complaints. We’ll examine how third-party monitoring agencies can help retailers and brands manage this new channel of customer service, and finally, we’ll look at an example of one industry that is mastering customer service via social media with alacrity: airlines. n

http://servicecenter.fiercemarkets.com/files/leadgen/social_media_monitoring_final_v3.pdf

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Google Joins Its U.S. Peers Under Europe’s Scrutiny

April 16, 2015 Leave a comment

CreditLiz Grauman/The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the last few decades, Europe’s regulators have challenged the practices of some of the titans of American technology, including Microsoft, Intel and now Google.

And despite years of legal wrangling and in some cases, multibillion-dollar fines, the companies have conducted their businesses virtually unchanged.

Microsoft paid $3.4 billion in fines to European regulators over a decade, but its Windows software did not lose its dominant position in personal computers. Intel is still appealing its antitrust case, which began 15 years ago, even as it has become more powerful than ever in PC chips.

And despite five years of scrutiny by European regulators, Googleshowcases its own services prominently, such as maps and reviews, in its search results.

In the formal antitrust charges filed on Wednesday, the European Commission complained only about the results of Google’s shopping searches, noting that investigators were examining other types of search. The agency also began an investigation into how Google bundles its apps with its Android smartphone software, an inquiry that also isn’t likely to reach a quick resolution.

How Europe Is Going After U.S. Tech Giants

The biggest American tech companies face intensifying scrutiny by European regulators, with — pressure that could potentially curb their sizable profits in the region and affect how they operate around the world.

“The remedy issues are great challenges for antitrust,” said Harry First, a law professor at New York University who has written a book about Microsoft’s antitrust troubles. “These companies are big and smart and they know their businesses better than the regulators do.”

The slow process of regulatory enforcement is often at odds with the speed at which tech companies must move, which means that even the $1.4 billion fine faced by Intel can seem like a tolerable cost of business to a company that has $14 billion in cash and liquid assets.

Antitrust issues are not the only legal challenges facing American tech companies in Europe. Regulators and lawmakers are reviewing low-tax arrangements granted to Apple in Ireland and Amazon in Luxembourg, and privacy watchdogs are looking into how Facebook protects people’s online data. Policy makers are also investigating whether American Internet platforms like Amazon have too much control over how Europeans gain access to online services.

Even if regulators do not require substantial changes in how these companies do business, all of these fights impose a cost. In addition to negative publicity, legal costs and possible penalties, the cases are a distraction, forcing companies to defend an existing business model to regulators when perhaps they should be abandoning it because of a changing market.

Rapidly changing technology — rather than regulatory pressure — has been far more important historically in weakening the dominance of big tech companies.

“All the successful firms in the PC and early Web businesses missed mobile or were late to it,” said Timothy Bresnahan, a professor of economics at Stanford who worked for the Justice Department on antitrust matters and has also consulted for Microsoft, Intel and Google over the years.

Microsoft and Intel, focused on PCs, both missed the rise of tablet computers and smartphones, allowing companies like Apple, Google and Qualcomm to become dominant players in mobile devices.

SOME BACKGROUND ON THE CASE

For Google, mobile apps are now nipping at the primacy of its lucrative web searches as cellphone users pull up Amazon or Yelp to search directly for products or restaurant reviews.

In a blog post responding to Europe’s charges, Google noted, “Today seven out of every eight minutes on mobile devices is spent within apps — in other words, consumers are going to whichever websites or apps serve them best. And they face no friction or costs in switching between them.”

Still, the watchful eyes of regulators play an important role in keeping companies’ power in check, and Google’s competitors cheered the European Commission’s actions, which have been much tougher than those of American regulators.

“Google engages in preferencing and manipulates search results so that consumers see content that benefits Google, not the best content for consumers,” Stephen Kaufer, chief executive of TripAdvisor, a travel review site, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement by the commissioner is the first step to making search on Google better for consumers.”

Microsoft, which has played a leading role in organizing industry opposition to Google in Europe, was similarly pleased.

“Clearly every company needs to obey the same legal rules of the road,” the software company said in a statement. “Today’s decision provides to Google a full opportunity to explain its views at a hearing, and the commission will then have the opportunity to decide whether European legal rules have been respected.”

Of course, as Microsoft well knows, that is just the beginning of a long process. Microsoft tangled with European regulators off and on for 20 years, starting in 1993, before finally paying its last fine and ending its appeals.

PLAY VIDEO|1:48

Google Accused of Cheating Competitors

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, accused Google of distorting Internet search results and began an antitrust investigation into its Android mobile operating system.

By Reuters on Publish DateApril 15, 2015. Photo by John Thys/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

Some American tech companies have chosen an alternative approach.

Facebook put itself under European regulatory scrutiny in 2010 by establishing a regional headquarters in Dublin. That means the privacy practices of the social network are generally overseen by Irish regulators, who have traditionally been less confrontational than those in other countries.

“We have an ongoing dialogue with our regulator, the Irish data protection commissioner, who oversees our compliance with the E.U. data protection directive as implemented under Irish law,” said Sally Aldous, a Facebook spokeswoman in London. “We routinely review product and policy updates with them.”

Europe has stricter privacy laws than the United States, and Facebook says that its conversations with Irish regulators have led to improvements for all of its 1.3 billion global users, including better tools to review and delete individual posts and clearer explanations of the company’s privacy practices.

Facebook argues that under European law, it is insulated from separate oversight by other European countries. Despite that, government watchdogs in at least six nations — France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands — have opened investigations into whether the company’s new privacy policies comply with local rules.

Europe’s highest court is also hearing a case that focuses on how Facebook moved European data outside the region. And a class-action lawsuit in Austria, which could lead to a fine of around $12 million, contends that Facebook has not respected the online privacy rights of its users.

Amazon, bowing to concerns raised by Edward J. Snowden’s revelations of United States government surveillance of American tech companies, decided last fall to open a data center in Germany for its web services division. The company already had a data center in Ireland, but both German and European Union regulations have restrictions on storing some of their citizens’ personal data across a national or regional boundary.

“German customers wanted a location on German soil, either for perception or legal reasons,” Adam Selipsky, a vice president at Amazon Web Services, said at the time. So Amazon complied.

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