ICYMI: Launching a brand in the pandemic, retails dives

Hi Friends,
Welp, that’s another week done and dusted. Our American fam is staring down the business end of a 3-day weekend and all 50 states have started to open up to varying degrees. So that’s a nice mix of relief and also unfettered anxiety. Seems we’re not alone. The WSJ published a guide on how to make decisions about venturing outside your home, which applies wherever in the world you find yourself.

Let’s all sing a belated Happy 147th Birthday to jeans. On May 20, 1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis were granted a patent on work pants reinforced with metal rivets – the grandpappy of modern day jeans. Sidenote: Davis got the idea for the rivets after the wife of a laborer was like “I need to not always be fixing these pants, good sir. Do better.” 

How are you all doing? Any recommendations of things to read or watch or listen to?
(Honestly, send us recs. We’ll post them on the social medias.)

We’re plugging away on the next edition of KINGPINS24 – June 23/24. It’ll focus on the US denim market and will feature all new livestream and on-demand content. Register here. More info here.

PLUS: Don’t forget to visit Kingpinsshow.com for new weekly content:

Stay safe out there.

-The Kingpins Team

Links to keep you informed and inspired:

We’ll start with the heavy stuff first: Coronavirus widens the retail divide

 People are still shopping… just not for clothes.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Macy’s will see a $1 billion quarterly loss and Victoria’s Secret will close 250 stores in North America. “Department stores and apparel retailers are feeling the most pain. Their stores were closed from mid-March through April, and while some buying shifted online, it wasn’t enough to offset the lost sales in physical locations… Kohl’s Corp. 
reported a 41% drop in sales for the spring quarter, while nearly $5 billion in sales disappeared at off-price retailer TJX Cos.”

Conversely, some retailers have largely sidestepped the losses. “Electronics chain Best Buy Co. was able to make up for closed stores with online orders and curbside pickup. The chain, which also now has about 700 stores offering in-store visits by appointment, reported a 6% drop in quarterly revenue.”

Read More: Coronavirus Widens the Retail Divide

An idea to help Bangladeshi garment workers

One of those subscription services where you tell them what you like to wear and they make you a box of clothes and send them you – but make it with the mountains of garments from the cancelled orders sitting in factories in Bangladesh.

A Scottish business man has launched Lost Stock to take the estimated $2 billion worth garments and sell them directly to consumers at a steep discount. The proceeds go to help unemployed garment workers.

According to Lost Stock, each box sold supports a worker and their family for a week. Their goal is to help support 50,000 workers by the end of 2020. 

Read More: Coronavirus: Clothes box bid to help Bangladeshi workers

A good listen: Millard Drexler the “merchant prince” on why growth is the enemy

The retail legend sat down for a chat on Inside Fashion, Business of Fashion’s podcast. He spills the tea and gives advice. Highly recommend.

You know we love a good story

Show us a denim professional who doesn’t love old denim and we’ll show you a poser. THERE, WE SAID IT. 

Our friend Sue Barrett is using her time in quarantine to talk to denim folk and gather up their nostalgic stories. And, dear reader, it’s such a fun project. “I wanted to connect with the currently housebound indigo hearts of the denim brotherhood I’ve had the privilege of knowing, and invite them to revisit some of their denim highlights,” she said to Sportswear International.

So many sweet stories (Piero Turk’s childhood pants!), stories of war, rips and, of course, the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

Part 1 of her project is out now.

Read More: Sue Barrett’s Lockdown Nostalgia Project–Part 1
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