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Huang Xiaoming launches Tissot’s T-Touch Connect Solar in China

Filed by Lucire staff/November 10, 2020/11.27


The watchmakers are really pushing their wares in China, one of the few countries who could claim to have a post-COVID economy. It’s now Tissot‘s turn, releasing its latest T-Touch Connect Solar touchscreen watches at the third China International Import Expo (CIIE), with spokesman and actor Huang Xiaoming (黃曉明).
   At the Tissot booth, Huang was hosted by Dai Junjun, the vice-president of Tissot China. Dai told the audience of Tissot’s history, beginning in 1853, tapping into the longevity that Chinese consumers respect and which many of their own brands do not yet have.
   Huang said at the event, ‘The spirit of Tissot is one that is brave to create and climb high. Just like a good actor will not be tied to a role, Tissot has been constantly breaking boundaries, exploring new areas, and making new achievements.’
   On the new T-Touch Connect Solar watches, Dai said, alluding to the times, ‘We want to break the ground for outdoor enthusiasts who have the courage to climb. Concerns about time, space, and safety reduce the burden of travel, allowing them to better enjoy the journey, enjoy nature, and enjoy life.’
   The watches have a low power consumption with capacity for solar charging. When exposed to the sun, they can run for months.
   They are Android, Iphone and Huawei Harmony-compatible, and can be connected to a mobile app interface. Others cannot access the watches readily, with a high level of privacy built in. The case is made of titanium, with a ceramic bezel. The watches are waterproof, withstanding pressure equivalent to 10 bar.

 


Putting the brakes on fast fashion

Filed by Jack Yan/August 15, 2020/9.10

Lucire is UN Environment’s first fashion industry partner.

Abigail Beall’s statistics in a recent BBC report about clothing recycling make sobering reading. She writes, ‘Around 85% of all textiles thrown away in the US—roughly 13 million tonnes in 2017—are either dumped into landfill or burned. The average American has been estimated to throw away around 37kg of clothes every year. And globally, an estimated 92 million tonnes of textiles waste is created each year and the equivalent to a rubbish truck full of clothes ends up on landfill sites every second.’ Her other statistics show that only 12 per cent of the material for clothing gets recycled, and that the fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and 20 per cent of global waste water.
   Meanwhile, on the consumer end, our need for gratification (at least in the UK) has seen us buy 60 per cent more clothing than we did 15 years ago, and no one wants to wait six months after seeing something on the catwalk.
   Beall says that recycling is difficult because while there may be one dominant material, such as cotton, threads and labels are made from other materials. Jeans are usually made of cotton yarn blended with elastane. This makes them all difficult to recycle, and sorting textiles into different fibres is still usually done manually. Techniques to chemically separate blends without losing either natural or synthetic fibres are not yet scalable.
   And what’s donated to charity shops is now of poor quality, with most reaching Oxfam’s Wastesaver plant unsellable, and six tonnes a week are torn up to be used as cloths or stuffing.
   Many fashion labels are recognizing these difficulties, especially as consumers realize the harm the industry is causing the environment. Some have been choosing recycled materials, including ocean plastics that have been turned into new materials in clothes and shoes—over the years Lucire has devoted plenty of space to these. Others are inventing new, sustainable materials.
   There is some hope that the lockdowns that various countries have had to endure during the COVID-19 crisis might wake populations up to the preciousness of the environment. Many enjoyed watching nature return, something covered in an earlier issue of Lucire KSA. And, with many now opting to work from home—and companies adjusting to the new reality of allowing staff to work remotely—the need to dress up for the office has diminished. Casual clothes are very much the norm in many societies now. In such cases, people might not be quite as willing to push for the latest in attire if it isn’t going to be seen in public, and only in the virtual world. Might we embrace quality over novelty once more?
   Beall shows that the rise in consumption is a relatively recent phenomenon, something within living memory for most consumers. It can only be a good thing for the planet if we reduced our clothing consumption to the levels they were at 15 years ago, and even then labels were making money in the clothing business.
   We weren’t so obsessed with fast fashion, and while retailers like H&M and Zara were making headway around the world with cheaply made garments, there were still enough consumers happy to pay more for quality. Until 2004 there was a difference, too: high-end designer style hadn’t been democratized, not until Karl Lagerfeld began the first of many designer collaborations with H&M, giving rise to what this magazine called ‘accessible luxury’.
   We also weren’t as obsessed with the new. When Lucire was first established, some fashion labels were deeply wary of allowing online media to cover their catwalk shows. They were scared of counterfeiters: the sooner they could see something, the sooner the knock-offs would appear. The designers were used to having the advantage, and old media were willing to comply. Lucire, for its part, never ran the catwalk stories live: internet connections weren’t that great then, and neither was digital photography. By the time the film and prints got to New Zealand, and everything was manually laid out, there was a delay. But as coverage democratized, and as designers themselves delighted in showing every­thing live, often to “influencers” who beamed the shows instantaneously via social media, consumer demands also shifted. In an Instagramming generation, being seen with the latest is more vital than before—yet, again, one hopes that the perspective we’ve gained with the pandemic will put the brakes on that.
   We’re not exactly in Luddite position or pining for a return to the past. We’re excited about the innovations, such as Bionic, a polyester made from recycled shoreline waste that H&M, recognizing the shift, has promoted [Natalia Vodianova modelled one such dress three years ago, shown at top]; and the new sustainable materials that our clothes could be made from. But we would like to see the end of the race to the bottom which fast fashion and the insistence on novelty have driven, where garment workers are paid less and less to satisfy the profits of some brands and the appetites of some consumers.
   If we value good design, ethical sourcing and quality over novelty and low prices, then we may be able to reverse some of these frightening statistics. It might even be unfashionable, as the pandemic affects certain countries worse than others, to flaunt the fact you’ve been able to head out shopping (real or virtual) to get the newest. Influencers will need to find something else to promote.
   Even filmmakers are sensing it. The Michael Winterbottom-directed Steve Coogan–Isla Fisher comedy, Greed [covered earlier in Lucire], is a satirical tale about a thinly disguised version of Sir Philip Green, the head of Arcadia Group, who stood accused by British government committees of plundering British Home Stores while under his company’s control. Sir Philip also did not escape criticism in this magazine.
   Coogan plays Sir Richard ‘Greedy’ McCreadie, who spends his adult life pushing suppliers in Sri Lanka (with India standing in for the country in the film) into a race to the bottom. The last act wraps up the film neatly: namely that for all the lessons that we might have learned, the fictional McGready family ticks on, little changed. No, the outcome isn’t funny, but it is a call to action—it’s Winterbottom exercising pathos. Showing statistics about fast fashion, the income gap, and the single-digit earnings of Asian garment workers takes that one step further. Are we choosing to fund these lifestyles and the fast-fashion machine, or should we opt for the sort of designers often championed by this magazine, who work with Fair Trade, eschew seasons, and emphasize quality?
   With such a film part of our 2019–20 Zeitgeist, then it appears that we should call time on the excesses the industry has created, opening the door to those independent designers, many of whom have appeared in this magazine, who invest heart, creativity, and time to make quality fare.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Facebook’s demise wouldn’t affect us much

Filed by Jack Yan/May 30, 2020/11.14

Like many other publications, Lucire sends updates to Facebook, Twitter and Mastodon. Occasionally we’ll Instagram an image to a story. However, we’ve had reservations about social media, especially Facebook, for over a decade. In November 2010, we wrote on our Facebook page, ‘We have stopped the automated importing of notes to this Facebook page. These stories receive around 200–400 views each, but that also means that our site loses 200–400 viewers per story.’ At that stage we probably had around 600 fans on the Lucire fan page, showing you just what cut-through pages were getting before Facebook intentionally broke its sharing algorithm to force people to pay to get the same reach. (Reach dropped 90 per cent overnight.) We didn’t feel any desire after that to build social media presences, because we spotted the con—as did this YouTuber:

   Back then, Facebook allowed the importing of articles via RSS, which meant everything from Lucire’s news pages automatically wound up on the social network. It was a crazy idea, when you look back: it wasn’t designed to drive traffic to our main site, it only made Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg rich as you spent more time in their walled garden.
   Even after we stopped, we still shared headlines to Facebook, thinking that these would entice fans sufficiently to click through. At one stage, we could see referrals from Facebook among our stats, but these days, there is no correlation between the Facebook reach numbers and the actual views of the story on our own site.
   In 2016, NPR posted a headline to its Facebook page, ‘Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?’ but the contents of the article read, ‘We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let’s see what people have to say about this “story.”’ You can predict what happened: the link got plenty of comments. Anyone who says that Americans don’t get irony is gravely mistaken.
   Even in the late 2000s I was saying we lived in a ‘headline culture’ where people might never read the article itself, and social media have exacerbated this phenomenon. Many social media today, including the largest sites, are little more than glorified Digg sites, places where links are shared, but not necessarily places which drive traffic.
   Of course there will be exceptions to the rule, but generally, social media do not mean engagement. A 2015 study by Parse.ly showed that social media-referred readers engage the least with a given article. Search engine-referred readers were slightly better. But the best came from those who were already loyal readers on the site.
   In an age of “fake news” I do not believe the statistics will have improved, particularly on websites whose businesses thrive on outrage. People are divided into tribes where they seem to derive some reward for posting more links that support that aims of those tribes: a situation rife for exploitation, if certain countries’ investigations are to be believed. Certainly as early as 2014 I was warning of a ‘bot epidemic’, something that only became mainstream news in 2018 with The Observer’s exposé about Cambridge Analytica.
   But none of that bad news broke the addictions many people have to these websites. On our ‘about’ page on Facebook, we note: ‘Fast forward to (nearly) the dawn of the 2020s. We won’t lie to you: we’re not fans of how Facebook says one thing and does another. In our pages, we’ve promoted based on merit, and Facebook wouldn’t actually pass muster if it was a fashion label.
   ‘We know Facebook is tracking you, often more than your settings have allowed. Therefore, we’re consciously trying to limit the time you spend on this website.
   ‘However, we also know that we should maintain a Facebook presence, as there are many of you who want that convenience.’
   Nonetheless, I regularly wonder if that convenience is even worth it if there is no correlation with readership.
   Twice this month I was locked out of Facebook, because, allegedly, there was unusual activity. If checking your Facebook on a far less regular basis—say a couple of times a week—is unusual, then I’ll expect to get locked out far more frequently. As the importing of our Tweets to Facebook is driven by another program (on IFTTT), and that is linked to my personal account (one that I haven’t updated since 2017), then each time Facebook blocks me, it breaks the process. It’s also a website that has bugs that were present when I was a regular user in the late 2000s through to the mid-2010s, including ones where we cannot even share Lucire links because the site automatically ruins the address, rendering the previews anywhere from inaccurate (claiming the page doesn’t exist) to useless (taking you to a 404). Only the text link will work.
   We get the occasional like and share from our Facebook, although these do not inform our editorial decisions.
   We won’t go so far as to proclaim the end of social media, regardless of how angry the US president gets with fact checks; but we’ve been sceptical about their worth for publishers for a long time, and there are increasing days where I wonder whether I’ll even bother reconnecting the sharing mechanism from Twitter to Facebook if Facebook breaks it again. The question I’m really asking is: does the presence of links to our articles matter much to you?
   Ultimately, I care about all our readers, including Facebook users, and that remains the overriding motive to reconnect things one more time after Facebook locks me out. And I suppose the lock-outs in 2020 are much better than the ones during most of the 2010s, where Facebook forced you to download a “malware scanner” on false pretences, planting hidden software with unclear purposes on to millions of computers around the world. Their record is truly appalling, and if Facebook vanished overnight, I wouldn’t shed a tear.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


YOOX and Vogue Italia launch sustainable, responsible fashion programme with €50,000 top prize

Filed by Lucire staff/February 23, 2020/1.09




Jacopo M. Raule

YOOX and Vogue Italia celebrated the launch of their mentoring programme, the Vogue YOOX Challenge—the Future of Responsible Fashion, at the San Paolo Converso church in Milano yesterday, during the city’s fashion week.
   The programme aims to support and mentor designers, creatives and start-ups who are investing in social responsibility and sustainability.
   The Challenge culminates in September when 10 finalists are selected by a group of sustainability experts. An international jury then evaluates the projects during the Milano moda donna for spring–summer 2020 in September. The winner is then announced, and their project is celebrated in February 2021, at the autumn–winter 2021–22 collections. In addition to the support, mentoring, communications and distribution, the winner will receive a cash prize of €50,000 to realize their project.
   The international jury includes Federico Marchetti, chairman and CEO of Yoox Net-à-Porter Group; Emanuele Farneti, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo; Sara Sozzani Maino, deputy editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and head of Vogue Talents; Liya Kebede, model and women’s rights’ activist; Amber Valletta, model and actress; Lisa Armstrong, head of fashion at The Telegraph; Alice Ben Arous, chief of staff of Richemont’s fashion and accessories’ division and a member of its CSR committee; Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (Italian Chamber of Fashion), Rosario Dawson, actress and co-founder of Studio 189; Orsolo de Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution; Tonne Goodman, sustainability editor of Vogue; Eva Herzigová, model and editor-at-large of Vogue CS; Suzy Menkes, international Vogue editor; Clare Press, presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast; Dilys Williams, director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion.
   The sustainability experts are Alex McIntosh, founder and creative director of Create Sustain; Giorgia Roversi, director of sustainability and inclusion at of Yoox Net-à-Porter Group; Francesco Perrini, ordinary professor of the Department of Management and Technology of Bocconi University; Francesca Romana Rinaldi, director of the Master in Brand & Business Management and New Sustainable Fashion at the Milan Fashion Institute (an inter-university consortium composed of Bocconi University, Università Cattolica di Milano and Politecnico di Milano); Elisa Pervinca Bellini, sustainability and talent editor of Vogue Italia and a member of the Condé Nast Global Employee Council on Sustainability.
   Guests at the event welcomed by Marchetti, Farneti, Valletta and Kenede included Karolína Kurková, Coco Rocha, Bianca Balti, Anna Wintour, Suzy Menkes, Carla Sozzani, Giuseppe Zanotti, Walter Chiapponi, Maurizio Cattelan, Francesco Vezzoli, Aya and Ami Suzuki, Nataly Osmann, Miriam Leone, Greta Ferro, Arthur Arbesser, Sara Battaglia, Linda Tol, Stella Jean, Ekaterina Darma, Ilenia Durazzi, Ferdinando Verderi, Nina Yashar, Matteo Ward, Paula Cademartori, Gabrielle Caunesil, Andrea della Valle, Vogue Russia’s Masha Fedorova, Helen Nonini, Massimiliano Locatelli, Kris Ruhs, W’s Stefano Tonchi, Candela Pelizza, Vogue Japan’s Anna dello Russo, Andrea Incontri, Abrima Erwiah, and former Miss Italia Miriam Leone.
   Wines were provided by Masi Agricola.

Jacopo M. Raule

 


Instagram won’t replace the fashion magazine

Filed by Jack Yan/January 31, 2020/12.14


Lindsay Adler

Above: The cover from Lucire KSA, January 2020, modelled by Camille Hyde with fur by House of Fluff. Photographed by Lindsay Adler Photography, styled by Cannon/the Only Agency, hair by Linh Nguyen, and make-up by Joanne Gair using Danessa Myricks Beauty.

A few weeks ago, I got out of the habit of Instagramming. Since 2012, I did it initially out of fun, then as a way of keeping up with hobbies and a few friends, but when some personal changes happened, the habit left. Facebook I had departed for any personal updates in 2017, after some well documented problems—before Christopher Wylie voiced his concerns to The Observer, incidentally—while Twitter has revealed that its data-gathering doesn’t stop even when you’ve opted out of personalized advertising. Facebook does the same, and it’s public knowledge that it’s quite happy to sell these data to others.
   I thought it was a massive mistake for Facebook to remind us that it owned Instagram and Whatsapp through its latest branding efforts, because surely the parent company and its flagship product are tainted by now? It’s been further tainted by the stench of politics, the tribalism that they exhibit, and the outright lies its bosses tell.
   At some point, some government will develop the cohones to say monopoly power is bad and stifles innovation, changing Big Tech significantly. Perhaps some agency will have the guts to point out that regular deceptive comments to the public do have consequences. But till then, this first year of the decade won’t look too different from the last year of the last in terms of how the majority of people consume media, old and new.
   None of these fleeting media give you much depth, and Instagram is arguably the least tainted by politicking and negativity, showing pretty pictures (for the most part) that you can either like or scroll past.
   I was, therefore, surprised that in the last few years, I read one proclamation that the days were numbered for fashion magazines since there was Instagram. I beg to differ, and it’s not just out of a personal bias, but out of keen observations of the ebbs and flows of social media. Yes, I may have got out of the habit of Facebooking and Instagramming, but millions of others haven’t. But to say fashion magazines were a thing of the past? It’s hard to fathom.
   Instagram does give a few obvious benefits. Immediacy, for one. Users can then link the item to a smartphone-optimized shopping site. As a retail aid, it’s clever. It has video, where brand stories can be told. But, like any new medium, at best this complements what already exists. Instagram doesn’t replace long-form journalism told by an objective observer.
   At home we have a 34-year-old copy of The Australian Women’s Weekly. It’s the Christmas issue, and it’s packed with articles that entertain, with barely any sensationalism. The magazines of this era, buoyed by healthy advertising prices and editors who arguably enjoyed educating as much as entertaining, aren’t, to me, relics. Lucire has always strived to be a decent read, more so in our print editions, and while our presentation is more contemporary, our values haven’t changed. We moved past offering a magazine that was based around today’s news, with retail specials for the following month, long ago. We could see that wasn’t relevant in a digital age. But we repositioned and kept what did work. World-class photography. Interesting articles, properly subbed. You deserve a good read, where you pick up a copy and gain something from it. We also wanted to reflect (perhaps even preempt) your values about the environment and our place in this world. I think that’s why Lucire, in particular our original edition; our newest edition, Lucire KSA; and the former Twinpalms Lucire in Thailand, have reader appeal. It should last you for more than a single sitting. That December 1985 issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly could even last beyond the date the February 1986 issue went on sale.


Aleksandr Mavrin


Hilde Osland, via Instagram

Top: Like travel editor Stanley Moss, Russian model Viki Odintcova headed to Canggu, Bali, and shared this image from Wapa di Ume Sidemen photographed by Aleksandr Mavrin on her Instagram. Above: Hilde Osland models Fashionnova, not far from Lucire’s HQ in Wellington, New Zealand.

   Social media have only really replaced any medium that was fleeting and shallow. You could potentially get more insight into your favourite reality TV stars on their personal ’Grams than in a gossip magazine. Glamour models and certain celebrities—Viki Odintcova of Russia, and Norwegian-born, Australian-based model and singer Hilde Osland for two—may show more on their accounts than in lads’ magazines. Cellphone cameras can rival some professional ones in resolution, and while there’s no substitute for the professionally shot photos, those surfing social media and its small, rectangular, black-mirror format of all of seven inches are quite happy with “near enough”. And, indeed, for those professional images, especially editorials, a beautifully printed page has a totally different effect to something seen on screen.
   Digital is here to stay—and being one of the earliest proponents of that, we should know. Social will also stay, maybe offered by other firms, but we won’t break our addictions easily. Admittedly, as a company, we never expected social to play as big a part as it ultimately did. But print, and the long-form articles that appear in it, are going to stick around for a long time to come, too.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Megyn Kelly’s new channel gets into the Zeitgeist, interviewing former news producer wrongly accused of Robach leak

Filed by Lucire staff/November 9, 2019/0.10

On her new YouTube channel, former lawyer and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly interviews Ashley Bianco, a former ABC News producer who was fired by her new employers, CBS News, over the leaking of a clip featuring journalist Amy Robach talking off-air but with a “hot mic” about the Jeffrey Epstein case.
   Epstein was a convicted pædophile who had connections with politicians and royalty, including HRH the Duke of York, and died while in custody after being charged with sex trafficking offences. He had served a light sentence in the late 2000s after a plea deal with prosecutors. The story ventured back into the limelight after a major investigative piece by the Miami Herald.
   The controversial clip shows Robach being frustrated that, despite having had the Epstein story for three years and an interview with one of his victims, Virginia Roberts, ‘we would not put it on the air.’ She added, ‘We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate or Will, I think that also squashed the story … And I freaking had on all of it. I’m so pissed right now like every day I get more and more pissed. Because I’m just like, “Oh my God, what what we had was unreal.” Other women backing it up … Brad Edwards the attorney, three years ago, saying like there will come a day where we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pædophile this country has ever known. I had it all three years ago.’
   Robach later clarified with a statement: ‘As a journalist, as the Epstein story continued to unfold last summer, I was caught in a private moment of frustration. I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn’t air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations.’
   Bianco made the clip—as well as many others—as part of her job at ABC News, but ensured it stayed within the network. She had never leaked it, a claim that has been confirmed by James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, which published the clip last week.
   O’Keefe’s source inside ABC News has also gone public, confirming that it was not Bianco.
   Nevertheless, under New York’s laws, Bianco could be fired “at will” and without reason. ABC News had tipped off CBS News, which had hired Robach, saying she had accessed the clip. That led to her dismissal after four days.
   Bianco says the clip was well known inside ABC News and numerous people could have accessed it.
   She was interviewed by Kelly to give her side of the story.

 


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