China shakes up its fashion relations

Two top stories in WWD today show that fashion brands' international tensions with China can both interrupt and inspire business plans in the country.

Two top stories in WWD today show that fashion brands' international tensions with China can both interrupt and inspire business plans in the country.

Louis Vuitton cancelled its “China Run” car rally scheduled May 25 to 31, amid anti-French sentiment in China, reports WWD. Since Vuitton execs, Chinese officials, and sponsors outlined details for the event at a press conference last month, much has happened, including disruptions to Paris' Olympic torch relay and French politicians' statements of support for the Dalai Lama that lead to protests at Carrefour stores. The article further reports that Carrefour, a French-based grocery or hypermarket store, also said it would cancel a promotional campaign set to launch in China on May 1, the day slated for protests against the store.

Rather than protest differences, Japanese Fashion designer Yohji Yomamoto told WWD he wanted to soothe the historical wound between his native Japan and China “through the universal language of fashion.” He launched Fund for Peace and produced a show in Beijing on Thursday.

The fund aims to foster creativity among young Chinese fashion designers by choosing a Chinese design student for two years of continuing education in Europe or Japan and one female Chinese model to make her debut at Paris Fashion Week. Yamamoto is cooperating with the Chinese government's Chinese People's Association for Friendship With Foreign Countries for the fund, which will launch next year.

"This is about my personal story, my life story," he told WWD. "It is the time to talk about that. It's not very political, it's very personal."

Also in style:

‘Blood, Sweat, and T-shirts'
As fashion, and everything else it seems, goes eco-friendly, global trade unions cracked down on the industry's labor conditions in China, India, Thailand, and Indonesia with high-profile protests and media accusations. Amid the accusations, BBC has launched the TV series Blood, Sweat, and T-shirts, a reality show that tracks the attitudes of six young fashionistas as they travel outside their comfort zone to work in the mills of India's cotton belt.

Digital beauty
WWD asserts that big beauty companies are leveraging SEO-, email-, and social media group-generated WOM, “complimenting traditional top-down, one-way models” to better reach female consumers and attain ROI. The story outlines campaign success stories, including Dove, L'Oreal, and Wet N Wild brands.

A Vuitton suit, but not the good kind
Louis Vuitton sued a 26-year-old art student for allegedly selling posters and T-shirts of a Darfur victim, holding a designer bag inspired by a Louis Vuitton design, as part of her Simple Living campaign to raise awareness of genocide in Darfur.

The “Vogue” promotion
According to New York mag, Claiborne Swanson has been "promoted" from PR associate at Vogue to Anna Wintour's assistant.

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