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The DMA Digest is an edited gathering of information relative to DMA United's business model. With the goal of propelling deal flow and internal awareness, the criteria we use in selecting these topics is reflective of our company philosophy: innovation is born from a polycultural and multi-disciplinarian environment.

The Originals: Pharrell Williams

Two months ago, in the midst of New York Fashion Week’s manic, frenetic energy, Pharrell Williams sat in a silent wing of the Brooklyn Museum looking pensive, almost meditative. He’d just finished production on Ariana Grande’s album “Sweetener,” not to mention all the various singles (“Nice” and “Apes–t” for The Carters, “Skeletons” for Travis Scott’s “Astroworld,”) he’d pumped out over the course of 2018. He also had business deals to look out for: his line with Adidas and an upcoming collaboration with Chanel slated for 2019. Plus, he was at the museum that night hosting an event called Yellow Ball for hundreds of guests. So, yeah, he had some stuff on his mind.

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J.Crew Must Die to Live

The struggling specialty retailer is close to being a lost cause. Here's what should be done to try to save it.
NEW YORK, United States — In many ways, outgoing J.Crew chief executive Jim Brett was set up for failure. The former West Elm and URBN exec, who spent the last year and a half restructuring the struggling specialty retailer, wanted to erase J.Crew’s past by lowering prices, selling on platforms like Amazon and smoothing out the aesthetic quirks that once made it sparkle. Those moves were never going to sit right with company insiders who missed the “old J.Crew," whatever that means exactly.

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HOW TO CONVINCE A FASHION BRAND TO GO FUR-FREE IN 2018

It wasn't long ago that a wearing a fur coat was an emblem of conspicuous consumption, a wealth signifier and status symbol that many regarded as distinguished, rather than distasteful.

In 2017 and 2018, several luxury brands (as well as retailers, magazines, fashion weeks and even entire cities) have pledged to go fur-free and ban fur sales — Gucci, Burberry, Versace and Michael Kors among them — after decades of concerted efforts on behalf of animal welfare organizations. But what, exactly, does it take to convince a fashion brand to break its bond with fur?

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IN THE ERA OF ONLINE SHOPPING, THE RETAIL STORE IS IMMERSIVE THEATER

Less than a mile apart, two extravagant new shopping destinations have opened in New York City. One, by Levi’s, sits right in Times Square, surrounded by the area’s flashing screens and rush of pedestrians. The other, Nike’s, is located on a tony stretch of Fifth Avenue, across the street from Cartier and a short walk from Rockefeller Center.

The stores themselves are vastly different in their look and feel, but they have a lot in common. They’re “concept” stores, flagships for their brands and an attempt to dissolve the boundaries between online and offline shopping.

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11.16.18

how cannabis became chic

CBD (and THC) is having a huge moment in mainstream media. But as cannabis becomes more fashionable, its space in the luxury market also becomes more problematic.

There’s nothing we like more than a good makeover. Whether it’s Rachael Leigh Cook falling downstairs in that red dress in She’s All That, or the slightly abusive computer who forced people to remove their fake tan on Snog Marry Avoid, there’s nothing the collective culture enjoys like a good before and after. In 2018, nothing has had a bigger makeover than cannabis.

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INSTAGRAM IS ADDING MORE WAYS FOR YOU TO SHOP ON ITS APP

Instagram announced its recently launched shopping features on Thursday, giving you more reasons to log onto an app that you already spend most of your waking hours on. As mobile shopping continues to rise among consumers, along with the increase of influencer marketing and "Instagram brands" that pop up on our feed, it only makes sense that the social media platform is adding more ways for its users to monetize their accounts.

One update that you'll notice in your "Saved" section is a new "Shopping" collection, which will store all posts that are shoppable. The app is also rolling out a redesign for business profiles, which will feature a "Shop" tab that showcases all of the products a brand or retailer has included in its shopping posts.

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It's The Age Of Modest Fashion And The Modist Is Leading The Charge

It’s a cool, fall day in San Francisco. The de Young Museum is preparing to open one of its most anticipated exhibitions to date, Contemporary Muslim Fashion, an in-depth exploration of fashion within the religion that’s least known for it. It’s an exhibition designed to turn conceptions of the topic on its head, showing audiences that, indeed, Muslim women value fashion just as much as any woman out there, just through the lens of modesty.

Many things had to happen to bring this exhibition to life but amongst all the creative, academic and logistical aspects that made this show come together, the museum enlisted the help of Ghizlan Guenez to co-chair the exhibition, a woman who is making waves in the space of modest fashion, and she’s doing it through business.

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Talk to Me: The Rise of Voice Commerce

The days of tapping or typing to shop might well be numbered.

Experts peering into the future and looking for the next big thing are seeing the advent of the Age of Voice Commerce.

Chatty digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant have already made basic purchases — for paper towels or laundry detergent — a no-fuss proposition. But it is voice tech’s second act that will shape its future beyond grocery store shelves.

And this new chapter has already started to unfold.

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11.15.18

Levi’s Touts Times Square Store, Prepares IPO in Background

NEW YORK — Levi’s is going even bigger in New York.

Just as Levi Strauss & Co. prepares to cut the ribbon on a Times Square flagship that will rank as its largest store in the world, it is also readying paperwork for an initial public offering on Wall Street, a source confirmed to WWD.

The timing makes sense for the denim brand, which has been on a roll under the leadership of chief executive officer Chip Bergh and just logged its fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth with the women’s and the direct-to-consumer businesses both clicking along nicely. (Although privately held, the company still reports results to regulators quarterly because it has publicly traded debt).

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Nike to Blend Digital, Store Experience in House of Innovation

The store offers any number of firsts, including scan to shop, digital lockers and options to reserve merchandise through an app.

When Niketown opened on 57th Street 25 years ago it was a cutting-edge retail concept for the time with its sprawling size and sports-related bells and whistles.

But on Thursday, Nike will significantly up the ante with its new flagship, a six-level, 68,000-square-foot store at 650 Fifth Avenue on the corner of 52nd Street.

The store, dubbed the Nike House of Innovation 000, is intended to integrate the physical and digital experience by incorporating the best of the brand’s offerings — including exclusive and collaborative product — and services in a visually exciting and stimulating environment.

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A Fall Wardrobe Inspired by the King of Pop Art

The king of pop art was the muse for Iceberg’s new fall/winter 2018 collection: an ‘80s-inspired mix of colorful sweaters, playful graphics, and silver accents that pay homage to his silver-walled Factory. Creative director James Long deconstructed and repeated the Iceberg logo in big block letters, evoking the same repetition that made the artist a legend.

The luxury knitwear, jackets, and tote bags combine contrasting bursts of color with the right elevating details, such as frayed trim and embroidered accents. Wear the oversize sweaters as stylish, cozy statement pieces for the office — or a more casual yellow cashmere to brighten up an all-black winter wardrobe. Our favorite pieces are below.

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The Business of Reggaeton Style

LAS VEGAS, United States — Tonight, eight million viewers are tuning in to watch the 19th edition of the Latin Grammys. All eyes are on Colombian singer J Balvin, who, with eight nods, is the most nominated artist of the night. At 33, Balvin is the face of hottest music genre of the moment — reggaeton, a mixture of hip hop, Latin and Caribbean music often sung in Spanish. In June, the Latino superstar who boasts collaborations with the likes of Pharrell, Justin Bieber and Beyoncé and whose music videos regularly reach over a billion views, dethroned Drake as the most streamed artist on Spotify.

Balvin’s success has been years in the making. Since debuting over a decade ago in his native Medellin, he has set out on a mission to cross the language barrier and change the often negative and “erroneous” stereotypes of Latinos around the world, he tells BoF.

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11.14.18

Cracks Appear in China’s Fashion Magazine Landscape

Even as print media sputtered in the West, fashion magazines in Greater China continued to thrive on seemingly endless advertising dollars chasing a consumer hungry for information and advice. But are the heady days now over?

HONG KONG, China – Last month’s long-awaited news of Vogue entering the Hong Kong market comes at a time of volatility for fashion media in the wider Greater China region. Its debut, slated for early 2019, marks almost 30 years since other international fashion titles, such as Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, entered the Hong Kong market, and 13 years since Vogue launched in Mainland China to much fanfare.

Unlike many other markets, Hong Kong’s unique fashion and luxury eco-system – a concentrated population of long-time luxury consumers and strong print advertising performance in the face of digital competition – has largely protected its existing fashion media infrastructure. The city’s special administrative status and its British colonial legacy also left a sophisticated bilingual publishing environment that adds to the anomaly.

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MUST READ: BURBERRY RELEASES NEW HOLIDAY CAMPAIGN, ZAYN STARS ON BRITISH 'VOGUE''S FIRST DIGITAL COVER

Burberry is ringing in the holidays with a new video campaign featuring Kristin Scott Thomas, M.I.A. and Matt Smith, as well as Naomi Campbell and her mother Valerie Morris-Campbell. The 90-second clip — watch above — was shot and directed by British artist Juno Calypso and explores a series of Christmas traditions and rituals done in the brand's iconic check pattern. The ad ends with Campbell and her mother relaxing on a plush sofa wearing pieces from Burberry's collaboration with Vivienne Westwood, which drops on Dec. 6. {Fashionista inbox}

Zayn stars on British Vogue's first digital cover
Zayn — who dropped his last name, Malik, professionally upon his exit from One Direction — fronts British Vogue's first digital cover in an image shot by Scott Trindle. The interview accompanying the cover focuses on Zayn's years-long relationship with Gigi Hadid, his life post-One Direction and his life living with anxiety.

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Nobody Misses Megyn Kelly

Does anyone remember Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor turned Today host who was taken off the air last month after making offensive comments defending blackface Halloween costumes? If they do, they apparently don’t miss her much. According to Variety, since Kelly’s firing three weeks ago, Today’s viewership in its key demographic — viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 — is up by around 10 percent in its pivotal 9 a.m. slot.

Last week, the third hour of NBC’s Today drew 741,000 viewers between 25 and 54 and more than 2.63 million viewers overall — a pretty steep increase from the days of Megyn Kelly Today. In its final week on air, Kelly’s show got 675,000 viewers between 25 and 54, and an overall viewership of 2.52 million. This is the third consecutive week in which the show has had higher overall audience ratings than its rival, Good Morning America.

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Northern California fire death toll rises to 48

(CNN)The Camp Fire has claimed 48 lives and 8,800 structures in Northern California, officials said Tuesday.

The blaze, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state's history, kept growing Tuesday, though firefighters got some reprieve as winds died down.
Still, though swirling winds and limited visibility at times remained challenging, Cal Fire operations section chief Joshua Bischof said the day was a successful one.
Winds Tuesday weren't as brisk, something forecasters said should be the case for the next few days. There is no rain in the forecast, though, until possibly Thanksgiving.

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11.13.18

CANDICE SWANEPOEL DREW ON HER 15-YEAR-LONG MODELING CAREER TO START HER OWN SWIMWEAR BUSINESS

As Instagram and the influencers that dominate it continue to assert their selling power within the fashion industry, certain social media-driven market trends have emerged. Not only are consistently traveling influencers launching clothing brands in droves (with swimwear among the most popular categories), the far-flung sponsored vacation has proven to be an increasingly lucrative marketing program for retailers looking to build their online audiences and push seasonal products.

In many of these cases, the personality behind the brand is leveraging their social capital as a built-in customer base and crafting the label's vision on both their personal aesthetic and the commentary they receive daily from their followers. However, certain big names on social media are industry veterans who have decades of multifaceted experience to draw upon when finally venturing out into the world of entrepreneurship. Candice Swanepoel, who's been a fashion fixture for 15 years primarily thanks to her work as a longtime Victoria's Secret Angel model, falls into the latter camp, and in 2018, she decided to take the plunge (pun intended) on starting a swim company of her own, called Tropic of C.

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Plus-Size, Transgender And Disabled Models Speak Out Against Victoria's Secret

The Victoria's Secret fashion show reportedly enjoys over 800 million viewers across 190 countries. But despite its popularity, it fails to adequately represent the audience it claims to serve. The lingerie behemoth is based in America, where the average woman is a size 16/18 – yet in 23 years, the brand has failed to cast a single plus-size model. And there's no shortage of beautiful, capable plus-size models who are willing to work with Victoria's Secret. In 2015, model Tess Holliday shared an image of herself in lingerie with the caption "If Victoria's Secret needs a plus-size angel, call me. (PS. Us fuller ladies like to wear lingerie and look sexy. Get with it)." A year later, Ashley Graham posted an illustration of herself as the first plus-size model at the Victoria's Secret fashion show that garnered over 150,000 likes on Instagram. The brand didn't respond to either post.

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Stefano Pilati stages official fashion return with label Random Identities

On Tuesday, I voted in the 2018 midterm election and quickly fled the country. Being at an advantage where I can presently agree to press trips, I jetted to Montreal and allowed the psychoses and Schadenfreude of the American civil struggle to fade into the southern expanse...as much as one could, which is, barely at all. I’d come to attend a remote fashion happening – Stefano Pilati had summoned me and a mishmash of others to witness the debut of a new ready-to-wear project, Random Identities. His debut collection under this new imprint was launched last night in conjunction with SSENSE, the Canada gods of online retail, who hosted us for the 48-hour stay. I felt utterly whisked away.

If you’re ever given the chance to visit Montreal, I could not recommend it more. Not only is it the ideal distance to spend away from pundits screaming at one another on CNN, just far enough to shake your head at election results as they cascade down your iPhone screen, thinking to yourself “I used to live there, but not anymore,” but it’s also a short flight that offers charms that feel worlds away from the elbow jabs and Chinatown rats of New York. Everybody speaks French and is extremely nice, for one. 17th-century architecture in the form of domes and basilicas lend an old European opulence to the surrounding warehouses and refineries that make up the city's more prevalent industrial districts. “I bet it’s gorgeous in the summer,” one editor noted. A few of us thought about it and gasped.

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Amazon and ASOS quizzed by lawmakers over 'fast fashion' sustainability

Lawmakers in the U.K. have questioned online "fast fashion" retailers about the impact of their production processes on workers and the environment.

Mary Creagh, chair of the U.K. government's Environmental Audit Committee, wrote to five online-only fashion retailers — including global firms Amazon and ASOS — to request information on areas including staff wages, the life-cycle of the garments sold, and steps being taken to reduce the environmental and social impact of their businesses.

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